It’s More Than Just Coffee

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Before I moved to Australia from Zimbabwe, coffee was never a big thing for me. It was never a big thing because I could go for miles without seeing a little coffee shop or a coffee van. This is not to say that there aren’t any coffee shops or people who work in this industry back home; it’s just not to the extent of what I came to experience in Australia.

When I first moved to Australia I got my first job working in a cafe. I had never worked before so I had no idea what I was signing up for but it looked like it would be fun so I went with it. While it was indeed a great job and I got to work with a great team, I overlooked a few things that may have been obvious to someone else who had more knowledge and experience of how cafes in run. I didn’t realize how tough the job could get sometimes, when you have customers non stop from about 6am- 9am, ordering coffee. It can literally be a busy 3 hours of serving coffee every morning. Very quickly I became an anti-coffee person.

Fast-forward to 2015; working in a coffee shop was not for me so I switched to something that was a little more in tune with my skills and landed a job in retail. Working with fashion does not feel like work to me, although I must admit sometimes it does get a little demanding and draining but when it’s your passion, you will always get up and do what you gotta do without dreading it so much.

Reverting back to the hospitality industry,I came across a man who really got my attention with how he runs his coffee shop. His name is Brendan Harris and he is the owner of “Cafe on The Goodwill Bridge.” I don’t normally rave about coffee or coffee shops as you would have probably guessed. However, Brendan deserves all the praise there is when it comes to ensuring that even if you don’t like coffee, you are bound to be impressed by his vibrant personality, fashion and style. He has had a profound impact on many of his customers, beyond selling a cup of coffee or a sweet treat from the cakes and pastries made by his wife. He has had people from different walks of life come to his cafe.

Cafe Owner: Brendan Harris Photocreds: Joshua Martoo
Cafe Owner: Brendan Harris Photocreds: Joshua Martoo

During the G20 when most shops were closed, the cafe was open and served coffee to a few by-passers and dignitaries. The list of people he served during this world event included; Treasurer Joe Hockey, and the executive director of Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima. After the G20, his cafe continued to welcome more people with one of my highlights being the recent visit from Channel 7’s ‘Morning Show’ crew.

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Photocreds: Joshua Martoo | Celebrity Coffee Morning with Channel 7’s ‘Morning Show’ crew

Even future Prime Ministers stop by to say hello.

Just a few weeks before he became the new Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stopped by the cafe for a ‘Double Espresso’ or two with his wife Lucy Turnbull.

(Right) Australian First Lady: Lucy Turnbull | (Middle) Australian Prime Minister: Malcolm Turnbull | Cafe Owner: Brendan Harris
(Right) Australian First Lady: Lucy Turnbull | (Middle) Australian Prime Minister: Malcolm Turnbull | Cafe Owner: Brendan Harris

In my experience, Brendan’s cafe is more than just about coffee. It is a small community of people who have different stories to tell. It also brings people together and through his efforts, Brendan has created a fun environment on the Goodwill Bridge for people to stop by, on their way to a busy day at uni or work. On the subject of uni, one of the boys that Brendan works with named Harry is off to Germany. As a little sendoff Brendan asked a few of his customers who had made an impact on Harry’s time not only at uni, but also work; to collectively give him something special. Brendan explained “the short of it is, that approximately 60 people turned up early on a Sunday morning, and collectively as a little gesture amounted a considerable amount of Euro that was to go towards his first month of coffee purchases whilst studying in Germany…We collected enough for the first year I think.” I’m sure when Harry is in Germany having  coffee, he is bound to think about home and his old work at Brendan’s cafe.

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Photocreds: Joshua Martoo

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