It isn't an unusual sight to see long queues of people waiting for takeaway coffees around the city streets of Canberra. Workers in the city flock to their favourite coffee house to order their takeaway, then stand around chatting in large groups waiting or their orders to be called. It isn't something that you often see in the local shopping centre, however this is what is happening at Tuggeranong Hyperdome, Westfield Woden and Westfield Belconnen on a daily basis. The coffee they are lining up for is called the Espresso Room.
Espresso Room is a locally owned Canberra business founded by Michael Rose, who began the business with a simple love of coffee. In particular, the Ona brand of coffee, which is another locally owned Canberra business who source and grind their own coffee in Fyshwick. The beans have been approved by Project Origin, who ensure they are sourced ethically and sustainably from countries around the world. Ona has a big reputation around Canberra for their delicious coffee and the owner Sasa Sestic also became the World Barista Champion in 2015. This sprang the Ona name onto the worldwide stage and their unique blends of beans created a coffee that people wanted to try.
Michael Rose and Espresso Room had already discovered this local secret and had opened up their coffee outlets, using Ona beans, in Woden, Tuggeranong and then Belconnen.
When the stores opened they instantly met with success. The Woden store in particular began small in 2013, but with such popularity they had to move to the large fitout across the walkway. There was then more room for the queues of people and for diners to sit and enjoy their delicious Black Betty blend of coffee.
With the Woden store creating such a big following, Espresso Room then opened their Tuggeranong store in 2013 and lastly, their Belconnen outlet opened in June 2014. All three stores have locals mingling out the front and queuing for their coffees, creating a social atmosphere around each outlet. After a successful couple of years, Espresso Room then came first place at the Golden Bean awards for Best Franchise/Chain in 2015.
As well as coffee, you can also enjoy toasties and home made cakes and pastries made by their own creative chef. Their cakes in particular make for a delicious side to the coffee or if you are stopping for lunch, the toasties are large in size with a small selection to choose from. Check the Espresso Room Facebook page for updates on what is happening at your local store, with new treats added daily.
Here in Canberra, just like most places, coffee is a popular way to warm up, get a caffeine fix or simply enjoy the taste of a freshly brewed cup. For those who don't like coffee, the Espresso Room also make a delicious variety of other hot and cold drinks to take back to work or to enjoy walking around the centre. I assumed as I had seen Espresso Room at three locations around the city that it was a nationwide franchise, however it was refreshing to see that this coffee secret is a Canberra creation. This successful business that began here is now growing, with a new outlet opening in Sydney next month (July 2016).
So if you're visiting Canberra, why not give an Espresso Room coffee a try and support two Canberra businesses at the one time.
...just follow the locals! Espresso Room, Tuggeranong Hyperdome