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Her Coffee series: Nookie Espresso Bar—redefining café culture

Alexandra Abbott

With exponential growth in the culture, arts and food scene of Canberra, we’ve become quickly overwhelmed with choice, cuisines and the hottest new trends in foodie culture.

However, one café is taking things back to the basics and its refreshing return to tradition cuts against the grain of mainstream ‘hipster havens’ making it a new focal point for coffee. Nookie Espresso Bar has been open a mere five months, but this cafe in the Civic CBD has quickly established itself as a hot new location.

Husband and wife, Nam and Liv, set up Nookie in June seeking to put their own touch into a café utilising their extensive experience in hospitality, including managing Canberra stalwart Gus’ Café as their foundation to grow upon. They opened up Nookie to offer simple, great coffee and tantalising donuts. And they are truly hitting the high notes. Demand for their coffee continues to grow as word spreads and donuts are usually sold out by mid-morning.

Liv and Nam are a friendly, down to earth team with their happy demeanour greeting customers, making everyone feel like friends. And with just the two of them, they really seek to get to know their regulars and create a community feeling. Speaking to Liv, you immediately feel her warmth as she explains it’s not all about the profit for them, but rather about serving honest coffee and helping to support local businesses in their own endeavours.

At Nookie, they often give coffees to those who are less fortunate, demonstrating their generosity perfectly. They seek to support and promote local businesses and artists, even at a cost to them.

The décor of Nookie is eclectic and cool, with knitted quilts, wooden chairs and macramé by a local artist, whose talent Liv speaks highly of. The macramé itself highlights how incredible this artist is and adds the perfect ambience to the ‘nook’ setting.

Editor's Note: Nookie do a beautiful chai too—a delightful experience perfect with a good book in hand or someone lovely to share it with. 

Editor’s Note: Nookie brew a beautiful chai too—a delightful experience perfect with a good book in hand or someone lovely to share it with.


Liv and Nam also use biodegradable cups not only to help the environment but also to support local, emerging artists by placing an art series on them. There is a new art series every three months and this small gesture is a great way to help and give everyone opportunities to further themselves.

And it is hard to disagree.

This couple is so hard working and will always go the extra mile. It is overwhelmingly refreshing to meet people like this in such a competitive and evolving industry.

The coffee and doughnuts

Coffee and donuts reign supreme at Nookie.

The coffee served is smooth and delicious and reflects how important taste is to Nam and Liv, who searched for the right kind of beans and the company she wanted to use eventually deciding on the Blacksmith Coffee Roasters in Wollongong. Blacksmith supplies and roasts the beans, which are delivered fresh to Canberra weekly.



While chatting with Liv, we had the Blacksmith Honeycomb blend and it tasted amazing. This blend uses Colombian, Guatemalan and some Brazilian and Ethiopian beans processed with honey. Each origin is roasted separately to bring out individual characteristics and is then post blended. This produces a beautiful sweet stone-fruit aroma with honey and coffee blossom notes, and a very creamy taste. This is a perfect ‘all-rounder’ blend, with a good body and flavour to complement milk and the right amount of sweetness to be enjoyed black (so it suits all coffee types!).

Nookie Doughnuts


The donuts are a popular feature of Nookie and have caught on the resurgence of donuts as a foodie trend, (you may have also had a taste at The Forage earlier this year). But Nookie stands out for two reasons.

First, Nam and Liv bake their fresh donuts daily—at their home. This makes their donuts not only delicious, but you can taste the care that has gone into making these indulgent treats. Second, Nam and Liv serve up a mix of both the classics like the old favourite…the cinnamon donut (who can go past that!) and more experimental flavours such as Green Tea, Maple Bacon or even a Milo donut! Their Earl Grey and Vanilla is divine and very popular and according to Liv it is a must try.

Who can go past a coffee and donut right?

The new project: The Hamlet on Lonsdale Street

Nookie Espresso Bar is also expanding as part of a new venture called The Hamlet on Lonsdale Street. Opening this Wednesday, this urban village and food market will be a haven for Canberra foodies where you can try a bit of everything, from Broddogs to local farmer’s fresh produce; a potential barber and gentleman’s tailor, to the delightful donuts and coffee by Nookie!

chasing mr morris


Nam and Liv have been decking out a retro van (Mr Morris) to serve up their coffees and donuts, creating a cool vibe to this foodie venue. This village will reinvigorate the old food trucks that you see in the movies and be an awesome place for all ages. The great, diverse mix of local businesses, its family friendly vibe and good food means The Hamlet is an exciting new place to watch out for and it’s all right in the heart of Braddon.

The essentials

The place: Nookie Espresso Bar
Where: 4A/148 City Walk, Garema Place Civic
When: 7.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday
Web: Find Nookie on Facebook

Alexandra Abbott

A student originally from Sydney, Alexandra is studying Commerce/Law at the ANU and is what we like to call a bit of a Coffee Connoisseur. When she's not working as a waitress at one of Canberra's restaurants, Alexandra enjoys playing Netball, hanging out with friends, soaking up and exploring Canberra's cultural arts scene and of course, enjoying a cup of coffee somewhere around town! More about the Author