Seasons Cafe – Geelong East

 

Seasons Cafe is operated by local not-for-profit organisation, Karingal, in two locations in Geelong – one in Douro Street in Geelong North and the one that I visited in McKillop Street in Geelong East (corner of Humble Street). To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect – with a focus on inclusion for people with a disability or mental illness, older people and those who are disadvantaged, I was wondering how well the cafe would shape up.
 

I need not have worried – the cafe is bright and fresh, the staff I met seemed pleased to be at work (in stark contrast to some places I’ve been on a Sunday) and the food and coffee were very, very acceptable. I may have been fortunate to go there so early because I was the only person there at the start which means that my food and coffee arrived promptly. The coffee was rich in flavour and smooth in taste.
 

A few locals came and went while I was there – from what I can see, Seasons has little competition in the immediate area. If you live within walking distance, I would suggest that it would make a very good local cafe. If you don’t, I’d suggest that getting the car keys out and driving to Seasons would be well worth the effort.

I haven’t tried the Geelong North version yet but after my experience in the east, it’s on my list!

 

Address: 285a McKillop Street
Suburb: Geelong East 3220
Web Site: easternhub.org.au/what-we-offer/seasons-cafe
Telephone: 5249 6100
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Piazza D’Oro
Headline: Nice environment. Good food. Really good coffee. Give it a try and support Karingal as well!
Coffee Rating: Four stars

Black Cup

 

Well, it has been a while – I have been travelling a lot recently and so, when I got back to Geelong, I just wanted somewhere that I get some great coffee with my breakfast. Being Saturday morning, I thought that I would try and avoid the CBD but being short on time, I headed towards East Geelong to see what I could find.

I know that Garden Street is somewhat of a thoroughfare but not one that I have had much call to use since arriving in town. Black Cup, unlike a number of cafes in our region is “stand alone” – it isn’t part of a larger strip shopping precinct and therefore may not score the same level of passing foot traffic as others.

What I found was a fantastic, family-friendly cafe environment with plenty of food choices to suit all times of the day. But being a coffee review site, let’s focus on that.

As you know, I don’t dish out reviews that are bigger than 4 very often, but I was left with no option. The coffee was really, really good, served in the correct cup and at the right temperature. There’s not much else to say – really, really good coffee. And the ambience was such that, if you were looking to take mum and dad out for breakfast, Black Cup would be a good choice, too.

Highly recommended

 

Address: 103 Garden Street
Suburb: Geelong East 3220
Web Site: www.blackcupcafe.com.au/
Telephone: 03 5229 1012
Open: Six days per week (closed Sunday)
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: A great place for breakfast outside of the main CBD. Good food and really good coffee
Coffee Rating: Four and a half stars

Winifred’s Corner Shop

 

Winifred’s Corner Shop has only been open since February 2016 and from what I can see seems to started to attract a steady stream of regular clients. I visited this location in October last year when it was under different management and it was, quite simply, awful. At that time, I think I might have said that its location – directly across the road from one of Geelong’s most beautiful outdoor venues – would lend itself to a major facelift.

Well, that has been done. The shop seems lighter and brighter than before with new furniture, highly polished timber flooring and happy people working and/or consuming coffee there. If anything, there is a bit of an echo now due to the decor but that’s more than OK.

The food offerings are relatively limited but I must tell you that the breakfast roll was quite outstanding. The coffee was also very good – good crema, solid flavour and … the correct cup! Maybe I am starting to win that battle!

So, if you have been thinking about whether to go and visit the all-new and improved cafe on the corner of Garden and Malop, do it. I think you’ll enjoy the experience

 

Address: 26 Garden Street (corner Malop Street)
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.facebook.com/Winifreds-Corner-Shop-1522510061378613
Telephone: Not available
Open: Six days per week (closed Monday)
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Org
Headline: A significant improvement on the previous cafe at this location. Clean and bright with great coffee but limited food options.
Coffee Rating: Four stars

Botanical On Ryrie

 

For those of you who attend Geelong High School or travel between Geelong and Drysdale / Portarlington on a regular basis, you will have seen Botanical On Ryrie being renovated and, more recently, opening. Featuring a retro ice cream advertisement on its front facade, I am reliably informed that long time Geelong residents might remember it as being a milk bar a long time ago.

When I walked in the front door (which is,in fact, a side entrance off Normanby Street), I was immediately taken by how open and fresh the cafe appeared. They have made the sensible decision to space the tables (including one big communal table in the centre of the floor) out around the cafe, giving patrons a sense that the person on the next table is not listening into your conversation. Far too many cafes purchase/rent a space and then try to jam as many tables in as possible to maximise the floor space usage.

CLICHE ALERT: Sometimes, less is more!

The one disappointment that I can report is the cup that my coffee was served in. The owners have invested in some really nice, good quality cups, saucers and plates but have decided, apparently, to only serve their coffee in cappuccino cups and mugs. Working on “the best of a bad bunch” model, I am pleased to report that my coffee was served in the smaller of the two but even still, if you check out the image on our Instagram account, you’ll see that even a good crema is going to struggle to stay intact on a cup of that size.

The disappointing thing about today’s coffee is that despite the great venue, the really good coffee flavour, the experience was tainted by the cup that it was served in. If it hadn’t been for that, I would have placed into the 4.5-star club. Unfortunately … in the words of Maxwell Smart … “missed it by that much”

PS – Community Service Announcement – you won’t find a big sign on the front of the cafe telling you that it is Botanical On Ryrie (maybe those signs are coming). You will, however, notice a big retro sign on the front of the shop promoting a Streets Cornetto ice-cream.

 

Address: 404 Ryrie Street
Suburb: Geelong East 3219
Web Site: www.facebook.com/botanicalonryrie
Telephone: 03 5221 6578
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: Almost a four and a half, they let me down with their choice of cup. Otherwise, a really good vibe, clean, fresh and modern with the ghosts of a retro milk bar lurking.
Coffee Rating: Four stars

Tara’s Cafe & Takeaway

 

The first thing that struck me when I walked into Tara’s Cafe & Takeaway was how unpopulated and dingy the cafe appeared. It looks like there are two additional rooms apart from the main shop and an outdoor area facing the gardens. The two additional rooms were in darkness and the doors to the outside area closed off. When I walked in, the two people who appeared to be customers sprung into action – they were, in fact, the staff who were obviously waiting for some customers. Given that I walked during what should be the lunchtime peak started to ring some alarm bells.

I placed my order for a long black and after a few minutes, I was asked whether it was a cappuccino or a latte that I had ordered (more alarm bells, please) Then, after pointing out that I had ordered a long black, the coffee was presented in a completely boring, straight sided white mug (those bells are becoming annoyingly loud). Some places who insist of serving their coffee in mugs at least go out of their way to dress the coffee up in a colourful or handcrafted mug but not today.

As you would expect, the crema was virtually non-existent. And then came the taste – weak, insipid and without any body at all. Seriously, even if I had used cheap instant coffee, I think I might have done a better job.

The location of the cafe is perfect – surrounded by lovely houses and directly across the road from Geelong’s beautiful botanic gardens. It’s the sort of place that tourists might visit after a stroll around our gardens. If they did, I think they would be bitterly disappointed by the standard of coffee they encounter.

 

Address: 28 Garden Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.facebook.com/TarasCafeTakeaway
Telephone: 4208 1123
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Capra
Headline: Great location in a corner store opposite the Botanic Gardens. That’s where the positives end. Coffee was presented in a mug and it tasted awful. That’s my last visit, that’s for sure.
Coffee Rating: lessthanthree