Samui Wining & Dining
Flat whites and long blacks

The Coffee Club – brewing a winning concept in Chaweng.

 

9The aroma of freshly brewing beans draws passers-by in along Chaweng Beach Road. Located near The Islander and across from the Cameron Hansen Gallery, Australian coffee group The Coffee Club, celebrates 23 years of serving up excellent coffee at locations across the Asia Pacific region.

    From the first store, which opened in November 1989 at Brisbane’s Eagle Street Pier, to more than 230 outlets throughout Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, China, Egypt, and Thailand, The Coffee Club has established itself as a leading coffee house, with a reputation for not only its coffee, but also its food and service.

      Years of roasting and percolating beans means that The Coffee Club knows their flat whites from their long blacks, and have enough variety to please the most ardent caffeine addict be it milder lattes or potent espressos. Classic cappuccinos are available as muggucinos, served as the name suggests in a mug, or for those with a sweet tooth, the melloccino topped with melting marshmallows. Ice-cream lovers can get their caffeine kick by enjoying an affogato – a dollop of premium ice-cream is added to classic doppio ristretto espresso. Liqueur coffees make a perfect way to wind down after dinner, and those steering clear of caffeine would do well to try the chai latte, a steamed milk with spiced tea.

        Breakfast lovers need not worry about sleeping late and missing out on their full monty, or eggs benedict – The Coffee Club serves their extensive breakfast menu all day. The not-so-hungry can choose from light meals such as cinnamon toast, French toast, muffins or croissants. Those that wake with a serious appetite after a night on the town, will be satisfied with choices such as the big breakfast, generously sized omelettes and breakfast wraps. The health conscious have not been forgotten, and will not break their diets by tucking into the lifestyle breakfast – Turkish bread, avocado, lean ham, poached eggs and mozzarella toasted and served with grilled tomato. Other lean options include granola muesli, and fruit plates.

        The Coffee Club believes in being socially responsible and now has the stamp of approval from UTZ Certified – one of the world’s largest coffee certification programs, which aims to set the world standard for socially and environmentally responsible coffee production and sourcing. Unlike other certified programs which require only 30 per cent of coffee beans to be grown using sustainable methods, the UTZ program offers customers the assurance that 90 per cent or more of the beans in every cup comes from a certified farm. What does this mean and why should the consumer care? UTZ Certified farmers are provided with education, tools and information to ensure they can negotiate a better price for their coffee. Their workers are treated with respect and receive access to housing, clean drinking water and health services. Enjoy that cuppa with a clear conscience as every bean is traceable from farm to factory.

       The group has expanded into five new Thai locations since opening its first store in the country in February 2009, and other than Chaweng, branches can be found in Phuket, Pattaya and Bangkok, including at Suvarnabhumi Airport. They describe themselves as 'modern Australian, with café dining' and their mission is to provide good food, great service and excellent coffee. The Coffee Club hopes to be the answer to the question, “Where shall we meet?” and after popping in to the Chaweng branch recently, one can see why this goal would be easy to achieve.

      The waiter was attentive and spoke good English. The omelette was packed with ham, tomato and mushroom and filled the plate. There is a trick to making a good cappuccino and mine arrived at the table steaming hot and topped with a thick milk froth. Around mid morning the restaurant started filling up with a mixed crowd of tourists looking to fuel up for the day, and locals grabbing a quick java on their way to work. Free Wi-Fi makes The Coffee Club an ideal spot to conduct a business meeting, or catch up on work away from the office politics, and there were a few tables doing just that.

      Browsing through the menu, several dishes tempted me to visit The Coffee Club again. Two ladies at the table next door were pleasantly surprised as their meal arrived - a pancake filled one plate, piled high with whipped cream and ice-cream and drizzled with maple syrup. Their breakfast wrap was equally well received and overflowing with scrambled egg, tomato, cheese, onion and lettuce.

      Light lunch options include gourmet salads and sandwiches, wraps, open toasted grills as well as classic fish and chips, and nachos topped with cheese, salsa, sour cream and guacamole.

      Young patrons are catered for too, which is a good thing, because if the little ones are content, mum and dad can enjoy their meal in peace. Fettuccine bolognaise, chicken nuggets and chips as well as pint sized portions of eggs on toast or fish and chips are a few of the choices available. The Coffee Club has three types of establishment: a coffee kiosk, a Club store that offers light meals and snacks, or, like the Chaweng branch - the fully-licensed, extended-hour Café Bar Restaurant. This means that a substantial dinner menu is available, and The Coffee Club Chaweng makes a good place to meet friends in the evening. Generous bowls of pasta are served with variations such as chicken carbonara, spicy bacon and basil fettuccine and for vegetarians, the roasted vegetable pasta.

      Thai classics are well represented too, with authentic versions of fried pork with basil, beef massaman, pad Thai and somtam (spicy papaya salad) to mention but a few.

      With so many choices available down Chaweng Beach Road, why choose The Coffee Club? From our experience, they are meeting their mission statement and providing good food, great service and excellent coffee. Add to that a casual yet sophisticated modern setting and you have a winning concept. Serving 40 million coffees annually in their 280 cafés across the Asia Pacific, there is no doubt that The Coffee Club knows how to serve a good brew.

 

Rosanne Turner


 


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