On a recent trip to Perth, our host Rusty Creighton promised a great coffee break during one of our outings and what he had in store surpassed even my exacting coffee-craving expectations. Yahava KoffeeWorks is an oasis that blends calm and caffeine, nestled among the vineyards of Swan Valley.
The coffee place overlooks a beautiful lake reflecting the fall colors of grape arbors that stretch out in all directions. A spacious lawn accommodates couples and families enjoying the scenery with their coffee.
Inside, Mark Lucas, our barrista, sets out small glasses and begins serving free samples of their best in-house roasts. His coffee interpretation includes countries of origin, roasting practices and a range of options for coffee preparations that I’ve never seen before. Since we’ve recently purchased a small coffee farm in Kona, I’m fully engaged by his low-key presentation.
Cold drip coffee is a bit “lemony,” sharp and good. Coffee syrup mixed with cold milk is creamy and delicious, but not my preferred beverage. The varied dark roasts and blends are excellent, slightly different and easily compared in this taste test. Mark is friendly and skilled in telling stories about coffee. He easily keeps four or five customers served at the same time without slighting anyone. We munch on chocolate covered coffee beans to clear our palates between tastes.
Mark interpreted the coffee options with no sales pitch at all. A giant coffee roaster looms behind him and other barristas bustle around the busy bar. During the brief conversation over the various tasters, we look around to see that there are places to purchase bulk coffee to take home, a freshly brewed cup to enjoy on the grounds (no pun intended), and a variety of coffee-related merchandise. Every wall of the large warehouse style building offered bulk coffee, brewing devices, coffee-flavored food products, coffee-themed clothing and snack items.
The experience shifted us from “sell me a coffee” to a slow stroll through their amazing store. We soon had French press travel cups for brewing on the road and coffee-flavored toffee bars, along with a piping hot “long black” (plain American-style) and “flat white” (black coffee loaded with milk) from the main counter. We relaxed and enjoyed the setting and rich coffee before driving up into the hills to check out some hiking trails.
Yahava KoffeeWorks goes way beyond a Starbucks or other experience economy shop. Like the best craft beer breweries, which offer tours and tasting in addition to sales, this place makes you feel at home with their setting while they interpret their products. By the time we left, it was perhaps the most expensive coffee break we’ve ever taken, but we are, even as we type this, enjoying coffee made with our new French press travel cups. The craft of the coffee interpreter at Yahava made our day.
– Tim Merriman