Get the coffee right and the rest will take care of itself!
So we are a coffee loving family who also love to go off grid on holidays. Good coffee is easy when you have 230v power and the Breville Dual Boiler making your brew, but once off grid it gets trickier. The inverter can power the grinder so no probs there, but then its a case of choosing which method you prefer. I don’t mind the aeropress and the like, I can get by with a stovetop or even a plunger, but last year my Christmas present was a Bellman CX25P, the duck’s nuts of stove tops where (so the Youtube clip says) you can get a great shot of coffee and also manage to texture milk.
So I’ve probably made 12 coffees this trip with the Bellman and here are my thought in case you’re heading down that path.
- There is a learning curve – you will need to make at least 5 or 6 coffees before what you have is barely acceptable! Even then you will still get the odd failure and the odd fluke that is brilliant but you are not able to repeat.
- You wouldn’t do this at home as is takes a lot longer – think 7-10 minutes to make a flat white.
- Dosing and quantities are an issue. I use the ‘6 shot’ size because I like it strong, but still haven’t got consistency with what I produce – partly because there is no tamper and its painful trying to tamp coffee with your fingers or a spoon.
- You can get a good coffee – occasionally even as good as from the machine – but its tricky to master.
- It’s hard to stop the ‘spluttering’ that occurs when you release the coffee.
- I think most people would give up on using this method before mastering. I know I almost did. Danelle reckons its not worth the effort.
- The set up and clean up is way more than with the machine. Think coffee grinds everywhere.
- I will be making a tamper when I get home. I think that will solve the issues for the most part.
- For $250 its a very nice product – if you can be bothered. I will be keeping mine, but only because I don’t want to be beaten by it!
The reality is that you can get a good coffee in almost every country town these days. There is generally a little boutique cafe that uses good beans and actually knows their stuff – like this little beauty in Kulin called ‘Acres of Taste’. Kulin is better known for its massive waterslide (true story), but this place does great coffee and sweet treats. Ravensthorpe also makes a good coffee at the BreadnButter Bar.
Moving on from the Porongorups, we were Albany bound, but neither of us wanted to stay in town, so it was a quick visit to the much loved Gourmandise Cafe for lunch and a bit of shopping for the essentials before heading out to Cosy Corner campground for the night. We were there along with what looked like a few folks who were doing it tough and living rough. You can stay for free for up to 7 days, so it looked some were saving on rent by living in the bush.
We only stayed a night before leaving for Denmark where we met up with darling daughter Ellie, who was camping out with 15 or so mates.
Denmark has always held a magical place in my imagination since surfing Ocean Beach as a kid. I remember wonderful summer days getting waves right off the headland and feeling like I was king of the universe because I was conquering these massive swells. The truth is more like I was able to catch tiny fat burgers and ride them to shore because I was a small twelve year old and I had a board that floated me like a boat!
While that may be the truth Danelle knows that any time we are in Denmark we have to ‘check’ Ocean Beach – even if its been over 40 years since I last saw waves there… Still the lure is there – (probably spurred on by the original 1966 Endless Summer)
Well this time was the trip that broke the drought!
A decent swell had been pushing thru and there were waves all around the coast and some great banks further around the bay. I sent the drone out for a reccy and spotted a main peak as well as a few others. The weather was looking nice to it was time to go and have some fun. As you can see the swell was solid and a heap of fun to actually get into!
So we hung around Denmark for 3 days, chilling, walking and surfing. The weather was surprisingly kind so I made the most of it while we were there.
On our final day, the Monday evening, we set out to the Denmark Tavern for dinner. As we entered another couple around our age did so at the same time. It was pretty packed and there were no tables free. I saw a family about to finish and asked if we could grab their table. All good.
So we went up to order and as I did I saw the other couple looking like they were going to have to eat outside where it was pretty chilly. I said ‘We have a couple of spare seats at our table – you can grab them if you like.’ thinking they will probably take the table and seat a small distance apart from us.
When I got back from ordering the tables were still together and Danelle was chatting with Kylie, while Frank looked a little like I felt… Are we really going to have dinner with complete randoms?… For the next 15 minutes we engaged in a level of conversation that affirmed we were within each other’s space, but we weren’t sure if we wanted to actually go the next step of actually connecting properly. Frank would look away when the conversation waned and I did similar – happy to be just table sharing. But the ladies continued to talk and before long we were caught up in it. It looked like we were going to be dinner company for each other.
The meals were slow to arrive – an hour had passed and now we were sharing life stories, parenting experiences, travel experiences and more. After two hours we had eaten, talked at length and we had actually discovered that we liked these people and they liked us. It was one of those serendipitous moments where you realise you have been fortunate to be in one another’s space. I imagine if we lived in Bunbury we would be friends with Frank & Kylie, but instead we shared a meal and moved on. As we stood to leave we introduced ourselves ‘I’m Andrew and this is Danelle – great to have shared dinner with you!’
‘Frank and Kylie – likewise.’
And so it ended as quickly as it began, but it was a beautiful experience – to share a table with complete strangers and to enjoy it thoroughly.
We left Denmark on the Tuesday bound for… well we couldn’t decide so we just began driving and loping along to see where we ended. It turned out that Crystal Springs Campground looked good. Just out of Walpole 15kms and run by DPAW, we were the only ones there, apart from some poor tenters. It was cold and the rain was kicking in. We went for a walk to the beach, but got rained off, did a bit of exploring, before the weather said ‘go home and stay warm’. Its a beautiful rugged part of the coast and on a nice day it would be great to look around.
At this point we really were wondering ‘where to from here?’ Neither of us wanted to head back to old familiar places like Margs or Busso, but what was out there that we hadn’t discovered? When you have travelled a lot in the south-west its tricky to find new places.
to be continued…