Brightbird Espresso is more than a cafe: it’s a community hub that deals in every element of coffee, from the pouring of lattes through to barista training and take-home beans and gadgets.
Mark and Katrina Brightwell are partners in life and in business, with a combined passion for the hospitality industry. The birth of their first child spurred on a double decision: a move from Melbourne to Warrnambool and a desire to make their mark on the region. They saw a gap in the local market for carefully produced coffee so set out to open their own venture. The first step? Finding a coffee roaster who met their expectations. They teamed up with Nathan Johnston from Cartel Coffee Roasters, who looks after all of their bean needs.
Mark is a coffee aficionado and wanted to ensure he was sourcing sustainably grown and ethically traded coffee. Cartel Coffee Roasters turned out to be the perfect fit as Nathan forms direct relationships with each of his farmers. The coffee is traceable right back to the farm, and growing families and communities are fairly remunerated for their product.
At Brightbird, Cartel Coffee Roasters’ Chief Rocker is the house blend. It’s a consistent crowd pleaser, with a sweet and complex palate that holds up well when blended with Jersey milk, which is sourced from local friends at Sungold. Alongside espresso, Brightbird also offers V60 and cold brew.
In continuing to spread their love of coffee, Mark and Katrina provide an extensive retail range, with everything from beans to hand grinders, V60s, Keepcups and Mörk hot chocolate. They also offer barista training for both home enthusiasts and professionals, ensuring you get the most of your brew.
All of this coffee action happens in a vibrant space where murals commissioned by local artist, Ella Webb, line the walls. An upstairs loft space has been converted to a yoga studio, music venue and art gallery, where Katrina encourages local artists to exhibit.
Admire what’s on show while perusing the menu. The food offering features simple and delicious fare, ranging from n’duja and local Shaw River mozzarella toasties to house-made waffles with blueberries and candied pecans. Hearty soups, corn fritters, and beef bourguignon will satisfy hungry bellies at lunchtime. You’ll also be able to sample cult-favourite donuts, croissants and sourdough bread by local pastry chef Jane Dough.
The Brightbird concept also extends beyond its four walls. Mark is a fixture in the local community, appearing at the Fresh Market near the foreshore on the first and third Sunday of every month to ensure marketgoers don’t miss out on their daily fix.
With such a bright community spirit, it’s no wonder that Brightbird attracts a wide clientele. It’s a great spot to indulge all your coffee desires and learn that little bit more about where your beans come from.