Mr. Sister, 177 Main Rd, Speers Point, Mon-Sat: 6.30am-3.30pm.
Garth Buchanan and his sister Bec Thomson have a handy knack for turning up exactly where they are needed.
Since transforming an unassuming corner of the Hunter Street Mall in 2010 - alongside their other sibling Ally - into the espresso powerhouse that was One Penny Black, their reputation for grinding quality beans in the most convenient of locations has become the stuff of local legend.
Just as One Penny quickly came to shape of the coffee scene in the mall, their stylish fit-out at Westfield Kotara came to define what a contemporary espresso bar should be. It was specialised, it was minimalist and it was consistently professional. Rather than trying to service the needs of every appetite, it chose to focus on only one. Mr. Sister was proud to be just about coffee.
It is a simple philosophy that Garth and Bec have now applied to an entirely new environment. While Mr. Sister continues to hum along at Kotara, their distinctive formula is now being tested in a relatively unchartered coffee territory - the small commercial strip at Speers Point.
But followers of the Mr. Sister duo can be assured that despite the change in location, the coffee and the passion with which it is prepared and served will most certainly be remaining the same.
This commitment to consistency, like so much of what Buchanan does, makes an uncommon kind of sense. The partnership between Mr. Sister and Melbourne roastery Coffee Supreme has been as enduring as it has been successful and the Five Star Day espresso blend served up at Kotara has easily proven itself to be worthy of a new, lakeside home at Speers Point. A bright and silky blend that has touches of citrus, it is an outstanding espresso that has a dedicated following.
"Essentially it's exactly the same coffee offering as Kotara," Buchanan says. "We're a flagship for our roaster in the state of NSW and we're proud to work with them and their coffee and their brand. As soon as we decided to expand, I just called them, and they've been so supportive ever since."
Buchanan is the first to admit that this kind of support, especially from your own roaster, is invaluable when deciding to open multiple coffee locations. It's no secret that owning and operating a cafe can be uniquely laborious. Running more than one, without a dedicated team at the machine, can often look a bit like madness.
"We've only ever had one operation going at once," Buchanan says.
"This is all new for us. But at the same time the whole concept of Mr. Sister has been based on being able to cut it and copy it and put it where we think an area really needs it. After we moved on from One Penny we also wanted to strip back our offering and get back to basics. We wanted our service of coffee to be really streamlined and that has really helped us now that we have multiple locations."
You only need to stand out the front of the new Mr. Sister to appreciate exactly what he's talking about.
If the urbane, elemental design of their Kotara cafe set them apart from their neighbours, then their arrival in Speers Point is impossible not to notice. The fit-out itself is every bit a symbol of the streamline - uncluttered, efficient and functional.
The minimalist menu is all about the black stuff and nothing much else. Filter, espresso, cold brew. This is where you can find it and find it done professionally.
As you might imagine, the locals aren't just sitting in here and sipping. They're sighing with relief.
And they're not the only ones. Although both of their cafes are busy, neither Buchanan or his sister seem overwhelmed. As well as attributing the ease of expansion to their streamlined design, Buchanan can also thank his baristas for making the Mr. Sister transition relatively seamless.
"To be honest, I think running the two stores has so far felt quite straightforward because we have the right team," Buchanan says.
"I never had any intention of being everywhere at once. Anything good that my sister and I have done has been because of the effort of our people. We've invested in having the right suppliers and having the right people around us. I have Tim Hughes at Kotara and Angelo Luczak now running the new place at Speers Point. With head baristas like that, my life has been made a lot easier."