It seems like Australian influence on coffee shops is everywhere nowadays (though it has been conclusively proven that avocado toast is an American invention), and this extends to coastal Carolina with Wilmington's Drift Coffee & Kitchen. The North Carolina-based coffee shop and eatery has brought over a Sydney cafe-trained food director to design their menu, including banana bread with maple coffee butter, smashed avocado toast, and grain bowls with soft eggs.
This is Drift's second location and their first on the mainland; the original cafe is on the 550-person island-town of Ocean Isle Beach. For their newest iteration, Drift has tapped Maryland's Ceremony Coffee to provide all the blends and rotating single origins that will comprise the coffee program. Australian (via-America) brekkie, Ceremony Coffee, all on the Carolina coast, it's Drift Coffee & Kitchen.
As told to Sprudge by Michael Powell.
For those who aren’t familiar, will you tell us about your company?
Drift is a cafe brand dedicated to giving all a positive experience that is memorable. We love to serve people delicious, casual food and beverage in a tasteful atmosphere. This is our second location, the first starting in a beach town about one hour away. Our Food Director Mikey Wiseman—who learned in Sydney, Australia at cafes by the name of The Baron, Your Local, and The Tuckshop—is excited to launch the breakfast/brunch and lunch experience to those in our area. He is focusing on dishes that are casual, made with quality ingredients that are in season and inspiring. Beautifully plated is key. The bacon egg roll with house-made apple/tomato chutney is a home run. Grain bowl with butternut squash hummus and soft boiled egg is a lunch favorite. Obviously fitting the Aussie mold is a banana bread with maple coffee butter and pecans.
We want the guest who visits our space to help define who we are and what the cafe turns into. We want acceptance in this cool neighborhood.
Can you tell us a bit about the new space?
We are occupying an end cap of a new real estate anchored office complex that sits at the entrance of a lively neighborhood called “Autumn Hall.” The structure is brand new but is governed by Cape Fear Heritage Architecture, which is a prime example of coastal Carolina design. The interior by Caroline Walkup is clean with natural and muted tones. We want the space to feel lived in and warm but without clutter. Foliage and cushions along with light fixtures give the vibe of a cafe by the beach.
What’s your approach to coffee?
We approach coffee as a beverage that connects people. While we spend time to dial extraction for sweetness, we understand that the people are most important. We will offer filter batch brew of some of Ceremony Coffee's most delicious blends and run brewed to order single origin from Ceremony that will rotate. Our espresso menu is traditional with a few house made flavors for the guest who desires a little added sweetness. We love serving small milk drinks!
Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
Very excited to be working with a Mahlkönig EK-43, La Marzocco Linea PB, and Mazzer Robur, obviously just copying everyone else in the industry that has proven the machines stand up to the test of time and function.
What’s your hopeful target opening date/month?
We softly opened 8/31 and are open from now moving forward.
Are you working with craftspeople, architects, and/or creatives that you’d like to mention?
Ceremony Coffee, Ronnie Haas. We have enjoyed working with Caroline Walkup Interiors. She has helped us translate our vision and mission from our minds onto the surfaces of the space we occupy and then into the touch, smell, and sights of our guest.
Thank you so much.