mister jones at 7.3oam one morning a year ago.
Pete, River, Sol and I crept out of our sleeping friend's house to explore the local beaches and Bermagui township.
For those who haven't been to Bermagui, the postcard perfect coastline gives you much to be enchanted by. Throughout the seasons sun sparkles on the sapphire coloured water, Mount Dromedary stands strong across the bay and towering pine trees line the foreshore.
The town itself is changing. Until recently the fifteen or so shops have been about satisfying basic needs - butcher, baker, pub, post office, bait shop and so on - mister jones brings not only coffee worth driving a long way for but a welcome dose of character and originality.
Owner Matt Chun is a talented painter and illustrator who, as a traveller, wandered into town almost six years ago and noticed a for rent sign on a little shop window. A perfect place to paint.
Matt is also a coffee nut. "I always knew good coffee would need to happen to keep me in the town, so setting up to make coffee here was more to feed my own addiction. I thought I might make a couple of coffees a day for people coming to look at the art. And then the coffee took off," he says.
On the morning we visited we sat on cushion covered milk crates in front of the open shop windows and while waiting for our coffee, chai and hot chocolates we got chatting with locals. This is standard issue at mister jones. It is a meeting place.
"It's been a process getting people to step over their discomfort about coming into a place they're not used to. We don't do strawberry milkshakes and toasted sandwiches. The hippies were the first to embrace what I was doing here and then a tradie came in and realised the coffee was good, so then the tradies started coming in, and now it’s a diverse crowd," says Matt.
There's a buzz here that many city cafes would pay to have. I think part of what makes it work is Matt's clarity about what he will and won't do. Despite the small population and impact of the changing seasons on the economy here, Matt doesn't try to be all things to all people.
Coffee is the focus there's no grey area about that. Every coffee is a work of art, from the sourcing of the ethical, organic beans, directly-traded with small roasters to the local jersey milk and the collection of vintage French glass, and handmade ceramic crockery - no detail is overlooked.
A brief breakfast menu offers exceptional local sourdough bread toasted and served with butter and jam, granola with yoghurt and stewed fruit, organic porridge with poached pear and honey or a green smoothie of almond, banana and wild greens.
mister jones opens at 7am and closes at noon. Originally the noon closing time was so Matt could paint in the afternoon. The business has grown to the point where Matt hired fellow coffee afficionado Mikey which means Matt is no longer chained to the coffee machine.
I took these photos and interviewed Matt last year when we were there. I know, it has taken me a long time to share them! Last month when we visited again we saw that mister jones has spilled over to the shop next door. It seems the love for what's on offer here continues to grow...
mister jones espresso bar + open studio + drawing workshop + performance space
4 bunga street bermagui
Have you been to mister jones? Tell us your favorite country/coastal town cafe worth driving a long way for.