Friday 16 October 2015

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee, Coffee, COFFEE!

This post is for all the caffeine addicts out there whether you source it from coffee, chocolate, tea, or all 3 combined!

The day we visited Herberton we finished the day by camping just outside Atherton so as the next morning we could be closer to our next destination Coffee Works at Mareeba. Please note that you can also visit Coffee Works at Cairns CBD and Rusty's Markets, Port Douglas, as well as Townsville. We arrived nice and early so we could have breakfast from the cafe. Upon arrival to Coffee Works and entrance to Coffee World (the tasting and museum part of Coffee Works) we were told of the UNLIMITED sample tastings of COFFEE, CHOCOLATE & TEA. It was a good thing we had decided to visit in the morning because as a result we were buzzing all afternoon.

We took a seat and looked at the menu for the cafe and both instantly decided on the Eggs Benedict BBQ style, with smoked salmon. We both love a good Eggs Benedict! I however, am a bit fussy with ones from a cafe as I have ordered them a few times before and been let down as they are never as good as the time my Granma made it for me. I hadn't ordered them for a while so I decided to give Coffee Works the benefit of the doubt. They were the BEST cafe Eggs Benedict I've had for a very long time. The Hollandaise sauce was nice and creamy, the eggs were cooked perfectly to how I like them, nice and runny and overall it was delicious and flavoursome. I made a point of telling the kitchen staff of my approval and thanks. At this point go back to where I said it was Eggs Benedict BBQ style. I had forgotten this, and also as it had been a while since I had eaten Eggs Benedict I had also forgotten that the eggs are supposed to be poached. Their cooking facilities are limited and so they do their eggs on the BBQ. However, they are not fried, oily and greasy as you would expect from BBQ eggs. According to the kitchen staff, some people like to complain that the eggs are not poached, but considering how good the Eggs Benedict was, and that the eggs were cooked to both our liking and perfection (I like them runny, while Cameron likes it a little more cooked) with the same delicate flavour that comes from poaching them, I do not understand why one would complain. The cafe staff appreciated my feedback. What a wonderful start to the morning.

 Did I mention UNLIMITED tasting of coffee, chocolate and tea?... While waiting for our breakfast to arrive we started on what Cameron and I call dessert breakfast made up of a buffet style array of sample chocolate to try. There were the usual milk, white, and darks, next were the coffee flavoured chocolates, then last was the more unique flavours and blends of chocolate which included chili, orange, peppermint white chocolate, lemon myrtle, even a pepper and lime chocolate. We enjoyed eating the chocolates in the last container more later in the day at morning tea time rather than breakfast. The chocolates were then washed down with of course coffee and tea. There were 4 varieties of local blend tea, and somewhere between 10-20 varieties of coffee blends including locally and overseas grown, as well as different flavoured ones such as Irish Cream and hazelnut. Later on (after 10am) some coffee flavoured liqueurs were added to the table as well for sampling.

After dessert breakfast and then real breakfast, it was at the point where the caffeine was starting to kick in! We decided to give our stomachs a rest and go into the museum part of Coffee World. Here we were given what looks like a remote control and told that it is the audio guide. There are many numbered listening stations throughout the museum which you can listen to as many or little as you choose, and in any order by typing in the number on the remote. Some are short and tell you about different coffee machines over the years, while others are quite detailed talking of the history and difference between coffee, tea, hot cocoa, the stages how and why it has developed in certain parts of the world. Some of the stations we found most fascinating were the story of Pocahontas, the difference between sugar in tea versus milk with coffee, and there was even a station that talked about how cup sizes and shapes evolved. The amount of coffee was the same so the link was actually to whether the country was known to be a beer or wine drinking country. Beer is drunk in a larger glass, wine in a smaller glass, hence a similar evolution coffee cups or mugs in these countries. In the museum there is a very large collection of coffee machines, roasters, grinders, coffee pots teapots, and many stories to read. Over the years much research has been put into this place.

Back in the main area we got talking to the wonderful, knowledgeable staff. At this point I also noticed in the garden that there were some trees with what looked like berries on them. I asked what it was. The response was that not many people notice but what I had asked about was the coffee bean tree. Fantastic! Plant identification and recognition is not my strong point despite being a tour guide myself, but I am interested in the edible plants. I think having the coffee bean plant on site is a fantastic idea. The staff member picked one off and cracked it open to show us inside. She also said I could eat one of the berries if I wish, upon which I quickly took up the opportunity. This was good to taste the coffee bean in its raw, natural state and to compare the difference in the finished product of a roasted coffee bean. In the garden they also had a cocoa tree growing with a lone seed pod on it. As these are slow growing, and as there was only one it was simply for show, but for a first time seeing a cocoa bean pod was still fascinating.

As well as unlimited coffee, chocolate and tea, a great cafe, an informative museum, great staff, and coffee and cocoa trees, Coffee Works has a nice gift shop, and a chocolate shop. Our final stop at Coffee Works was the chocolate shop to stock up on some of the yummy treats we had taste tested.  If I had my Charlie Chocodile shirt the day we visited I certainly would have worn it as Charlie can't get enough chocolate. Never the less I will wear it as much as I can. Cassowary Col also featured in this photo with Charlie Chocodile. Entrance into the cafe and shop is free however if you wish to visit the museum and have the full caffeine tasting experience at Coffee World there is an entrance fee. Here is a tip though. Prior to your visit, pick up a Coffee Works flier at an information centre in the area to recieve a $5 discount for adult admissions. Even though entrance is not expensive, make use of this discount. Don't just take the advice from me because it is even on their website. If you are visiting far north Queensland, Coffee Works is certainly worth the visit, and I will be recommending it to many people.
 - Jeni

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