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First look: The Coffee Grounds UC

Tess Parisotto

Not that long ago, university students would be more concerned with where to get a cheap beer than a great cup of coffee…but the times they are a changin’.

Last week the University of Canberra welcomed The Coffee Grounds, the specialty coffee destination that ANU has already been enjoying since early last year.  I sat down with owner, Arthur Choi, during their official launch to get the lowdown.

“We are known for the best coffee on campus at The ANU and want to bring this to The University of Canberra. We’ve had a big couple of years with growing The Coffee Grounds and now we’re looking for expansion.”  Taking The Coffee Grounds to UC is the next step in what Arthur hopes will be the start of a national push.

“When we started The Coffee Grounds we didn’t just want to build a café; we wanted to create a vibrant social ecosystem, built around our philosophy ‘that coffee is not just a drink but it is a perfect experience’. The Coffee Grounds is all about exploring the flavours of coffee and providing a unique atmosphere, where students, staff and coffee lovers can relax, work and just have plain fun.”

First impressions were promising. Set on the corner of Cooper Lodge, th­­e huge space is vaguely triangular and broken up into different seating areas. There’s a communal bench, a comfortable couch area running along the back wall (perfect if you want to settle in by yourself and smash out an essay), and free standing tables scattered throughout. It’s a great setting for both groups and individuals to sit down and study, and just as good as a place to unwind after a stressful school day.

About two thirds of the seating is actually outdoors, and there’s an outdoor amphitheatre, equipped with studio speakers and sound system to accommodate local musicians. At the launch, an amazing acoustic act provided some seriously chilled vibes. I sat and sipped my espresso listening to her sweet sounds and thought, ‘now this is a great coffee experience’. Add a glass of wine to the mix and I might never leave!

In addition to great music and atmosphere, Arthur believes you need a few other ingredients for that perfect coffee experience: quality equipment, good beans and flawless execution. Naturally then, The Coffee Grounds sourced the best equipment and his beans through Ona Coffee (renowned cafficionados).

The Coffee Grounds has three unique flavours to accommodate everyone’s tastes – a Single Origin blend ideal for black coffee, the Black Betty blend, best used for milk-based coffees, and a Seasonal blend which can be enjoyed as both a black or in a milk based coffee.

But it really comes down to technique. The baristas dose and extract the coffee correctly, weighing and timing every shot to ensure quality and consistency. Most importantly, all his staff are keen coffee lovers themselves and take it very seriously.

General Manager, Jamie Morris says that when it comes to getting the right people for the job, he looks first at their personality.

“Our staff are passionate individuals who are hungry for knowledge [and we want to help them] grow their expertise and ability within hospitality industry. It’s very important that our staff can engage with customers on a personal level”.

Thoughout the day I spotted a few familiar faces amongst the staff, recognising them from other cafés around town. It hammers home the fact that we have such a distinctive feeling of community in Canberra (where you can count on running into someone you know at almost every street corner). It also shows that Arthur has sought and built an experienced team for The Coffee Grounds.

But this place is not just about great coffee, they have a large range of affordable meal options  for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a quick snack to bolt down as you’re running to your next lecture. You’ll find the burger that has developed quite a following at ANU, salads and wraps as healthy option and muffins and other sweet treats.  And there’s more where that came from. Next year, Arthur plans to launch a decadent dessert menu with offerings that will satisfy the sweetest tooth—we’re talking  churros, waffles, ice cream, frozen yoghurt and more!

So, there’s great atmosphere, tasty coffee and friendly staff coupled with tasty, affordable food and generous portions—important to us uni students on a tight budget.

If you’re keen to check them out make sure you jump on their Facebook page first – there’s a $2 coffee voucher you can download, redeemable until Saturday 7 November. And come O-Week in the New Year there will be special birthday event, so keep your eyes peeled! Until then, enjoy the brews, the vibe and the people – it really is the best place on campus to get your coffee!

the essentials

What: The Coffee Grounds UC
Where: Shop 10, Cooper Lodge, Telita Street, University of Canberra, Bruce
Facebook: @The-Coffee-Grounds-UC

This is a sponsored post but opinions are the author’s own. It complies with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission’s guidelines on Online ReviewsRead our Sponsored Post Policy if you would like more information.


Tess Parisotto

Tess Parisotto is a 21 year old freelance writer and University student currently studying a Bachelor of Writing at the University of Canberra. Born and raised a Canberran, Tess loves her city and being a part of the Canberra community. She has a love for all things local, and is a self-confessed coffee nut, fiercely passionate about coffee and cafe culture in general. Follow @tessparisotto on Instagram for your daily dose of Canberra goodness and other pretty things. More about the Author

  • Chris Brennan

    Thanks for the compliments about the acoustic act!
    That was my girlfriend Afi A, I’ll pass the article on to her 🙂

  • Afi Ayup

    Oh wow! Thank you 🙂

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