There’s a fantastic coffee waiting for you a few streets back from the main drag at Cronulla, and it’s well worth the trip.
Grind Espresso has the feel of a trendy but grungy back lane cafe somewhere in Melbourne, but is located just one block from the beach. It’s a long-standing feature of the Cronulla landscape, having opened back in 2002. Richard Calabro owns the business and his sister, Donna Rella Calabro, manages it – it’s a family affair. They’ve been pioneers of boutique espresso in Cronulla for all these years, and are still going strong.
There’s a fantastic community feel to Grind Espresso. To see that you need look no further than the large collection of photographs of dedicated customers who take photos of themselves on their travels to wild and wonderful places, with signs exclaiming ‘I’d rather be at Grind’! It’s a lovely touch, and testament to what an important part of the community Grind Espresso is.
You’ll find all and sundry at Grind – tradies, gym junkies, seniors, swimmers, corporates, musicians, artists and surfers – a real Cronulla cross-section.
Richard grew up hanging out at his Mum’s cafe, which was where his love affair with coffee started. He’s a firm lover of espresso, finding joy in trying different origins and distinguishing the different tastes from each. Richard takes his fascination with coffee seriously, with a 300+ piece collection of antique coffee memorabilia and equipment, some of which lines the walls of the cafe. He loves alternative brew methods, offering cold drip, vintage lever, Turkish coffee and pour over, alongside the ever-popular espresso.
Single Origin Roasters were the first coffee company Richard felt truly understood what he wanted and needed in his signature house blend. They devised a blend he was happy with, the GRIND blend, which has changed with the times, but has always had a Colombian base, blended at different ratios with Ethiopian and Sumatran beans. Expect a big caramel base with hints of berries on the notes, and a chocolate aftertaste.
Grind Espresso has been a Sydney Morning Herald 3 Cup Winner for three years in a row. As well as the house blend, you can expect to see coffee from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Brazil, Bolivia, Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico and even Australia here.
All sorts of curiosities hang from the industrial ceiling, and there’s a wonderful old railway sign listing the coffee offerings, instead of railway stations. The crowd spills out on to the footpath, but the service moves quickly and everyone gets their coffee hit promptly from the La Marzocco GB/5. Alongside his coffee pot collection, he’s got quite the grinder collection in use too – five Mazzer Roburs and two Ditting deli grinders work hard to satisfy the masses.
Grind Espresso is open from 6am to 6pm, and offers a select menu and sweet treats. But really, everyone’s there for the coffee.