I’ve been keeping a close eye on The Cupping Room – a project by Ona Coffee. Their aim is to ‘…involve, engage and educate coffee drinkers in the finer appreciation of coffee’. Located on London Circuit across the road from UniPub and the police station, the place looks impressive with the wooden paneling outside.
I was so excited to see their Facebook event a few weeks ago for their opening day where they were giving away free coffee all day. Alas, the cafe wasn’t ready to open and it got cancelled. It re-advertised its opening a few weeks later with the same Facebook event but I wasn’t able to attend as it was a weekday. I headed there that Saturday arvo but when I walked inside, I was politely told they were closed as they had a function on that arvo. Drat. This was my third failed attempt at visiting this place. I did get a shot of the inside by peeking through the windows.
Love this awesome mural on the outside wall. I read somewhere that these guys buy coffee beans straight from the farmers/growers and work with the local communities.
I finally drove past this morning to just try their coffee when I saw the whole placed was packed with people – indoors and outdoors. I quickly rang a foodie friend that lived in the city to see if she was keen to join me. A waiter stands by the door to greet diners. At 10.30am, we asked for a table for two. The waiter told us it would be 10-15 minutes so we joined the people outside who were also waiting for a table.
As you can see, The Cupping Room has lovely wooden panels (must be a trend in Canberra) both outside and indoors, and the large windows open up to let fresh air in. There is a little takeaway window on the other side as I saw people walking off with burgers and coffees in takeaway containers. I think they’ve made use of the space very well. You can watch the baristas making coffee or wait staff juicing fresh fruit juice at the main counter.
The kitchen is fairly open and you can peek in to watch the chefs.
The breakfast menu is large (twice the size of the lunch menu), with a little green slip paper-clipped to the front with additional items. Breakfast meals average around $15 with the most expensive item being the Atlantic Salmon at $24.
We ordered our coffees. My friend was informed they do coffee a bit differently here, with no lattes on the menu. Coffees are also a bit smaller in size than most places. We were both really happy with our coffees. My soy mocha ($4.50) was creamy! For you non-soy milk drinkers, its quite hard to make soy milk creamy so I loved it.
My friend squealed with excitement when she saw that Blintz ($18) were on the menu. I had absolutely no idea what a blintz was (must be a Melbournian term? edit: comes from from the early Slavic people apparently and spread throughout Europe) and looking over the ingredients, I initially dismissed it. It was filled with sweet potato, ricotta and cherries – three things I like separately but never thought would go together. My friend convinced me to try it (so she could have a taste too) so I did. Best decision ever. I don’t know how but everything worked. Blintz are basically like crepes and these were served nice and warm. The sweet potato, ricotta, and pitted cherries were soft and only slightly sweet (I think those that like savoury dishes would like this). The real sweetness comes from the maple syrup drizzled on top and the crunchy walnuts cooked in the maple syrup. Plus natural sweetness from the cherries dotted on the plate. A light meal that’s very unique with lovely flavours. I would order this again!
My friend ordered the Dragons Eggs ($14) – Voodoo spiced avocado, coriander, red onion, chilli and lime served with poached eggs, spinach and toast. We couldn’t figure out what the ‘voodoo’ part was as it wasn’t really spicy.
On our way out, we noticed the Head Roaster on the filter bar doing something…I really don’t know how to describe it. But we both oohed and aahed. I don’t know much about coffee. Their Facebook page shows they have cupping sessions where they compare filter, espresso and milk based roast profiles and the difference in taste. That would be a really interesting session to go to. I don’t think they charge a fee so I’m keen to go to their next session. There doesn’t seem to be a timetable but keep checking their Facebook page.
A shot of the lunch menu
Another great newly opened cafe in Canberra! I will definitely be back. I forgot to ask if they accept bookings but the wait for brunch wasn’t too long. One thing to note, it’s loud inside. You can hear the music from the street. Other than that, service was friendly and our coffees and food didn’t take long to reach us. Really nice casual atmosphere too. We were in and out within 45 minutes as we both had other commitments to go to (and it was a spur of the moment brunch). If you’re a coffee lover/connoisseur, I’d recommend you check it out and try out their cupping sessions.