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The good beans on 38 Espresso

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Last month, we shared some of the happenings on the Kingston Foreshore – quickly establishing itself as a new dining precinct. While some businesses have been trading for a few months, new ones (like Max Brenner) are just popping up now. A quick walk around on a Saturday morning reveals a vibrant community enjoying one of Canberra’s rare waterside dining locations.

One of the businesses already enjoying a loyal following is 38 Espresso. I spoke with one of the owners, Nick, about the inspirations behind this unique coffee boutique, and he even revealed an exclusive insight into the future of coffee on the Foreshore.


38 Espresso is run by brothers Nick and Ryan, along with their father AJ. The idea for the business first sprang to life with an opportunity to buy a friend’s coffee shop several years ago; and although they just missed out on that venture, the ‘seed was sown’. There began the trio’s two year quest to find the perfect location for their own business…enter Kingston Foreshore!

So why ’38’? 

Nick revealed 38 is a significant number for his family, regularly appearing throughout several generations: first on trucks in his great grandfather’s brickyard; then again on his grandparents’ door; and again on the house his parents built and still live in today. Nick hopes the number will bring as much luck to the business as it has to his family.

The fitout

Nick described the decor as “chilled out industrial” which reflects the owners’ personalities and the warm hospitable environment they wanted to create. Nick designed the shop, Ryan created the colour schemes and AJ undertook most of the construction – so you can be sure there is passion in this business. Even the coffee machine oozes character, shipped all the way from the coffee capital…Italy!


But what about the coffee?

Nick is passionate about coffee. Trained by the boys at Lonsdale St Roasters several years ago, he was determined to find the perfect blend for 38 Espresso.

The Boardwalk Blend is specifically designed for 38 Espresso by Blacksmith Roasters in Wollongong; however, Nick says that the coffee will continue to develop. “Coffee is organic, you have to change with it… it’s a living breathing product and we will continue to adapt to it,” he said.

Nick also revealed they would soon be introducing an elite quality blend usually reserved for expensive establishments. “We will start to do some single origin coffee that will be very impressive and available for everyone to enjoy locally,” he said.

Is it locally focused?

The core philosophy of this business is local – even the wall space is open to local artists as a showcase. Nick said photographers, painters, sketchers etc. are welcome to use the walls of 38 Espresso to display their work as both an artistic expression and a possible source for sale… and all for free!

“We wanted to do something for the local talents of Canberra.. it also keeps our walls organic and changing,” he said.


What about when the competition moves in?

Nick had a great attitude about the businesses soon to be filling up the empty shops of Kingston Foreshore.

“I don’t see anyone as bad competition,” he said. “The more people here, the better it is for everyone…competition is always good – it makes you better.”

Future Developments?

Nick revealed some exclusive details about the future of 38 Espresso… with the introduction of a unique range of products and a possible second location, it is sure to be an exciting time for the trio, and for the customers who choose to enjoy its tranquil and chilled setting.

Nick said they would bring a European style and quality to 38 Espresso, such as seasonal selections of locally sourced fruit and vegetables, gourmet cheeses, meats and refillable milk bottles.

“We are trying to bring it back to the European style of every morning going to get your bread and milk.. where everything is always fresh and of good quality, and enjoying the environment in which you do things, instead of just getting stuff done,” he said.

“We also want to support local people in their product”.

Spending time with Nick, Ryan and AJ it is clear to see they are not only passionate about quality coffee and excellence in customer service, but they actually care about the enjoyment of each customer that visits their shop and choose to spend time within their “big family.”

“We want 38 Espresso to be a place for everyone to come…a big family,” he said.

I’m already feeling the love.

Photography: Jonathan McFeat Photography 

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