We had taken the train to Katoomba, and as it’s a tourist town that’s essentially the jumping off point for anyone doing any exploring in the Blue Mountains, we were banking on there being a cute cafe to kick off our hike. In fact, I hadn’t even bothered to do the usual “specialty coffee” web search that tends to guide my explorations in new places. Sometimes you just want to leave things up to chance; espresso tastes better with a side of serendipity. And while normally I insist on making coffee and home and bringing the Thermos—because the Swede in me will always need a 10am fika break no matter where I find myself—for some reason, on this day, I had skipped my normal routine.
As I quickly learned in Australia, while in the thriving metropolises of Melbourne and Sydney you can hardly throw a rock without hitting a good coffee shop, more rural places are a bit different. But far-flung, special cafes do exist, and that’s what makes the trek for good coffee exciting: you never know what you are going to find.
Our last weekend in Australia we had committed to a day-long hiking excursion in the Blue Mountains, the UNESCO world heritage area of over 1 million hectares of glorious wildlands. We were almost ready—trail-running shoes laced up and with so much sunscreen on I looked moderately ghost-like—but first, coffee.
While my morning cup of coffee at home is one thing, a morning cup of coffee before an outdoor excursion is even better. Whether you’re headed out on a multi-day trip, or just an early morning brisk walk, there’s something about getting that first cup of coffee in you. And it’s even better when you find a hole-in-the-wall joint wherever your adventure begins from.
That cup of coffee, be it at a diner or roadside java drive through, indicates the start of something, the kickoff. Which is why things are even better when that coffee tastes good.
It’s a humble joint, with cafe in the front, a Diedrich roaster in the back. Having already drank a coffee, I went for a bag of beans to take for later, but the barista on hand insisted I try a shot of the Guatemalan La Liberdad (I am certain this was the Australian god’s version of sending me an angel to guide me along to better life choices). A bright and citrusy espresso, just like I like them.