cosmopolitan country cafe culture brewing

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The surprise of the new century is the cosmopolitan cafe culture that seems to have percolated throughout Orange recently. It was still cups of Nescafe and shortbread creams last time I lived here more than 20 years ago.

Bill’s Beans set the pace in 2007, with a move from Sydney to open an espresso bar and bespoke coffee roaster in a converted butcher’s shop in East Orange – with roaring success. In March 2012 they opened their flagship roastery and espresso bar ‘Factory Espresso’ in Kite Street, with its murals and black tiles giving it a distinctly ‘Surry Hills-vibe’ in the big heart of a country town. Here’s a great blog article on the Bill’s Beans / Factory Espresso experience from A Food Story.

Byng Street Local Store appeared in 2011 – on Byng Street – with its Allpress espresso and toasted Turkish bread and sourdoughs and bull nosed verandah causing an excited stir on the scene. Find ’em on Facebook.

Sipping a latte surrounded by blossoms and blooms on Summer Street, just a puddle jump away from Cook Park in the centre of town, is a drawcard for Anything Grows Cafe – which also moonlights as a boutique garden nursery. These guys are very active on Instagram, check ’em out.

With an electric combination of Campos coffee and a recording studio, the Dotted Eight cafe also sprang into action in 2012, channelling a distinctive ‘inner city laneway’ ambience by tucking itself away up McNamara Street (corner of Summer Street, just up from Hotel Canobolas) which was previously only home to some second-hand shops and garbage bins. Much has been made about the emergence of this local contender, and it was declared the ‘best coffee in town’ by the online Orange Post

(ps: The Italian agrees these guys do a mean espresso shot, so if you’re going to drink it black shoot it down here. But we personally reckon it’s a toss up for ‘best coffee’ crown between Factory Espresso and Dotted Eight).

Like a wildfire bloom The Agrestic Grocer sprang up overnight in 2013. These guys make superior iced lattes and smoothies, seriously – and/or maybe I have a penchant for slurping stuff out of jam jars. Stop for coffee and lunch and then pick up some fresh farm produce before going home, I’ve got more info on a previous post on how to ‘live like a local’.

I’m also a big fan of The Lakehouse out at Lake Canobolas, ten minutes drive out of town – we drift out every Sunday just for the coffee. I gave it a plug in a previous post ‘lapping it up at the Lake’.

And then you’ve got marvellous Millthorpe, 15 minutes outside of eastside Orange with the The Old Mill cafe and The French Press. Locals in the know also make the short pilgrimage to Borenore 15kms west of Orange to show up for weekend breakfasts at The Borenore Store and brunches at The Old Convent, but that’s another story…

Enjoy, Kelly

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