Where: 21 Leather St, Breakwater
Phone: 5222 6115
Oh! Hello Geelong really loves surprise discoveries, we just can’t get enough of them! One place we never ever expected to make a surprise discovery of such grand proportions was right in the middle of industrial Breakwater. Here we made one of our biggest (not to mention craziest) G-Town surprise discoveries to date.
What made this adventure all the more fab was that we thought we had it covered when it came to where to go for coffee and tea in G-Town, oh how wrong we were! Okay, okay, we’ll end the suspense! Our adventure this week was to the absolutely mad but wonderfully tasty coffee and tea house known as Cartel!
From go to whoa…
So we decided to do a random drop in to Cartel on a rainy morning after a friend suggested we go and suss it out. From the minute we walked through the front doors we felt the Cartel buzz (and forgot about the rain)! The staff, the delish smell of freshly roasted coffee, the sound of the coffee machines at work, the café’s kooky floor space, the display of scrumptious cakes and lunchtime goodies together created an atmosphere that was seriously hyperactive. However, what really gave the space a real zing was the energy of owner and super barista/roaster extraordinaire Nathan Johnston who made us feel instantly welcome and at home – thanks Nathan!!!
There’s so much to say about Nathan and his energy and business savvy, but what really stands out is his passion for coffee beans and his commitment to sourcing the finest quality and most aromatic and flavoursome beans from around the world for his customers back at home – lucky us! Nathan’s seasonal range of coffee comes from as far away as Ethiopia, Rwanda, Asia and Costa Rica and is roasted by Nathan and his team on a daily basis in his roasting shed which looks into the cafe; the smells and sounds are so divine. During our visit Nathan just happened to be roasting some Yirgacheffe beans from Ethiopia and let us watch him at work (there’s a bit of a science to coffee roasting we have to say). While we were watching the roast, Rylan, Nathans trusty apprentice whipped us up some delicious sample shots, Yum!
Now Nathan did give us LOTS AND LOTS of super random facts about coffee which we could never do justice to here so we suggest you speak to Nathan or anyone of his team of coffee experts behind the counter – there is way more to coffee than milk and froth!!!! Oh and if you’re really keen you can enrol into one of Nathan’s barista training or coffee appreciation courses! But don’t worry if it’s just a good cup of coffee and some grub you’re after, Cartel really serves it up.
So what do you do if you’re a tea lover like Oh! Hello Geelong you might ask? Or what if you’re looking for somewhere to mellow out? Well, Cartel has that base covered too. After we had thrown back all the coffee we could handle for one morning we were shown to the tearoom at the back of the café (keep your eyes out for the red door), which has a real kitschy Asian Zen-vibe going on – we loved it! The room is full of old-world treasures and off the wall (literally) displays, oh and most importantly jars and jars of lovely smelly tea! Like the coffee range, Cartel’s tea is sourced from all over the world and includes green, black and herbal teas (and many more!). And not to be outdone by the coffee bean out the front, tea master Sharyn Johnston (who happens to be Nathan’s adorable and hilarious Mum) offers tea courses for tea lovers and sells a huge range of tea products! Best of all, you can enjoy any one of the amazing teas you see on the shelves right there in the tearoom. Tea lovers unite!
From a nice surprise to serious addiction…
Since our first visit to Cartel, Oh! Hello Geelong has been back a collective total of three times (so much love)! What drew us back each time was how Cartel made us feel as well the passion of Nathan, Sharyn and all the staff who work there – great work guys, you rock! We also love the kookiness of the interiors and also that tea lovers were not forgotten amongst all the coffee hype. This was a truly fabulous G-Town surprise discovery.
PS: Cartel is ranked number 1 café (in Australia and the world, yep the world) on Beanhunter – and it’s right here in G-Town!!!! Now that’s a big deal!
PPS: The Cartel kitchen is preparing for a shake up…new look and new menu on the way. Can’t wait!