20th May 2014
The Murray in her northerly curves - motionless twilights and able and early galahs are memories of child hood and teenage years. The stillness of the Riverland and raging red rays of sun, the backdrop to silhouetted gums and fence line. Such impressions remained in memory and photograph for the next several years, where concrete, traffic light and too much sound prevailed. As the huge appeal of such memorable city things did lose its appeal, I found myself in the quaint and quiet seaside town of Robe - roasting coffee and working on my South Australian accent.
Robe ticked every box for four years, where my 22 years of age saw the turn of 26. I found some amateur writing and surfing feet and the owners of feet whom I have made life long ties with in the particularly small community of young people by the sea. I found a companion with pawed feet who appreciates the ocean, beaches and harmonic sound as I.
One more human male kind of companion became an intimate part of my existence somewhere there too. He has cemented some of my suspicions of living ingredients. I think we are doing a fine job at the recipe of just that together now.
Curiosity killed that of the contentment I had with my night shift working with the beans by the sea in Robe. Particularly at the time of departure from my work at Mahalia Coffee, I was in search of neighbouring coffee roasting techniques and new inspiration in philosophy and routine with the crafting the bean. That which I could not find for quite some time.
The work and leisure in between, in a turn of times was one of such memory and experience, I often wish to rewind the tape to perform the six months perhaps once more. Working behind the coffee machine at the Robe Providore with Anthony and Evelyn proved to be reminiscent of my commencing working days in Robe. Pumping out pounds of ‘Willy’ lattes and devouring Anthonys Cinnamon Scrolls helped the jean girth in never feeling flaccid.
Evenings in the musty, creaky floored booths of the Caledonian Inn – Robe, kept the night owl in me happy – bringing to the mouths of many the plethora of Limestone Coast, Coonawarra and Mt Benson, working alongside Simon Burr as the wonderful Chef he is, as his ‘floor’ partner in far from crime. Making cheese there, to cellar in the furry feeling, damp cellar beneath the hotel. Precision and patience that would be tasted months later.
The call I had anticipated but could never have predicted found its way. The voice of a curly brunette, Bernadette Stack greeted me with a request to meet! Delighted, excited and relieved at once. The pleasure of meeting the De Groot Coffee Co team on Magill Rd Adelaide upon return was the start of what I had imagined would come my way. I started the following week in a small and ethically considerate Coffee Roastery and haven’t glanced back.
For a number of months Simon and I made the drive along the addictively pungent Coorong from Robe to Stepney, weekly. I continued tamping out the ‘Willy’s’ at the Robe Providore each weekend as Simon managed the Calledonian Inn over the road. Sundays, the leisurely drive back to the land of city noise was an enjoyable one, as we both eased into our city work week of pleasant difference. So different our lifestyles became as we gravitated to that, where I happily roasted the coffee bean once again and Simon worked for ‘South Australian Research & Development Institute’ from 9 til 5. (“Fantastic chef hours” he says). I felt closer to the café and restaurant culture I adore, markets and galleries and music I appreciated greatly for the time we were so near to such things. To sip a latte in a buzzing corner café and sketch or write and be anonymous was freedom from being known by most in a small town like Robe. As much as I miss the proximity and care I felt in Robe, the space of being anonymous for an independent sort like I has been a wonderful thing.
‘De Groot Coffee Co’, Magill road days were over as the De Groot family desired the lifestlye of the coast. Port Elliot became the new residence for the Roastery in a factory space on Hill st.
With the change of location for work and the approaching need to move from Simons fathers house in Stepney, the maps were out and rentals the agenda. Simon had always desired to live in the Fleurieu Peninsula with her rolling hills, green growth, vines of wines and produce. The proximity to town and the coast to roast gave the area bright green lights of approval for both of us. East terrace, Strathalbyn we found.
That is where I am and how I come to be in a fortunate time and place, such as now.