When we stopped through the quaint town of Robe in the Limestone region, we decided to visit Mahalia Coffee because the brochure from the Information Centre mentioned that they are a family run boutique coffee house which roasted their own coffee. Set further away from the main tourist street, Mahalia Coffee Cafe is definitely a hidden gem. The cafe is located in what looked like a half-residential, half-industrial area but we knew we were in the right place when we glimpsed the beautiful Mahalia Coffee logo at the front of the crisp, white building and the many cars parked outside and across the road from the cafe.
Stepping into the cafe, the atmosphere was transformed. The first impression we got was a pleasant one, with a multitude of awards lined up on the wall with accomplishments such as The Golden Bean Award in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010 and also awards at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show in 2007, 2009, and 2010. We could also see the factory on the right, giving us the opportunity to satisfy our curiosity and lending us a voyeuristic glimpse of how the process works. All coffee is made on the premises itself. The cafe has a clean, smart interior décor with a white theme and interesting coffee, hot chocolate and tea related items for sale on shelves lined up across the white walls.
The items for sale are fascinating, from recipe books to coffee makers and coffee plungers; everything you need as a budding coffee connoisseur. It is a haven for the eyes as there is so much to see and browse before the coffee is served, making the waiting time extremely short.
On a hot summer's day, the beautiful courtyard is a wonderful place to enjoy the great coffee. With bamboo decorations adorning the walls and large white umbrellas for shade, it is comfortable when the wind is not too strong. There are colourful plants decorating the courtyard which is also for sale.
You can see the passion and inspiration that has driven the brand evidenced in the café. The idea for Mahalia coffee came from Paul and Mahalia Layzell who have over 30 years experience in hospitality between them, toiling in kitchens world-wide and in some of Melbourne's finest and most famous restaurants and cafes. With business partner Jamie Anderson, the brand is now a force to be reckoned with, with a large product range and powerful marketing.
We ordered flat whites, a mochachino and a hot chocolate. My sister thought the mochachino was divine, capturing the perfect combination of chocolate and a cappuccino, the bittersweet taste of coffee perfect for a wake-me-up and to give her that little "zing" coffee lovers get. My parents loved their flat whites, stating that the blend was fresh with the subtle natural intrinsic flavour of great coffee, making them want to order another cup. It is little wonder, as Mahalia Coffee uses no artificial flavour enhancers or additions. Everything is made fresh from the factory next door.
Coffee beans are sourced globally, including Australia, and embraces all doctrines including the rainforest alliance, organic, fair trade (from East Timor and Maubisse), Swiss water method and shade grown. They have obviously focused on quality and flavour, but the prices are extremely reasonable too with coffees costing between $3 -$4.50 a cup.
The coffee blends available range from Blend No 1 "Organic and Sweet" to Blend No 4 "European Dark Roast". They serve Blend No 2 in their cafe "Smooth & Aromatic" which has a punchy taste with bouquet of hibiscus contained within the aroma. Other interesting blends include the fair trade organic Indonesian Sumatra Gayo which has a chocolate dry fragrance, hints of sandalwood and fruited Shiraz notes. All blends are packaged and available for sale. Prices for coffee blends range but are around $12.75 for 250gs and $38.50 for 1 kg.
Not just limited to coffee, Mahalia Coffee sells creamy drinking chocolate for around $8.85 for 400gs as well as an exotic range of tea including Jasmine (Chinese green tea with jasmine petals), Egyptian Chamomile, Peppermint, Cinnamon Apple (Mix of apple, cinnamon, hibiscus and black tea), Earl Grey (Ceylon black tea with bergamot flavour) and Buddha's Tears (Jasmine tea beads from Fujian, China made from young white tea leaves).