Regular readers will recall my Furious 5 series where I did five blog post in five days about the coffee shops within walking distance of my job in ‘Lower’ Fortitude Valley / Newstead ‘Heights’ / ‘Outer’ Bowen Hills. That is, in the middle of nowhere. One bonus of where I work (if you can it that) is that I’m within handy walking distance of my Dentist and have walked a well worn path there and back over the past few months. On one of my return visits, I spied a sign that showed promise.
Tonic Espresso Bar is one of a growing cohort of coffee shops that are popping up in back streets all over Brisbane. In this instance the shop is in amongst engineering firms, some arty marketing and PR agencies and a bit of light industrial. As if to underline this, when I was looking for Tonic’s website, I discovered that it is run by architects Tonic Design who say on their website: ‘TONIC Espresso is a social and creative venture owned and operated by TONIC Design. Our vision was to create a space that activated the laneway to the rear of our Design Studio.’ Activated the laneway…. They are also a heartbeat away from 99 Bikes Ride to Work storage facilities – cyclists being the traditional prey of espresso vendors.
The fit out is simple – a counter and chiller cabinet at the front and one massive shared table that runs the whole length at the back of the shop. Shelves run along one wall with coffee (250g beans – $10.00, 1kg – $36.00) and Keep Cups for sale. All coffee is served in stenciled takeaway cups, whether you are drinking in or not. Very minimalist and no fuss. There are also some fun little Ikea stools out the front that have been spray painted in a variety of retro designs. I know they’re from Ikea as I have one too.
|Ikea stools – groovy painted designs, killers for posture|
The first time I visited was after the morning rush and the place was fairly quiet. The second visit was earlier and it was busier, though I didn’t wait long. My second visit coincided with a State of Origin game so there were cute little home made cupcakes for sale on the counter. I bet they flew out the door at morning tea time though sadly, some one would have had to make do with the Blues.
But, your not there for the ambiance, you’re there for the coffee. And how good is that coffee? Very good indeed! I have taken to walking past my usual place and going the extra distance to grab Tonic’s house blend. I find it slightly sweet, full flavoured, no bitterness and best of all, it’s not served at the ridiculous luke warm temperature that has come to haunt me at many coffee shops. Coffee should be lingered over, not gulped down before it goes cold. The description says ‘Tonic’s No. 1 blend is the perfect all rounder coffee. Balanced with strong chocolate and dark caramel notes that are highlighted in milk based drinks. While subtle and acidic flavours give enough variety to also be enjoyed as a black coffee.’ Yeah, yeah, whatever. All I know is that it tastes great and finally, finally, I’ve found a coffee that suits me and is worth the walk.
Tonic Espresso Bar
7 Hynes St
Fortitude Valley Qld 4006