Jutting out from the corner of Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis St, The Usual cafe boasts ample space out front for patrons to bask in the sunshine, hands cupped around steaming mugs. It is a freezing morning, so I beeline for a warm table inside. The first thing I notice is how at home the regulars feel here. They are chatting across the counter with the cafe team, pulling their loyalty cards from the magnets at the front. I spot a pulled pork benny making its way to a table and my mouth begins to water.
Siblings Bob and Emmy have been bringing good vibes, quality brews and a fun menu to Gungahlin since the end of 2021.
“We serve hot food now,” Emmy explains, “but when we first opened, the space had no kitchen. So from November until we built our kitchen in February, we were only doing coffees and pastry.”
The bold venture to open their first cafe was a response to the job insecurity that COVID unleashed through the hospitality industry. Emmy desperately needed job assurance so she created it for herself.
Bob and Emmy have had plenty of hospitality experience, having grown up working with their mum at Saigon Fresh. But Emmy says that she had never made coffees before opening The Usual.
“I never drank coffee before opening here,” she confesses with a laugh, “and the first time I learnt how to make coffee was three days before we opened!”
The drinks menu lists some unique offerings alongside all ‘the usual’ caffeinated drinks. A taro latte, a Thai milk latte which is a milk tea on steamed milk and sweetened condensed milk, or a Vice.
The Vice, Emmy explains, “is a Vietnamese iced coffee, a drip coffee where you can watch the coffee drip down over the sweetened condensed milk and then you pour it over the ice in your glass”.
I order a Vice, a Ted in Bed (the beverage that first caught my eye on Instagram) and a mixed berry white chocolate muffin topped with a cinnamon crunch.
I crack the muffin apart, and a satisfying steam of oven freshness escapes. Molten berries have eked their crimson hues into the muffin’s gorgeous golden crumbage. The tang of the berries balances the sweetness of the white chocolate. It has been a long time since I had a muffin for breakfast and it is filling enough that I opt not to order a savoury breakfast this visit.
Ted in Bed is an unassuming drink, looking in every way like a generous flat white. Ted arrives, glaring at me with latte art eyes and scrunched-up mouth. Then I notice the spoonful of cinnamon crumbs cradled in the saucer to sprinkle over the top. I am expecting something Starbucks-sweet, but Ted surprises me. Made with oat milk and Caramilk chocolate for good measure, Ted has a decadent salted caramel mocha feel. The best part is that this rich, lush coffee is not overly sweet. It is thick and smooth and yummy.
Last, but definitely not least, is the Vice. Although it is an iced coffee built with sweetened condensed milk, the Vice manages to be refreshing rather than sickly sweet.
After the coffee finishes dripping through the strainer, I make a bit of a mess pouring it over the ice and, for a moment, I fear all the ice will melt. But no! It is such a refreshing way to drink coffee! And the coffee hit is robust.
The Usual is located at 125 Gungahlin Pl in Gungahlin. It is open from 6:30 am to 3 pm on weekdays, and from 8 am to 2 pm on weekends. Follow The Usual on Facebook and Instagram to see mouthwatering images of their latest lunch offerings.
Original Article published by Michelle Taylor on Riotact.