A serious business: Mildura drinkers prepared to cough up for good coffee

CAFFEINE lovers around Mildura are well grounded in their coffee routine no matter what the price.

The cost of a cuppa averages $3.50 in Mildura, $3.35 in Melbourne and $3.43 in Adelaide but it seems nothing will deter coffee drinkers from getting their daily fix.

At Stefano’s Cafe Bakery, owner Mario Mammone said Mildura’s approach to coffee had changed over 28 years.

“When I first started making coffee, I was 15 years old in the old days at the Grand Hotel and we developed a Pizza Cafe.

“In those days, coffee was mainly drunk after theatre at night when everyone came in to finish off their night.

“But, now, coffee is huge in Mildura in the morning and a lot of people drink coffee in Mildura.”

The passion was palpable as Mr Mammone spoke of the entire experience of coffee drinking.

“People need to understand what coffee means before they understand what it does,” Mr Mammone said.

“It’s like hopping into a good car, you feel that leather around you and you drive it fast – it just gives you a rev in the morning.

“Everyone finds their little unique place where they will have their coffee to taste in Mildura – some coffees are bitter, some are creamy and some are nutty.

“It’s like a good bottle of wine or chardonnay – if you like it, you’re going to stick to it.

“It’s more than just a drink, it’s the bada-bing and the bada-boom and it’s also about finding a place where you want to go to and see the staff and your friends.”

Similarly, Grinders Coffee Town Cafe owner Gavin Dunbar said: “It’s the quality of the service – having a good laugh and delivering prompt service with a smile.”

Latte-sippers even flock to Mildura’s Fine and Sunny gift shop where co-owner Annie Colling said customers relished the coffee as a “nice social activity”.

“Our coffees and sweet treats are made with love,” she said.

“We get a lot of ‘yummy mummies’ and offer organic fair trade coffee.”

Cafe Ninety4 co-owner Strator Karallis said people were “sick of kettled hot water”.

“Coffee is massive now – people are very specific about what they want,” he said.

“And it’s more than just a cappuccino these days – it’s a quarter-strength decaf soy,

“It’s part of people’s daily routines – business people in the mornings and older people in the afternoons.”

This article appeared in Monday's Sunraysia Daily 7-5-2012.

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