Dining in Surfers Paradise is a bit like reaching into a bag of liquorice allsorts – there are some dark grungy places, some that promise more than they deliver and others which prove to be pleasant surprises.
Trying to find a good coffee can be like reaching into the bag blindfolded. So the opening of ESPL at the foot of the ritzy Soul building puts great coffee in full view, in the heart of Surfers and directly across from the beach.
ESPL’ s a hole in the wall shop, with room only for coffee and a few well-chosen grocery items: Farmer Jo muesli, Bahen chocolate, Larsen & Thompson teas, Daylesford & Hepburn organic juices and sparkling water, Jacqueline Evans hand soap, a few freshly baked nibblies, and of course great Arcade coffee by the cup or bag.
Originally opened under the banner of Blackboard Coffee (Varsity Lakes) but now operating with different owners, it’s quality beans and roasting, but a different blend; seasonal produce treated with respect. It’s some of the smoothest coffee we’ve tasted, lush and creamy, and you can request it how you like it – filtered, to your preferred temperature, even aeropressed, served in three sizes in china or fully compostable, biodegradable cups.
As I enjoy my coffee in the winter sun, there’s a reptile show engaging the tourists in the arcade behind me. When it finishes, a family group drifts past, their language feral and abusive, echoing through the arcade without even a glance at the smart little café.
It seems that you can bring good coffee to the people, but you won’t win them all. Like I said, life’s like a bag of liquorice allsorts…
4 Esplanade, Surfers Paradise Ph: 0427 877 813
420 Queen St. Brisbane CBD
280 Adelaide St. Brisbane CBD