June 29, 2012 Nathan

Brisbane Cafe Review: Uncle Joe’s Coffee House, Coorparoo

We’ve been driving past the old Red Rooster on Cavendish Road for about six months with the knowledge that it was slated to become a pretty special cafe. Brisbane, let me introduce you to the newest addition to our specialty coffee scene. Uncle Joe’s Coffee House. It’s pretty close to where we live so I’m very excited about the prospect of these guys opening on Saturdays (coming soon), and serving food that matches the quality of the coffee (also coming soon).

Adam, who was flying solo today because his business partner had a bit of a breakdown en route to work, is one of the nicest coffee people I’ve met. And coffee people, because caffeine is pumping through their veins, are generally some of the nicest people in the world anyway. He was busy, single handedly manning the beautiful and heavily customised Kees Van Der Western Mirage – it’s got longer than usual pre-infusion and enhanced temperature stability. Adam’s excitement about that was enough to mark him out as a guy with industry experience that is matched by the type of passion that keeps you getting up for an early morning commute from the Gold Coast to your brand new Brisbane cafe… for a 7am start. He weighs his shots and does other hallmark coffee geekery stuff to make sure the coffee is pouring sweetly and without too much cluttering bitterness or cloying roast-produced body. These guys are committed to getting the best shots out of the best beans. And I love that.

Here’s a Mirage in all its glory… just so you can see how special they look.

And here’s Uncle Joe’s Mirage in the wild.

The Supafly Blend isn’t named for the famous Joe Cartoon character – more for Adam’s reaction to tasting it once the decision was made to include the Rwanda Mig Maraba that rounds out the blend. The guys are committed to sourcing sensational beans from around the world, roasting them through their 3rd Crack Coffee Brokerage (and selling them green for keen home roasters like me).

The fitout was nice, full of earthy tones, nothing too cold, and full of bits and pieces of carefully chosen coffee paraphernalia.

The coffees were remarkably good. The blend was well balanced and delicious in milk, the Guatemalan was roasted light, just how I like it, so the characteristic sweetness wasn’t drowned out in a see of body and roastiness. And the coffees – as the sign says – were served at around 65 degrees. Perfect.

They’re also starting up a brew bar in the next few weeks, and Adam whipped us up a delicious Aeropress today on the sensational Guatemalan Santa Felisha that’s their current Single Origin (it was delicious in milk, outstanding as an espresso, and mind blowing as an Aeropress – Adam gave us a timer so we could track the changes in the flavour profile as it cooled, he said the 15 minute mark was the sweet spot – so we waited. And he was right.

The Aeropress coffee goes into the funky pouring kettle.

I’m thrilled to have a cafe producing this sort of coffee sourced from around the world by a world class sensory judge – Joe Hsu from Osir in Taiwan, who the cafe is named after – and blind tasted so us consumers are getting coffee that tastes good, not coffee sold on reputation alone. They’re still waiting on some top quality, high brow, porcelain cups – so they’re serving dine in coffees of all varieties in glassware at the moment – but this will be my local (alongside Grindhouse and Dramanti obviously).

Definitely check this place out. Add it to your coffee crawl itineraries. This was one of the best first time experiences I’ve ever had at a cafe, and I’ve been to lots. They’re only going to get better too as the fitout is finished, and the menu expanded. I seriously can’t think of a negative thing to say, even the music was good. Oh wait. Parking appears difficult. We parked out the back because we didn’t see the “tenant parking only” sign. There you go. But there’s a supermarket with plenty of space across the road, and the Coorparoo market next door, which also has heaps of parking. And people were just rocking up and parking out the front while we were there – so that’s not even really a negative.

They’ll be selling Aeropress kits with Able Disks and these funky kettles soon.

You can hit up Uncle Joe’s Cafe on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


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About the Author

Nathan Nathan is a coffee lover, home roaster, amateur barista and coffee tinkerer. He's married, has two kids, one turtle, and for a day job works for Creek Road Presbyterian Church. He previously worked in PR. This blog is his attempt to make coffee tax deductible.

Comments (4)

  1. Phil Snelling

    Hey Nathan,
    Uncle Joe’s seems like a great place to grab a cup of good coffee. What a small world though… I’m originally a Brissie lad (and from the Southside as well) but now I’m living in Taiwan. Actually, in Taichung where Orsir is located (BTW you misspelt their name- it needs another ‘r’). Ironically I’ve only started brewing my own coffee since moving to Taiwan (which is world famous for its tea- its a tea drinking culture). I started with the Aeropress (!) which I recommend as a quick brewer and a great start into coffee culture. I’ve now added a Hario Syphon (Vacpot) to my repertoire. It’s a popular method here in Taiwan as it’s coffee culture is influenced by the Japanese and the syphon produces a smooth and flavoursome tea-like coffee. It’s also great to watch in action. 😉
    Thanks for your blogs- all are good value.
    (BTW, how much connection is there between Joe Hsu and this store? Does their coffee come from here or is is on Joe’s recommendation?)

  2. Hi Nathan*

    It’s funny how connected everything is (6 degrees of separation?): I’m from Brisbane originally (Southside and all), but now live in Taiwan. Actually, I live in Taichung where Joe’s coffee shop Orsir (www.orsir.com.tw) is located and is where I get my beans. I also just jumped into the coffee brewing arena a few months ago with the Aeropress. It really is a simple and cheap machine that does a great brew. (A perfect brewer to start on I think!)

    So with all that connection your article jumped out at me. I’m curious about the connection that Uncle Joes Coffee House has with Joe Hsu himself; where’s the connection between Brisbane and Taichung?

    Taiwan is world famous for their tea (not just pearl/bobble milk tea either…) and quality coffee shops are few and far between. Being close (geographically and historically) to Japan, the coffee brewing culture in Taiwan has been influenced by its northern neighbour with the emphasis not on Expressos but on pour overs and syphons. (Take Orsir for instance, it has an Expresso machine but in prime place and more favoured are the Syphon ‘vac pots’ standing in a row on halogen heating elements.) So the crisp, ‘tea-like’ brewing methods are favoured over the thick robustness of an Expresso. Of course, there is Starbucks and local cafe’s like 85 Degrees which use an Expresso machine, but most are impacted by the America coffee culture (Americano, Drip, ‘caffeine-means-coffee’) rather than the European/Australian (Flat White, Long Black, Latte art, Third Wave Coffee). It’s just not the same…


    *I tried to post a comment last month but it (obviously) didn’t work.

    • Hi Phil,

      Sorry, your comment ended up in spam. I’ve approved both of them.

      I’ll have to ask the guys what the exact connection is, from what I gather, Joe Hsu is a mentor for the guys behind the shop, and I think he might be their coffee broker. But I’d have to get the exact details.

      Thanks for commenting.

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