Venturing along a popular Geelong alleyway, you will discover by chance ‘a spot for joe’. A bustling café named after the slang term for coffee, joe, and owned by Jared and Talya Cooper.
Residing in Geelong, the Coopers aspired to one day open their own place. When the moment unexpectedly presented itself, the couple ceased the opportunity. They wanted to bring to Geelong what they travel to Melbourne for. For most, the café’s space and location would have appeared too small and out of the way. “It seemed a bit awkward and unassuming, but we could see the potential and it’s charm.” says Talya. “We offer a sense of adventure and discovery, hence our minimal signage and lack of advertising. Everybody likes to have that little out of the way place that they discovered.”
A spot for joe is often described as the café with the cool mural. Setting the tone for the interior, is the 1970’s photograph of architect Richard Neutra’s house designed for Edgar Kaufmann in Palm Springs. Without a kitchen, due to lack of space, the menu is concise with coffee being the focus. Described as fresh café fare with a twist, the food offered is heavily influenced by the Cooper’s travels. The signature dish is their ‘avochoke smash’. A combination of avocado and artichoke with a tangy barrel aged feta and tomato served on toasted, locally made, La Madre seeded sourdough. And what about the coffee to marry with this tasty dish? “If you were a hard-core coffee aficionado,” says Jared, “a 50/50 long black with one of our single origin beans, something sweet and juicy such as the El Salvadorian La Fany. Or, if you are more partial to something with milk, a smooth flat white made with a blend would be perfect.”
Dukes Coffee Roasters supply the beans for ‘a spot for joe’. “We immediately knew Dukes was the roaster for us from the first coffee we had.” says Jared. “They are boutique, source premium beans and they roast them to perfection.” Jared chooses to use the iconic handmade espresso machine by Slayer. “It allows us to profile different beans with its use of independent temperature and pressure settings, enabling us to extract the best we can from the bean.” says Jared, “Plus visually, it is an amazing piece of design.” Jared’s knowledge for coffee is evident as you watch him brew every cup with full attention. His recommendations are the classic flat white or it’s hipster little brother affectionately referred to as ‘the magic’. A dopio ristretto poured flat white served in a smaller tulip style cup. Not forgetting the tea lovers, ‘a spot for joe’ offers a vast selection of loose leaf teas with delicious names from Tea Drop. All teas are hand plucked, hand sorted and hand blended. Jared offers some advice to those coffee drinkers with a habit for the same brew. “Make the most of the baristas knowledge and step outside your comfort zone.” he says. “Try something different as there is so much more to discover.”
A spot for joe offers something vibrant to the local, Geelong café scene. It is a creative space to be enjoyed and a meeting place that will stimulate the senses. Talya and Jared describe ‘a spot for joe’ as that little secret spot that you cant help but tell your friends about.