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July 25, 2016

Elementary Coffee and roastery is open for business

Brad Nixon hones in on Adelaide's perfect coffee.

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  • Story: Joshua Fanning

The first thing anyone will write about Brad Nixon is his obvious pedigree in coffee, having pioneered the early specialty movement in Adelaide with Ian Callahan at Bar 9 and spending five years interstate making and roasting coffee with the best of them.


Elementary Coffee
9-17 Young Street,
Adelaide SA 5000
Mon – Friday
07:30 – 15:30

Each Saturday Brad will be roasting coffee for the coming week and he’s keen to have industry and coffee nerds come along and geek out with him in the space. Follow Elementary Coffee on Facebook for more information on Saturday sessions.

That’s certainly what caught our attention when we first met Brad back in December last year.

However, our experience this morning at Elementary Coffee on Young Street in the city shed new light on what Brad was talking about back then.

He’s achieved the warehouse aesthetic he promised us. The Diedrich roaster sits in pride of place at the western end while light spills down onto the concrete floor and illuminates the timber furniture from the saw tooth roof above.

But where we were unsure how “straight forward” and uncomplicated his concept would remain, Brad has stayed true to his word.

The pared-back menu centres around a few delicious sounding things (including the sandwiches available from 11AM) but it’s the bread and butter option that stands out most.

“I worked at the Flinders Street Project for several months while I was building this place,” says Brad.

“For me, Flinders Street are doing absolutely amazing things with their bread and pastry. Their bread – fresh – with that cultured butter is such a simple and delicious experience,” he says.

What’s more, Elementary Coffee is Flinders Street Project’s first wholesale account in Adelaide, making the bread and pastry taste just that little bit more delicious.

And it’s not just the food that has this refined but simple approach – the space is built with the same things in mind.

To the untrained eye you might think Elementary Coffee has been built out of re-purposed timber pallets but as the long, lineal lines of the bar draw your eye into the details, we couldn’t help but notice the hand of a craftsman.

I want to source the best products possible and, where possible, make them local as well – Brad Nixon


“Josh McCallum from Wholegrain Studio really nailed it,” says Brad in reference to the fit out before immediately pardoning the pun.

Thanks to their work on several start-ups previously, we were familiar with the work of Wholegrain studio; a one-man-band when it comes to design and manufacture. Josh McCallum’s almost militantly refined palette of pine has become somewhat of a calling card for his practice.

Josh’s work has previously been limited to furniture and fixtures, but Brad gave the Adelaide designer carte blanche with the space and the result is an incredible resolution between a new venue’s modest budget and super refined design.

Josh laughs when we mention the timber frames he created to support two hanging pots.

“You really did notice everything,” he says.

“Brad contacted me ages ago. He was going to get me to do something but about 3-4 months ago, but then he contacted me again and asked if I wanted to do the whole thing.”

The brief was to keep it simple and clean, the focus was always to be around making Elementary Coffee’s customers comfortable in the warehouse space and to invite them down the back, rather than trap them by the front door.

“Brad always wanted people to be in and around the roaster, so I used the linearity of weatherboard on the front of the bar to draw people toward the back,”Josh says.

The result is a beautifully flowing space, unpretentious in its effect yet effective nonetheless in allowing you to focus on Brad’s coffee.

As ours arrives, it takes our complete attention. The only point of distraction is the piece of toast with butter that arrives shortly after.

A perfect, elementary experience.

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