We’re starting to feel a bit like Dory. No matter how many times we try, we can’t seem to find LooLoo.
We know her coffee warehouse is in Kincumber but whenever we turn off at the Empire Bay Drive roundabout, we just can’t seem to place it. “11 Cochrane St… 11 Cochrane St…”
Until, one day, with a little help from a friend of LooLoo’s, we finally find it – inside the Kincumber Industrial Estate. Dah.
We’re so glad we found it.
With its retro formica tables and chairs, hessian stools, rustic bunting, giant Aussie flag, monstrous proteas in jars and a moose head on the wall, LooLoos Coffee Warehouse is just our kind of grungy, shabby chic cafe.
We feel instantly at home – and we haven’t even got to the coffee yet.
Owned by Macmasters Beach couple LooLoo and Instaurator – known as Inni – the warehouse is a mecca for coffee afficionados.
LooLoo is pedantic about making every coffee just right and Inni’s coffee credentials are off the charts.
Not only has he written a book about his coffee adventures – The Espresso Quest, a search for “God in an Espresso cup” – he has headed up the Australian Coffee Association and been Executive Director of the World Barista Championship and Danes Coffee.
During our visit, there’s Brazilian beans in the grinder and takeaway bags full of coffee from Peru to Panama and Malawi to Mexico.
In this Kincumber warehouse, one is not only guaranteed a good cup of coffee but can stock up on everything needed to make one at home including descalers, grinders and even machines – not to mention barista training.
We’re told it started as a giant man cave for Inni and his mate Mitch – both uber passionate about all things coffee – but the aroma of their coffee roasting started to lure punters in and before they knew it they were sharing their coffee blends with the outside world in exchange for some change in a jar.
It officially became a cafe five and a half years ago and to stock the vast space, they used a lot of their own furniture.
Between the retro furnishings, the assortment of bric-a-brac on the walls and shelves and sweet little touches like paperbacks on sale for charity, the warehouse has a vintage, op shop feel to it.
You’ll often find LooLoo or her son Dan behind the coffee machine, and Mitch still uses the space to test out coffee concoctions including using his latte art skills to create a special Coastal Chic coffee.
An award-winning homegrown coffee connoiseur, Mitch’s hot coffee tip for the summer is cold drip coffee (his Onyx brand is widely used in cool cafes and bars on the Coast) either on ice or with coconut water.
He’s also driving a push away from soy to coconut milk in flat whites, lattes and cappuccinos – it’s seriously amazing (and comes pretty close to God in a cup).
Coastal Chic Tip: To save you swimming aimlessly in search of LooLoos, here are some directions: turn into Cochrane St from the Empire Bay Dr roundabout and drive into the industrial centre on the left – you’ll find LooLoos opposite the Block and Tackle Brewery. LooLoo also has a coffee shack at Macmasters Beach.