coffee

Barrio Collective Coffee | Braddon, Canberra

Barrio Collective Coffee | Braddon, Canberra

At school, I always wondered what it was like to be one of those kids that moved around with their families every few years (or less). Having grown up in little ol’ Canberra, I wondered how much more of the world they’d seen; how much collateral knowledge they’d picked up on the way. But I also wondered how they approached their relationships with new people and these new places, knowing that they would most likely be short-lived and transient.

Why the philosophical start to this post about a small, 12-seater café? Well, this week marked the start of my gradual transition up to Sydney, after almost three decades living in Canberra. And it was only when I was up there this week that I realised I’d already spent my last full week in Canberra (for now, at least). It made me realise that I had a pretty great connection with the town I’d grown up in, and also how much I’d miss about it – the open spaces, the network of bike lanes, the community minded people, the honest politicians, and not least – the incredible evolution of our cafe, bar and restaurant scene.

In terms of this evolution, Braddon has obviously been one of our biggest success stories in recent times, gathering national – and even worldwide – attention for its quick and organic development into a vibrant, cultural hub. One of the newer coffee shops along the Londsale strip is Barrio Collective Coffee, a locally-owned operation that joins a number of other Canberra cafes in (ethically) sourcing and roasting their own beans.

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A coffee @ Ampersand | Paddington, Sydney

A coffee @ Ampersand | Paddington, Sydney

the Ampersand Cafe sits along a busy stretch of Oxford Street in Paddington, opposite the Victoria Barracks. it's a 'cafe bookstore' - which means a multi-story library towards the back of the cafe boasting 30,000 second-hand books, an invitation to lounge around or chat at the communal tables while you sip on a coffee, and a range of $1 books for sale (which one young passerby astutely noticed and managed to convince his mum to buy him four books about dragons). 

it's a popular venue among the locals, without any sign of being pretentious. the decor has retained much of its vintage charm, the menu is full of old favourites, and the staff are warm and inviting. perfect for a rainy day!

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