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Adelaide's coffee boom hits East End laneways

Monday, 12 August 2013
Author: Melissa Mack, Indaily
Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily

Photo: Nat Rogers/InDaily
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There's a caffeine rush in back streets of Adelaide's East End, as high-end operators converge on the city's newest cafe hot-spot.

If Bar 9 and one of London's most revered coffee bars, Workshop, had a love child, chances are it may turn out something like Exchange Coffee.

The specialty coffee bar, with a clean sleek design, moved into Vardon Avenue, just off Rundle Street, last month, already drawing a following from local coffee lovers.

Exchange joins the recently opened East End Providore, Hey Jupiter, Sad Cafe and Nano in the buzzing back streets of the city's east, which is threatening to take over from Rundle Street as the area's main coffee destination.

Adding to the influx of new cafes, the Big Table from the Adelaide Central Market is set to open on Union Street later this year, with another prominent coffee chain planned for Vardon Avenue opposite Exchange.

Meanwhile on Rundle Street, iconic cafe Alfresco's remains on sale for $445,000.

Exchange owner and barista Tom Roden, who studied a bachelor of media before coffee became his passion, believes he offers something different.

"Most cafes have a focus on food and also sell coffee, but I want to flip that around and focus on the coffee and sell food to match", he says.

Speciality coffee has taken off in Adelaide since Bar 9 opened in Glen Osmond. Roden worked with Ian Callahan at Bar 9 while leading up to the opening of Exchange, following a stint in London with Workshop.

"[At Workshop] we wanted to encourage engagement between client and baristas; the reason my bar is so clean with nothing to hide behind is because it opens it up for interaction.

"When you go to the bar you place the order with the person that will make the drink, most places you order with someone who has nothing to do with the process and that's open to misconceptions, mistakes and I just want everyone to have a broad understanding and knowledge of the coffee."

Exchange stocks coffee from Melbourne's Market Lane, which comes with a handy tasting card describing the flavours of the roast and where it comes from.

Despite the building competition in the East End, Roden thinks there is still room for everyone.

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