John Smith, Waterloo

John Smith Cafe, Waterloo

Rebel Roasters Coffee. 1 John St, Waterloo. As it turns out, there are many reasons to visit John Smith, but it is the giant copper sign that made it first hit my to-visit list. When you walk in, you’ll see lots of little pots of micro herbs, and a community garden on the cul-de-sac outside: there’s a commitment to fresh food, and to encouraging growing your own food (though we see a food delivery coming in while we’re visiting, so they’re not entirely self-sufficient).

Veggie Breakfast - John Smith Cafe, Waterloo

The food is impressive. The vegetarian breakfast above is the ingredients you’d expect, but prepped in unique ways. A couple of pulled-pork choices in there, something for most palettes, and the ubiquitous Brewnut, from Brewtown Newtown.

As strong as the food is, it seems that coffee is the focus. There’s the usual mix of espresso, pour over and cold drip, or you can order the tasting plate ($10 at time of visiting), and popular with the food bloggers. An espresso and ristretto on your choice of single origin coffee, so you can taste the difference between the two extraction methods, a piccolo latte, and a cold drip. It’s a significant caffeine intake, so I just sip them, but they’re passionate about the coffee presentation and making sure you are happy with your choice.

Coffee Tasting Plate - John Smith Cafe, Waterloo

The decaf is also well treated, but don’t expect as much respect from the staff if you order it.

Lastly, step up to the coffee bar for a chat about coffee, and to settle the bill.

where the magic happens - John Smith Cafe, Waterloo



Wah Wah Lounge, Waterloo

Coffee roaster coffee. Shop 2, 1 Danks St Waterloo. Already buzzing before 9am on a Sunday, a crowd of fairly well-to-do inner-city types are in their best casual garb, sipping on lattes and enjoying the morning sun; perhaps they’re grabbing a bite before nearby Hillsong church starts.

Staff are friendly and helpful; water is brought out unprompted, and the food choices – while a little pricey – are sufficiently varied to appeal to most palates.

Coffee is bulk-ground, but there is enough turnover to make it a fair practice. It’s a good temperature, a bit thin, but a great flavour: mellow, slightly nutty. Worth a visit if you’re in the neighbourhood.

Danks St Depot, Waterloo.

Allpress espresso coffee. 2 Danks Street Waterloo. Across the road from a Hillsong centre, this café, despite its humble exterior, has a truly attractive interior – lots of wood, and some bare metal. The café is buzzing with a well-to-do crowd.

Staff are friendly and effervescent: taking orders on little PDAs. The staff wear long, white aprons, adding to the restaurant feel of the venue. The kitchen noises can be heard over the background music, and the conversation of other diners mixes through too.

Coffee takes a while in peak time, but it’s worth waiting for. Smooth, a little thin but easy drinking.