Burleigh is a tight knit community of locals who love their coffee and the baristas who make it for them.
Cafe owner and barista Brodie Green is one of their favourites. Third generation in a family whose business is coffee distribution, Brodie made the decision to move away from the family business to set his own sail and follow his vision.
It was a move that not everyone understood.
“When I tried to leave the family business, someone close to me said I’d never amount to anything if I left,” he says, the pain still obvious. “But I had fallen in love with the ‘theatre of tea and coffee’, the roast and brew, the relationships that developed over the daily grind, and I wanted to follow my passion.”
Having clear ideas of the vibe he wanted to create, even if not the logistics, Brodie says, “I wanted something similar to a market atmosphere but more permanent; a place without the pressure, outlay and running costs that you have in a traditional café.”
In late 2018 he found just that, the tiniest space on the best street, a four-square metre former ATM spot on James Street, Burleigh, where he set up his coffee machine. Very quickly, Seadog became a favourite of the Burleigh coffee scene, brewing the same volume of coffee as many larger cafés.
Intrigued as to how Seadog’s popularity grew so quickly, I delve further, inquiring about coffee ‘tribes’ and how Brodie ensures that his coffee appeals to a range of coffee drinkers.
Taking a moment to gather his thoughts, Brodie replies: “The moment you try to please everyone is the time you get into trouble. Instead, I make coffee the way I think it should be.
Steve Jobs once said something like: ‘I will tell them what’s best and I will give them something they never thought existed.’”*
I smile, realising that he’s talking about being a ‘yardstick of quality’ rather than conforming to industry standards in a saturated market.
“We source our own beans from sustainable farms in Colombia, do a mild to medium roast so it’s not bitter, then age it for a week to ten days to let the flavour sink in. Historically, many Gold Coast cafés have used a much darker roast,” he adds.
“Great coffee is an experience from start to finish, walking in and being greeted properly, establishing rapport with the barista, and being served a great coffee,” Brodie says.
It’s the attention to detail that adds up to the whole: weighing the coffee for every cup, measuring it again after the pour, redoing the coffee if it is not correct…”
What it produces is one of the best coffees we’ve tasted (even on skim); a delicious creamy brew with a milo fudgy jam aftertaste. Even the decaf tastes very similar, Brodie assures me.
Brodie’s vision did not stop at one café. He saw the potential of making coffee in a permanent place in the park. After three years of negotiations with Burleigh Bowls Club, Seadog on the Park opened in January 2021.
“Burleigh Bowls Club is iconic,” says Brodie, “one of the busiest bowls clubs in Southeast Queensland.”
“In a way, the pandemic worked in my favour,” he says. “The club wanted to increase their membership base to include a more varied demographic. I presented the coffee shop as a way to get people into the space,” he elaborates, adding that the strategy has worked.
“It’s great,” says Graham, one of the Bowls Club members who stops for a chat while we are talking. “We’re all pretty chuffed about it.”
With tables and chairs set up under umbrellas along the wall at the end of the green, Seadog adjoins the Bowls Club’s outside bar, patrons entering from the pavement through Memorial Park via a gate in the fence.
What Seadog offers is fabulous coffee, made with your choice of organic cow or plant milks, cold-pressed juices and a small range of delectable treats to be enjoyed outdoors of our fabulous climate. It’s an enviable position to be in.
“This is my day, sitting outside talking to customers,” Brodie tells me. “I get to make coffee every day for the most amazing people in Burleigh.”
While the choice of the name ‘Seadog’ arose from a chance encounter, its meaning of ‘mariner, navigator, sailor’ is very applicable to Brodie’s story. He is an explorer with vision who set off on an adventure. Brodie’s voyages may not have been smooth, but he has reached destinations through dogged determination and persistence.
Not content to stay ‘land bound’, Brodie is about to embark on another leg on the journey; another adventure for us to share.
As Steve Job said: “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow know what you truly want to become.”
Seadog, Burleigh Bowls Club, Gold Coast Highway & 50 James St, Burleigh
Ph: 0403 334 399 Open: Mon – Sun 5.30am – noon
* Steve Jobs: “Some people say, “Give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do… People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.”