Though based in Melbourne, and bureau chief for our city desk there, Eileen P. Kenny has been something of a pan-Australia reporter for Sprudge as of late, including recent visits to Sydney, Canberra, and most recently Adelaide, where she visited two excellent coffee shops: Please Say Please and Exchange Speciality Coffee.
A city of 1.4 million and the capital of the state of Southern Australia, Adelaide's quality coffee scene is small but growing, and influenced by service styles and roasters from Melbourne and London in equal measure. This is an emerging market, with talented baristas helping to build a community of regulars keen to learn more and drink great coffee on the reg. A coffee writer's dream, basically, and not dissimilar to the many other coffee scenes across the world, from Edinburgh to Auckland to Spokane, Washington, and all points in-between.
Ms. Kenny's quick jaunt covers just two shops; there's more, of course, but this snapshot profile highlights a couple of cafes doing particularly standout work. We look forward to featuring many more cafes from Adelaide, and across Australia, in future pages on Sprudge.
Exchange Speciality Coffee
Open Mon – Fri, 7am – 5pm & Sat 9am – 4pm
12-18 Vardon Ave
Opened by Tom Roden in July of 2013, Exchange is a beautiful café on the north end of Adelaide’s CBD, located on the corner of Vardon Avenue, just a short walk from the lovely parklands of Rymill and Rundle on the edge of the city. Having previously worked in London at Workshop Coffee’s Marylebone shop, Roden was inspired to come back to Adelaide to create his own little piece of the world’s specialty coffee scene with similar focus on high quality coffee and service.
The space is simple and minimalist, with low-set bars, tastefully muted walls in white and navy, and lovely light wood for the surfaces. It’s aesthetically quite different to a lot of other shops in Adelaide, with a bit of a London/Melbourne feel to the café, reinforced by their choice to use Market Lane Coffee as the house coffee – with the occasional guest roast by way of Small Batch (also from Melbourne), the aforementioned Workshop Coffee (now shipping internationally), and Mecca Espresso from Sydney, with more roasters to come.
Exchange is laser-focused on brewing coffee consistently and deliciously, while also facilitating interaction and engagement, and making their tasty coffees as accessible as possible. In this, Tom Roden and his staff have succeeded. Adelaide is a city where giant milky cappuccinos abound —not that there's anything wrong with that –but Exchange has created a space where you can sit and enjoy a well-made filter coffee and a light meal, without nary a giant mug in sight.
Please Say Please
50 Grenfell St, Adelaide
Open Mon – Fri, 7am – 4pm
Located on the busy stretch of Glenfell St in the city centre of Adelaide, Please Say Please is a one-stop shop for all kinds of deliciousness. Owner/operator Daniel Freer opened the cafe just over a year ago in March, and the city’s discerning caffeine consumers have kept it busy ever since.
In a space that’s of a size somewhere between a serving window and your normal corner store, Please Say Please is home to delicious coffee roasted by Proud Mary Coffee (a Melbourne roaster), alongside toasties, light breakfasts, and an Adelaide take on the infamous ‘cronut’ sensation.
The design of the shop is simple and compact, with a neat concrete bar, dark walls, a tiny but efficient food preparation area, and elements like a brick feature wall and coffee palettes as storage breaking up the space and adding a little lightness. Espresso is prepared on a Synesso espresso machine paired with Mazzer Robur grinders; the pastry cabinet extends to a fairly wild macaron program, with flavors like bacon & egg, chocolate mud cake, popcorn, and maxibon. My editors suggest following Please Say Please's Facebook page, for photos of delicious pastries and lots of laughs from whomever is responsible for the shop's signage.
The day I visited it was, fortuitously, Please Say Please’s 1st birthday and the celebratory spirit was palpable, with $1 coffees flowing like wine, and a bounty of decadent cronuts. The passion that these guys have for coffee is evident, and the enjoyment that they have serving it to the people of Adelaide is what makes PSP the lovely little café that it is. This is a place that makes great coffee fun.
Eileen P. Kenny (@EileenPK) is a staff writer for Sprudge.com, based in Melbourne. She is the publisher of Birds of Unusual Vitality, coffee’s premiere interview web magazine. Read more Eileen P. Kenny here.