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Coffee in the Newcastle ‘burbs: Your backstreet guide

If you’re like us and your cup of molten caramel caffeine is often the highlight of your day, then Emma has prepared this guide especially for you. The Newcastle region is well known for its coffee scene (move over Melbourne), but we want to take a moment to honour the coffee shops in the backstreets, where the coffee is so great that customers make an intentional detour to arrive on their doorstep.

When I catch a whiff of those sweet and bitter beans brewing in an unlikely location – off the beaten track, down a side alley, in the back end of town – I get a warm and fuzzy feeling. Call it the thrill of the chase, expecting the unexpected, the convenience of parking with a screaming baby in the backseat, but my all-time favourite coffee joints around Newcastle and Lake Macquarie aren’t in the centre of town. Over the last six years of (sleep-deprived) motherhood, I’ve made it my mission to discover coffee that activates my tastebuds along with my brain.

These are my top seven places to sip a latte in the suburbs of Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

Photo from Door 34 on Facebook

Door 34

The recent lockdowns have been really hard on many businesses and communities. I will always associate that first Covid-19 lockdown with the genuine sadness I felt when I saw the iconic Door 34 swing shut. For me, it symbolised the isolation and foreboding sense of an unknown time. But Door 34 survived and thrives today as a well-established Cardiff institution, bringing a sense of culture, community and welcome to all who enter.

It’s hard to put into words all that Door 34 represents, but expect to be swept inside on your first visit like a long-lost cousin and be served a plate of something home-baked to compliment your coffee. You’ll be impressed by the barista’s prowess in casually pumping out local Silverskin coffee, while maintaining a number of lively conversations with customers. Want to know more about their smooth yet punchy blends? Ask to see Hayden’s friendly face.

Door 34
34A Kelton Street, Cardiff

Bootleg Bakery

Photo by Bootleg on Instagram
Photo by Wildflower on Instagram

Wildflower Espresso

Everyone’s favourite gateway suburb into Newcastle got a bit more bustling when Wildflower bloomed onto the streets of Wallsend. Audible sighs can be heard from people passing by – finally, somewhere to guzzle speciality coffee in this neck of the woods!

It’s clear that Rianna loves what she does too, which is working in the “people industry” just as much as the coffee industry. I love their choice of ethically sourced green bean from Glee Coffee Roasters, ensuring a complex and delicious cup of joe every time.

Wildflower Espresso
71 Cowper Street, Wallsend

Mr Sister Coffee

The coffee duo behind Mr Sister, Garth and Bec, know a thing or two about good coffee. They’ve been drawing coffee lovers to Kotara Westfield for years and now they’ve given up their busy shopping centre location and branched out into Hunter Street, but most excitedly, they’ve opened a café off the lakefront at Speers Point.

Lake Mac lucked out with this one – hear the celebrations all the way from Warners Bay as coffee fans dance to the sounds of Supreme beans grinding.

Mr Sister Coffee
177 Main Road, Speers Point

Photo by Mr Sister
Photo by The Coffee Benders on Instagram

The Coffee Benders

I recently found myself wandering through the industrial area of Waratah following a recommendation from the Swell Editor herself and can I just say, wow! Thank you, Kristy, for introducing me to this amazing coffee.

The Coffee Benders have opened up inside The Movement Collective, serving their very own speciality coffee (roasted in nearby Carrington) to fit and fabulous gym members and anyone else blessed to find this tucked away location. Be sure to try a pretzel or bagel from Brooklyn Boy Bagels while you’re there.

The Coffee Benders
31b Crescent Road, Waratah

The Barn Adamstown

The Barn gets my vote for the quality of food, combined with the great coffee. Sounds simple, but I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been disappointed with my coffee when I’m lucky enough to go out for a leisurely brunch.

The Barn brings a buzzing vibe to Brunker Road, an otherwise neglected hub for foodies and coffee snobs alike. I love their community book exchange and their use of local produce, including local coffee roaster Crème Coffee Garage.

The Barn Adamstown
Corner of Brunker and Mandalong Roads, Adamstown

Photo by The Barn Adamstown on Instagram
Photo by Common Circus Cafe on Instagram

Common Circus

A creative collaboration of eclectic homewares and Glee Coffee, this one little shop is a real show-stopper. Is it worth the drive to Belmont? You bet! I know, I know, they’ve recently opened Common Circus 2.0 in Hamilton, but the Belmont location is simply beautiful. You won’t be able to leave with just your coffee in hand when you see the interesting, unique and timeless range of items on offer. Go on and treat yourself to a cup of The Goods (brown sugar, berry, cocoa blend) and go home with gifts you never knew you needed, surprise! Added bonus: you can buy the latest Swell mag while you’re there.

Common Circus
36 Brooks Parade, Belmont

Words: Emma Lalic | Photography: Zoe Lonergan

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