Humber, Wollongong

White Horse Coffee. 226 Crown St, Wollongong. If you haven’t been to the Crown St Mall and surrounds recently, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. Lots of construction work has finished, there’s more parking, and there are new premises open, like this one: Humber, just beyond the Crown St Mall on the railway station end.

Humber, Wollongong

 It’s a pleasant fit-out with lots of rivets and wood in the finish. We bring the kids along, and after a while perched on the too-high-for-toddlers benches, a table is cleared and we relocate them to some cushions on a windowsill, where they’re much more comfortable.

Humber, Wollongong

There are staff on the floor to make sure you’re seated in the cafe, and bring you menus, but it’s order and pay at the counter, and table numbers are handed out. Staff are patient and friendly with the crowded nature of the place: the tables-for-two err on the side of too small for one of the generous mains each and a side to share (though if you can finish that much food, you’re doing well).

Humber, Wollongong

The coffee setup is impressive: there’s a moccamaster behind the espresso machine, and a cold-drip rig (not running on the day I visit). Plenty of potential here as the staff find their feet over the next  weeks and months.

where the magic happens, Humber, Wollongong

Perhaps tellingly for how many espressos I’ve been having lately, I could tell how this one was going to taste. You can tell that the White Horse coffee beans has made the journey in one piece, but not all espressos are created equal: this one is a little too long, and the crema dissipates a little too fast.

espresso: Humber, Wollongong

 Lots of potential here: looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

Official website: humber.bar

Finbox, Thirroul

Fin Box, Bulli

White Horse Coffee. 269 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul. What started out as a surfboard store has grabbed the shop next door and incorporated a cafe selling a mix of White Horse (espresso) and Coal (cold brew) coffee.

Fin Box, Bulli

The emphasis is on coffee rather than food, though there are a few choices. The decor is simple – a feature has been made of the square tiles, and a few take-home items to buy (the wooden iPhone covers and cactus boxes are impressive little talking points.

Fin Box, Bulli

The feature wall has a large diagram of how to disarm someone who is carrying a coffee: hopefully it’s a skill you don’t need to develop.

If you’re in the neighbourhood in search of a good coffee, this place delivers a pleasant short stay.