Fika & Co On Pako

 

This is the first time we have reviewed a cafe that shares an address with a previous review. This location was formerly home to Fabretto Bros, which closed its doors earlier this year to relocate as Secret Society further south in Pakington Street. In that incarnation, the cafe was small and had very limited seating.

As Fika and Co, the new owners have pushed the back wall further back and probably tripled the amount of cafe space. This has changed the entire vibe of the location – what was once a place to go and buy a take away coffee, it is now a place where people can sit and chat whilst drinking their coffee. In fact, the name Fika and Co comes from a Swedish word that supports that new approach.

Despite being relatively new and still finding their feet, the coffee at Fika and Co is really good. As I have said in previous reviews, if you don’t make outstanding coffee in an environment like Pako, you are going to struggle.

Smooth flavour, great crema, correct temperature, correct cup … hard to give it any other rating really!

 

Address: 16 Pakington Street
Suburb: Geelong West 3218
Web Site: www.facebook.com/FIKA-CO-ON-PAKO-592071830961111
Telephone: 03 5221 5271
Open: Five days per week (closed Saturday and Sunday)
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Unknown
Headline: Only open since late June, they have changed the entire vibe in what was another coffee venue. More space and more variety than previous incarnation. And really good coffee to boot.
Coffee Rating: Four and a half 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

Freckleduck

 

Freckleduck is located right where the action is – on the corner of Malop and Yarra Streets in the Geelong CBD. It’s something of a surprise that it has taken me until review number 114 to visit but after nine months of residency in this fair city, off I went. Accompanied by someone who doesn’t drink coffee (no, seriously – she doesn’t drink coffee yet still functions as an intelligent and well-adjusted person), I ordered a long black and a green tea and sat in a great spot right near the window on one of those days when you just want to … well, sit in the window of a cafe and drink coffee.

The first thing noticeable about the coffee was the cup – a proper tulip cup! The crema was really good – fully formed and a really rich golden colour. And then the taste – right up there in 4.5 star territory! Good hearty flavour, without that sometimes overbearing strength that some baristas seem intent on inflicting.

No, altogether, one of top 10% of coffees of my journey thus far. On the face of it, parking might seem to difficult but don’t forget that Freckleduck is immediately adjacent to the CBD’s biggest shopping centre, which boasts significant parking capability.

Very glad to have found this one.

PS: One thing that I should mention – every coffee that is sold through Freckleduck supports the One Girl Partnership – for every 3000 coffee sold, they are able to support one girl through a year of schooling in either Uganda or Sierra Leone. Click here to read more.
 

Address: 131 Malop Street
Suburb: Geelong 3220
Web Site: www.freckleduck.com.au
Telephone: 03 5298 2262
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $3.80
Coffee Suppliers: 5 Senses
Headline: Great coffee in the heart of the city’s main shopping precinct. Nice to think that the purchase of coffee also supports a program for disadvantaged girls in Africa.
Coffee Rating: Four and a half stars

Eddy and Wills – Revisit

 

When I visited Eddy and Wills last time, I reported that the coffee and the venue were really good. I also told you about two things that had cost the cafe half a star – firstly, the apparent insistence that if you order a long black coffee, you must also receive a jug of milk on the side and secondly, and more seriously, the cup was not totally clean. The coffee stains on the cup were well away from where I was going to place my mouth but it just left me a little concerned about the “care factor”.

Fast forward to a recent email from the proprietor who thanked me for me review (a pleasure, Matt!) and for pointing out a couple of issues that disappointed him.

In the case of the milk, they had adjusted their point of sale system to default to adding milk to a long black order and may not have trained the staff properly to adjust that accordingly. In the case of the dirty cup, he was horrified, given that they “pride ourselves on the cleanliness of our shop, cups, kitchen, toilets (everything else) so this is really disappointing to us.”

To his credit, Matt and his partner have held a staff meeting and training sessions in response to my concerns and have brought both issues to the attention of their team. It’s great to know that rather than get defensive when criticism is provided in a forum like this, that they read, take action and respond.

I am happy to report that a shiny clean cup was brought to my table without a side order of milk. The coffee tasted as good as last time so I have no hesitation in granting Matt and the team a four and a half star!

 

Link to previous review: Eddy and Wills – November 2015
Address: 130 Church Street
Suburb: Hamlyn Heights 3215
Web Site: www.eddyandwills.com.au
Telephone: 03 5298 2353
Open: Six days per week (closed Monday)
Price: $3.50
Coffee Suppliers: Code Black
Headline: Last time, I thought that the coffee was very, very good and the only reason that I didn’t grant the coveted four and a half stars was a dirty cup. This time, the coffee was equally good AND everything was just right.
Original Coffee Rating: Four stars
Revisit Coffee Rating: Four and a half stars

Piknik

 

After having experienced some fairly average coffee in recent visits (in fact, 27 reviews and 57 days since my last 4.5 star review), I was overdue to find a really stand-out coffee. The good news is that, today, I found one – at Piknik at Swan Bay.

Piknik is located on the main Portarlington – Queenscliff Road (closer to Queenscliff than Portarlington), about 5kms from the Bellarine Highway. The cafe appears to have been an old roadhouse (I’m guessing a Mobil roadhouse, judging by the shape of the sign out the front), quite literally in the middle of nowhere. There are two reasons why you would visit Piknik – either because you stumble over it, driving between the two towns or because you know that it’s there and you go out of your way to visit. There appears to be no other reason for being out in that neck of the woods.

The building has been tidied up more so than renovated and whilst clean and well-presented, by no means could you describe it as stylish and funky – which as you would know from other reviews is no impediment for me giving it a good review.

It was pretty busy which, I guess, is no surprise, given that I arrived right on lunchtime. I sat at a bench in the semi-outside area and ordered my coffee which arrived in quick time. It was beautifully presented in a white tulip cup with a perfect crema. In my mind a good test is to be able to drag the teaspoon through the crema and watch it “heal” itself which today’s coffee did. If I had one criticism of the service it would be that I wasn’t offered any water to drink with my coffee.

All in all, it was a really great coffee experience and I’ll certainly be going back. When you think about it, the location is remote and only likely to be found by accident, the cafe is, as indicated above, not the most stylish I have visited and the wait staff were pleasant and attentive and not trying to be groovy the whole time. And yet, Piknik was really busy. That tells me that given what we might call “speed humps to success” discussed above, they are still being really successful so they must be doing something very right.

Like serving outstanding coffee …

 

Address: 1195 Portarlington-Queenscliff Road
Suburb: Swan Bay 3225
Web Site: www.piknik.com.au
Telephone: 03 5258 5155
Recommended by: Steven
Open: Five days per week (closed Monday and Tuesday)
Open 7 days between 26 December and end of January.
Price: $3.80
Coffee Suppliers: Allpress Espresso
Headline: Really, really good coffee in a location that you might only find by accident. Not artificially groovy or “hip” but thriving based on great coffee and what looked like great food too. Really well worth the drive if you are heading out from central Geelong.
Coffee Rating: Four and a half stars