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Published September 9th 2016
More coffee options than you can poke a crutch at
Gone are the days when a 'hospital coffee' meant a plastic container of el-cheapo brown powder, topped up with tap water from a dusty kettle and near-expired milk rescued from a miniature fridge lurking somewhere deep in the bowels of the hospital. Murdoch's Fiona Stanley Hospital has a bright, sunny and surprisingly cheerful ambience for a hospital, with more coffee options than you can poke a crutch at. Whether you are there as a patient, visitor, student or staff member, you can rest assured that this modern facility is equally as modern in its understanding of coffee culture.
Photo: Peter Bennetts / Fiona Stanley Hospital Design Collaboration
Opened in October 2014, Fiona Stanley Hospital's central dining area is more akin to an airport or shopping centre food court, with options like Sumo Salad and Subway. Then there is the plethora of palate-pleasing options available for all coffee fiends out there. But with options comes woe. Coffee isn't cheap these days, so you want to be sure you are not about to waste your hard-earned five bucks with less flavour and class than an old gumboot. On a mission to uncover the best coffee in the land, each of the coffee outlets listed below was visited on multiple occasions during my intermittent stints at the hospital over the period of one year. The discoveries and recommendations from the toils endured are arranged in alphabetical order.
The location of Aroma Café in the central dining area makes it a handy pit stop for your coffee pick-me-up. Friendly lasses taking your order are smiles galore at even their busiest moments. With a dedicated barista working on all four cylinders to churn out orders, your caffeine fix is never far away. If waiting even a short while is your bug bear, download the Aroma Café app from iPhone to order from anywhere and have your coffee ready when you go to pick up. The brews at Aroma are smooth and full of rich flavour from fresh, well-roasted beans, served at just the right temperature. A café with Italian roots that opened its first store right here in Perth before becoming a nationwide entity, Aroma Cafe offers ethically-sourced coffee beans and has an established reputation as makers of fine coffee.
Aroma prides itself on using locally sourced produce where possible, so if you need a healthy bite or a sweet treat, check out the enticing range of slices, muffins, sandwiches and salads in the display cabinet. The coffee is well worth becoming an Aroma Café regular for, so be sure to join the rewards club by asking for your card in-store.
GoGo's Bello Fresh GoGo's Bello Fresh offer a well-priced beverage, and if you like your coffee extra hot then this the place for you. The customer service leaves a lot to be desired, with several staff simultaneously juggling orders, pouring coffee and yelling out orders. Expect eye contact only when the wait staff's previous task has been completed. The coffee is not bad, but could best be described as a few notches up from a really good instant. The café's roasting facilities are located in the Swan Valley, although the flavour of the coffee hints that the beans have been stored for a longer than optimal time. A full bodied roasted flavour is lacking and the milk is consistently overheated, requiring cautious sips to save any tongue scalding. GoGo's do offer an array of savouries and sweets at very reasonable prices so is perhaps a good choice for a belly filler, but delivers a below average cup of joe.
Open 7 days per week, 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM P: (08) 9332 5676 Website
GoGo's Bello Fresh at Fiona Stanley Hospital
IKON Espresso is an unassuming outdoor kiosk situated at the East entrance close to the rehabilitation service. Join the long line of avid coffee drinkers cued up for their morning fix. The coffee isn't cheap and nor is it quick, owing to the throws of customers before you, but heck, but it is without a doubt coffee worth waiting for. The beverage exudes quality from the first whiff to the last drop. The perfectly roasted beans make a flavourful cup with complex flavours and a silky smooth finish. Expect service with a smile and maybe even a light hearted joke to go with your coffee. If you become a regular, it won't be long until the staff have memorised your name and your order. The cakes and sweet cabinets has eye-catching and ever-changing options if you need a sugar hit. IKON Espresso has become an icon for good coffee, offering boutique roasted arabica coffee, as well as organic teas. Few would disagree that the little kiosk is the go-to place for arguably the best coffee that Fiona Stanley Hospital has to offer.
Jamaica Blue Fiona Stanley
Located outside the hospital building near the main entrance, Jamaica Blue offers a cosy reprieve to make you forget all about the clinical hospital environment. It was the first coffee shop to open at FSH. The service can be a little abrupt but the coffee is decent and the cleanliness of the venue is maintained to a good standard. Jamaica Blue offer a broad range of food and drinks, including kid's meals. The franchise store sources its beans from the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica, a bean variety revered for its mild and non-bitter flavour. Unique blends are also on offer, including the Jamaica Blue™ Organic Fairtrade Blend and the award-winning Jamaica Blue Signature™ Blend. The white Vienna makes for a naughty but tasty treat. Join the loyalty program online if you plan on being a regular customer at any of the Jamaica Blue cafes, especially if a mild and simple flavour suits your palate.
Therapy by Food
Adjacent to the State Rehabilitation Service, Therapy by Food is a rather brave name for a café at a hospital. In addition to a selection of teas and specialty frappes, Therapy by Food offers Grinders coffee sourced from Melbourne's Italian Quarter. Sitting in a lonely corner near the East entrance, the cafe's offers pleasant enough coffee, but the depth of flavour from the coffee beans is decidedly average. Not bad, but not necessarily worth going out of the way for, especially if you want to escape the crowds. On a side note, the food is delicious and healthy, and does warrant going out of the way for. Therapy by Food's forte is catering to special dietary requirements, including room service for patients unimpressed by the hospital fodder. So-called super food groups are entrenched in the menu and with slogans like 'eating yourself better', at least one can feel like lunch is part of their self-care. A brew on the side won't go amiss, but if you are a true coffee buff, you may want to pick one up at IKON Espresso or Aroma Cafe after you are done lunching at Therapy by Food.
Monday - Friday, 6.30 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday, 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM
P: 0439 988 334 Menu
Soy Latte from Therapy by Food at Fiona Stanley Hospital
Desperate times call for desperate measures
If you find yourself at the hospital during ridiculous hours when the cafes are sleeping, hunt down one of the many public vending machines that dispense coffee in desperate times, listed below. Find out more about the hospital's services and amenities here.
• Education Building, Ground Floor
• Main Building, Ground Floor (main entrance, outpatients reception, central dining courtyard)
• Main Building, Lower Ground, Emergency Department
• Main Building, Level 2, Intensive Care Unit Waiting Area
• State Rehabilitation Service, Ground Level and Level 1
All else failing, you could politely ask one of the friendly volunteers if they can help make you a tea or coffee. It will be an instant freeze dried, but hey, it still has caffeine.
While good coffee is good coffee, places like IKON Espresso and Aroma Cafe combine the art of an excellent brew with warm hospitality. Both offer good coffee from good people who make you feel good from the moment you step forward to place your order. Hospitals may not be the happiest places to be, but having your hands wrapped around a warm cup while inhaling a delightful aroma can make it a little more bearable.