March 29, 2012

Canteen Coffee

23 Park Avenue Burleigh Heads, Qld.
(07) 5534 3877

 There’s something very sexy about understatement … a certain mystique in a subtle hint of discretion instead of an overblown advertising campaign. Understatement is also an announcement that the goods are of the highest quality.

Semi-hidden in a walkway between two streets, Canteen has a minimalist industrial feel. The shop is adorned only by a few crates, bags of coffee and a large grinder in one corner. Across the room, smaller grinders and a large espresso machine take pride of place on the wooden bar, giving the aura that you’re in a craftsman’s workshop, rather than in a café. And you are.

“It’s how I wanted it to look,” says owner operator Brendan, “for the place to be so raw that it’s just about the coffee, with everything else stripped away.”

Brendan Elcham did not stumble into coffee by accident, but made a conscious decision to follow in his father’s footsteps. Peter Elcham, one of Sydney’s coffee roasting pioneers and proprietor of the iconic ‘Joe’s Deluxe’ in Potts Point, brought coffee culture to Queensland in 1988, establishing a wholesale business, Deluxe Boutique Coffee Roasters, a barista training school and a chain of espresso bars throughout Brisbane. Besides the work ethic and artisan skills passed down from the previous generation, Brendan shares his father’s passion, and in a deliberate move to showcase his company’s product, has opened Canteen. Canteen specialises in roasting their own coffee, specialty blends and single origin coffees. A different single origin is featured in the espresso bar every week.

Like the vintage concept of its namesake army dining area, Canteen is a central meeting place where soldiers meet each other, obtain supplies, and are entertained in a relaxed, easy-going atmosphere. People come and go buying takeaway coffees, a bag of beans or ground coffee, taking a coffee outside to sit on old cinema seating in the sun, or stopping to chat or ask questions of baristas Brendan and his brother Jermaine.

In a suburb boasting some of the best coffee on the coast, Canteen is a cool and sexy understatement that it’s all about the coffee.

Credit: by Marj Osborne, Good Food Gold Coast.

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