Brennans Coffee, 7/450 The Esplanade, Warners Bay, Monday-Friday: 6am-2pm, Saturday: 7am-1pm.
On a sunny weekend morning, the coffee strip along The Esplanade at Warners Bay rivals any other around Newcastle for patronage and liveliness. Amidst the street side diners crowded around tables and the entanglement of waiters, chairs and dog leads, it is difficult to work out which café enjoys the largest following.
In an unassuming arcade leading away from the maelstrom is Brennans Coffee. Their comparatively peaceful aspect is made all the more cosy by an enclosed courtyard warmed by natural light and adorned with mismatched furnishings, local art and indoor plants. From my seat out the back, barista and owner Tom Larkin can be heard laughing and catching up with his many regulars. Whilst the courtyard itself seems designed for those wanting a slice of quiet with their morning coffee, the locals inside fill the café with an excitement and the heartiest of banter.
It is easy to imagine that the coffee at Brennans is what all the fuss inside is about. This café is one of only a couple in Newcastle to use beans from Melbourne roasters Veneziano, who have steadily established themselves as a supplier with an eye for meticulously sourced coffee. Their blends typically combine beans grown across famous estates in Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Guatemala with lesser known origins in India and Sumatra.
At Brennans, Larkin uses the Veneziano Estate blend, which balances Colombian, Brazilian and Sumatran beans into a nutty, slightly spicy tasting coffee. It is a creation that the roasters can rightfully claim as the ultimate all-round performer – a velvety, milk-based blend but also one that is full-bodied enough to round out a long black or an espresso.
For those of you who really like to know as much as you can about the origins and varietals of the beans that end up in your morning coffee, the Estate blend at Brennan’s is well worth checking out. To take nothing away from the quality of the Brazilian and Colombian elements of the trio – both of which originate from prestigious estates renowned for the quality of their harvests – it might actually be the Sumatran beans, from the Sipangan Bolon region in the north, that give the coffee at Brennans just that little bit of extra something.
It might actually be the Sumatran beans, from the Sipangan Bolon region in the north, that give the coffee at Brennans just that little bit of extra something.
These varieties of beans are most often sourced from much smaller village producers than what is typically the case in the more famous coffee growing regions in Brazil and Colombia. Like Brennans itself – a quality source for coffee amidst the larger and more famous cafes on The Esplanade – this region in Sumatra still takes a back seat when it comes to recognition and commercial exposure. Many in the coffee trade believe this is all about to change. If my coffee at Brennans was anything to go by, I won’t be surprised if the coffee lovers in Warners Bay start to believe the same.
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