There’s a place at the end of a cul-de-sac, beyond the road skiddies that the big boys left in their cars, that is a coffee mirage in a concrete jungle. Just off the highway at Gateshead, The Box Espresso Bar still shows all the classic signs of a gym junkie’s post-workout hang, but it’s so much more than that now thanks to friendly barista owners David and Luke. The place smells awesome with My 3 Sons candles and has a lot of heart.
Barista Dave wears his coffee heart on his sleeve (literally), sporting a Josie Coffee Roasters hoodie, which is almost like the Colonel giving away his secret recipe. But it makes sense; the Josie brand is becoming synonymous with good coffee and cafes with fresh new vibes, so it’s a perfect fit.
At The Box we all sang praise for the coffee, with a mellow, smooth-criminal roast being served to the weary weekend kinds. There are eight gyms in the area and loads of tradies, so on a weekday it’s abuzz with people; the weekend, however, is quieter, more suited to those who get out of bed before midday and post-kids’-sports bean pickup to get you through to Monday.
Fresh eggs, cheap as chips at $5 a dozen, sit by the counter, and you can get those too for your omelette. The F45ers (google it) will be familiar with the pronuts and zesty kombucha, but the raw caramel slice and toasties were fantastic accompaniments to a latte or two for us uninitiated folks.
If, like us, you obsess over the full coffee sensory experience, come prepared with your own travel mug or reusable coffee cup, as it’s all paper cups here. Good news is you'll get a 50c discount, which counts in this day and age, especially if you love your smashed avo too.
Luke showed us all the specs of carrying the Josie Coffee name – such as an aptly named leveller called the O.C.D., which follows the weighing of every grind to suit the changes in atmosphere, when you think you're getting the same dose from the flick of the grinder lever but you're totally not. It’s scientific and we love it. Such attention to detail ensures the perfect cup every time, and with the warm friendliness of David and Luke, you should skip the gym and go straight here. Tell them the Snobs sent you.
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