Vincent's in Mayfield is the only cafe in Newcastle that transports you to another time without trying to. It's charming by accident rather than by formula.
Other cafes play the right music and decorate themselves in vintage but then treat their customers as nothing more than sales figures.
In. Drink. Eat. Pay. Out.
Sure, you get a great coffee and get smiled at but so does everybody else. Next!
Vincent's welcomes you with a hearty embrace of a very different brand of vintage.
To begin with it adjoins The Coliseum, the largest antique centre in town, an emporium accessible through the cafe itself. Chandeliers twinkle over a whisper quiet vibe.
Collectors tread carefully holding porcelain vases, tobacco boxes, vinyl, memories. This is a vintage for those devoted to the roadshow.
When I arrived there last week the stereo wasn't blasting the Stones because their staff had just started digging them. It was playing Warren Zevon.
Old blokes sat squinting over their newspapers, crosswording the day away with toast crumbs on their pages.
There wasn't a smart device in sight.
The waiter told me that it was lunch time but I could order some breakfast if I wished. No rush. It was all up to me. I could take as long as I liked and so I did. That's vintage.
My wishes later materialised into a big breakfast ($22) that you would proudly write home about; on a typewriter under gaslight. I don't know how much later exactly. Ten minutes? Less? Who cares?
If it took a whole month then I hadn't wasted a minute. I was too distracted, too busy being charmed by the mish-mash interior and - to my even greater delight - the quality of the coffee.
Rarely does the name of a blend so perfectly match the atmosphere of the cafe it is served in. Cosmic: The original space cowboy. Why of course.
From a local, carbon-conscious roaster that drives around in a bright orange Holden with sirens on the roof. In a timeless, zany, kooky kind of way that's vintage too. Spocket style. It's old and it's new and it's everything in between. And that's just the character of the beans.
The Cosmic blend ground at Vincent's is a Brazilian and Colombian medium roast with a foot on either side of the flavour divide.
A single-shot flat white ($4) reminds you that recent trends in roasting have followed a less-is-more philosophy of sorts. Less than a dark roast is sometimes better because it better profiles the characteristics of the bean. Perfect the dark roast and you often have a powerful sweetness, as though a big lump of brown sugar snuck into the bottom of your cup. The coffee at Vincent's does both. All things nice, sugar and spice.
Take your time for no other reason than everyone else appears to. Sit by the window where some old Australian poetry is hand painted on the brick wall: "I love a sunburnt country" under an air-conditioner.
Why of course.