“No ego by name, no ego by nature.”
This is not only the mantra for one of our most unassuming coffee shops, but also its name: Noego Coffee.
Hidden away in an industrial area of Ormeau, Noego Coffee is a secret hideaway for some, a totally undiscovered secret to others.
With the Gold Coast’s café and dining focus fixed firmly on the southern end of the coast, it’s not surprising that the far north may be overlooked but, when discovered, Noego is far too good to pass over.
Owned by Dan and Beverley Salter, Noego Coffee has been a labour of love for the past seven years, its momentum building from Dan’s previous businesses Absolute Coffee in Highgate Hill, and Wooloowin’s The Coffee Guy, a brand Dan still owns.
It’s testament to Dan’s life philosophy that Noego has been built from a grass roots approach. In 2013, he began selling his roasted coffee from his 1977 VW Kombi van at the Miami Organic Markets, renting a warehouse to house his roastery and store the van soon after, expanding organically to the fully-fledged café we see today with over twelve staff employed, the van still parked behind the café.
“We’ve always placed our businesses in industrial areas and slightly out of the way locations,” Dan says, referring to Noego’s location just off the M1.
Despite no foot traffic, the café draws locals, as well as diners from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, their clientele’s enthusiastic support placing them second in a ‘Best Breakfast on the Gold Coast’ poll last year.
When we visit, the split-level warehouse café is packed with a mix of customers just as eclectic as the rustic furniture they’re seated on, some lounging with coffee while others enjoy a meal or snack.
“It’s a constant work in progress,” Dan tells us, “We have an ethos of upcycling and recycling that means that we’re growing organically to meet demand.”
An upside-down bed and mattress springs hang from the ceiling as a chandelier, there’s a 1960s buffet to one side, a piece in transition about to take pride of place as a mahogany bar, all part of an inviting multi-layered venue with points of interest everywhere you look.
Overseeing it all is Dan, the coffee guy and five times Golden Bean medallist, his history of roasting coffee stretching back 25 years. He praises his mentor, Ian Burston, founder of Sydney’s Belaroma Coffee (now Seven Miles Coffee Roasters) for his inspirational approach to coffee.
“What he taught me was to never accept the norms, but instead to find new things,” Dan says…the approach he has taken in his café roastery.
We embark on a coffee flight more extensive than any I’ve done previously: a cappuccino of Noego’s freshly ground ‘3-origin two roasts’ house blend Ananya, a nitro with rich and full mouth feel and an enviable crema, a cold pressed turmeric and ginger latte on coconut milk (the turmeric pressed by hand), a Noego deluxe hot chocolate with Peruvian cacao and coconut sugar and a ‘Freecaf’, Dan’s trademarked caffeine-free coffee, perfected over three years of research and development.
“Embrace the ritual and kick the habit,” Dan tells us, outlining how Freecaf is the perfect solution for people who have coffee intolerance or want to drink less coffee, its rich flavour profile achieved without chemical leaching.
“One of the favourites here is a cold brew coffee heated then with water added. ‘It’s hot and it’s cold’ hence the name Katy Perry,” says Dan. “There’s the smoothness of a cold brew with no sharpness, no dairy and even no caffeine if you have it Freecaf,” he adds.
With a seasonally changing menu, dishes are made from scratch using fresh local produce, organic where possible, rustic generous dishes of wholefood made to order.
There’s no moral high ground taken: “We live this life, the organic life, as much as we can, spray free, whole foods…” Dan tells us, “but everyone deserves good food. Running a café is all about the quality of service, making sure that people get what they want.”
My Snappy Nourish Salad of quinoa, green peas, asparagus, raw beets, radish, sautéed broccoli served with a side of grilled salmon is certainly what I want, its colours attesting to the nourishment in the bowl. But there are also Wagyu burgers and Bechamel Bennys, sweets and a cabinet of food to go. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options clearly marked on almost every menu item.
There’s something for everyone on Noego’s all day menu, without a fuss and with some of the best coffee in town. No posturing, no pretense, all ‘homegrown’ at Noego Coffee.
Noego Coffee, 15/18 Blanck Street, Ormeau
Ph: 07 5549 3351 (or 0409 725 893)
Open: Mon – Fri 5.30am – 2pm (kitchen closes 1pm), Sat 6am – 12noon (takeaway only)
Sundays only 6am – 11:30am – Gold Coast Organic Market, 2205 Gold Coast Hwy Miami 4218
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as a guest of Noego Coffee.