Is this the best coffee in town
When I posed this question when writing the original review I believed that Josh's coffee was the best by a long shot. But I also thought I might have been just a tad biased because this is my 'local' and because I just love the way the coffee tastes. Word is now out (Dec. 2016) that Re Cafe Nate was rated 34th best coffee shop by coffee lovers across Australia, so I wasn't being biased after all. Well done Josh, Deslie and the amazing staff!
Congratulations to you all.
My motto is 'Life is way too short for instant or bad coffee' - but coffee is a personal thing - you either like it or you don't. For those that do, it's like wine-tasting; lots of things impact on the flavour. When you're in a hurry for that first caffeine rush of the day, you won't be as fussy as you would when relaxing over a good brew with friends.
Sometimes you just need a quick coffee on the run: Photo courtesy of Re:Cafe-Nate Facebook Page
So what makes the difference? The following items are just my humble opinion, and any resemblance to any reasonable research is purely accidental.
1. Choice of beans: freshness, where they're from, single origin or blend. Roast: light, medium or dark, depends on the length of time of roast. Grind: coarse or fine.
2. Water used: filtered or not
3. Equipment: espresso machine and grinder - there's no use having the best brewing machine if the grinder lets you down
4. Skill in brewing: what the Barista knows about the process and their skill level
5. Atmosphere: coffee shop - depends on your needs at the time - relaxing or in a rush
6. Sharing: coffee tastes better when relaxing with friends
7. Food: when coffee alone isn't enough
Quirky signs and unique (intentional) spelling make Re: Cafe-Nate a great place to enjoy great coffee and food at very affordable prices
Great selection of coffee at very affordable prices
When we unpack the list above we can tick off a lot of variables. Josh uses a reputable brand of fresh beans in single origin and blends. His assistant is a qualified coffee bean roaster so the expertise is there, right at the grass roots level.
The wide variety of fresh food prepared on the premises caters for carnivores
(meat eaters) and herbivores
(the rest of us). The health
conscious are covered with a range of fresh juices and smoothies. As well as a variety of freshly cooked food, Re: Cafe-Nate has some of the most delicious bakery items you'll find. My personal favourite is the fruit bread; home-made, cut thick enough to be a door-stop, toasted, and with butter melted not only on it, but right through it. It is decadent, but so nice! And when Deslie makes sticky-date pudding, you'd better get here fast.
The bakery items at Re:Cafe-Nate are so fresh and so tasty!
When it comes to knowing how to use the machinery, Josh has that nailed. He painstakingly makes every coffee as if being judged for a competition; you never feel as though the coffee is rushed, or 'mass-produced'. But if you're in a hurry, Josh has you covered. And to top it off, Josh effortlessly creates a free-pour coffee art that seems to come naturally to him, and he's happy to show you how it's done if you ask him. Is Josh a perfectionist? I think you could safely say he is; every coffee he makes is made to perfection. Everything about Re: Cafe-Nate reflects the passion of every one of the staff. They love what they do, which helps to create the great atmosphere.
Josh knows how to use the grinding and brewing equipment and can offer advice on both for the home-brewer
Even the most basic coffee gets the 'art' treatment at Re: Cafe-Nate
And about the atmosphere at Re: Cafe-Nate; what does it feel like when you're sitting there enjoying that perfect cup of coffee? One of the first things you'll notice is the furniture and decor. Who would have thought you could do so much with crates? Josh has taken them apart and re-used them in the outdoor furniture and the fabulously textured wall inside. The chunky stools and roomy tables lend themselves to the rustic feel of the great outdoors. Everything has that 're-cycled' look and feel, adding to the charm. And with the positioning of tables in corners and around the outside walls, you can have a secluded little spot for more intimate dining or be right there in the limelight (and beautiful sunlight).
Re-used timber at Re:Cafe-Nate - great for the environment
And it isn't just about the seating. It's as much about Josh knowing the names of his regulars and his friendly style with everyone. And it's about the community feel - the footy at Origin time (that's football talk each June between Qld and NSW), and watching the game on the big screen, right there in the shop. It's those extras that create the unbeatable atmosphere that keeps people coming back for more. And it's about the sense of humour of the man taking your order, and how he puts you at ease right there at the counter before you even get your coffee. And it's about how the staff do everything in their power to ensure you have a memorable experience - every time. Co-owner Deslie does the baking, and very competent chefs take care of the short-order menu.
Seating at Re:Cafe-Nate is up-cycled but stylish
Now this is where the discerning taste comes in. I had my very first coffee at Re:Cafe-Nate in June last year. Until then I thought I had a reasonable idea of what good coffee tastes like, but my first coffee made by Josh dashed that theory completely. I couldn't articulate what the difference was, other than I realised that most of the coffee I'd been drinking until then had a 'burnt' after-taste. The coffee at Re:Cafe-Nate has a delicious mellow flavour that leaves a very pleasant after-taste in the mouth that can be savoured long after the last drop is squeezed from the cup.
About seven months after opening Re: Cafe-Nate in a quiet, out-of-the-way part of Murwillumbah in 2013, Josh and his team were voted the 3rd best coffee shop
in the shire. Given that they're not in the hub of the main street shopping precinct, the win was a huge vote of confidence from the clientele who frequented the shop. And since they are still operating from the same part of town three years on, and still busy, suggests they are still putting out great coffees and fabulous food. I regularly take visitors there, and my granddaughter from the north side of Brisbane puts 'Josh's' for a hot chocolate and breakfast at the top of her list, every holiday.
So in summing up, does Re: Cafe-Nate deliver that great taste of coffee? Absolutely! But that's only my opinion. I'd love to know what you think, so come on over, check it out, and then tell us how it compares with other coffee shops in Murwillumbah.