A trip outside the CBD uncovers a café where pouring a good cup is a means to something bigger.
Coffee and community in Adelaide’s north
Have you been to Blakeview lately?
According to the last census, two-thirds of the people who call this northern suburb home are under age 40. And population growth here is two to three times the rate for greater Adelaide, thanks to new housing developments on old farmland.
They’re coming for the affordability, a dream of the good life – Blakes Crossing won the national UDIA Masterplanned Development prize in 2017 – and perhaps also for the coffee and community at Revival Café.
Wherever there are young people, having a local café with decent coffee to kickstart your day is pretty much mandatory. That’s what Revival Café owner Ben Hart thought when he opened in 2019.
Living in the area and having managed cafés and other businesses, he could see an opportunity for specialty coffee, good food and, as he says, “somewhere for people to come in, meet others and build friendships”.
After throwing around plenty of names, he settled on Revival, not just because of the caffeine kick, but for the café’s potential to bring a fresh vibe to the newish area.
“We’re bringing good stuff to the north,” Ben says.
On weekends, the place is buzzing, with fierce competition for a seat in the outdoor space and a menu that is fresh and takes its cue from what’s happening interstate. Think corn fritters served with charred corn, pico de gallo, avocado and green garlic lime sauce. Or crispy Korean chicken bites in a sticky gochujang sauce with sesame seeds, spring onion and Kewpie mayo.
Weekdays, when the team is not so under the pump, the menu extends to include additional dishes that require a slower pace to bring out their flavours.
The coffee underpins all of this, the beans sourced from specialty coffee roaster Toby’s Estate. Revival’s house blend is Toby’s Woolloomooloo, which Ben says is a cut above the beans from other roasters.
“Something we’re passionate about at Revival is taking our customers on a journey of what specialty coffee is and what that can mean,” says Ben, who’s also a dab hand at smile-inducing latte art.
“It might be drinking coffee that leaves you going, ‘is that really coffee?’. It’s taking them away from that traditional dark roast coffee to a higher level.”
As well as espresso, Revival also serves up filtered coffee from their trusty Mochamaster batch brew and 48-hour cold brew that is snapped up almost immediately.
He says Revival also sticks with Toby’s because “they’re a little more experimental and are super passionate from the farm to the cup”. The experimental aspect comes into play with Toby’s Flavour Savour blends.
“The one we’ve got at the moment is Blueberry Crumble, which has flavour notes of berry danish and berry compote,” enthuses Ben.
He was an immediate fan of the limited releases after trying the Butterscotch Pudding blend.
“It was amazing – you could tweak it one way and get a strong flavour profile of rum balls, or tweak it another way to get a strong flavour profile of Christmas cake.”
“It’s what we’re about, breaking the perceptions of what coffee is and offering something new that needs to be tried.”
The admiration between the café and specialty bean supplier is mutual with Revival crowned Toby’s Estate SA Local Legends for 2023.
Meanwhile, customers can pop in to grab a bag of the beans for home, with the team happily grinding them beforehand. It’s this friendly attitude and being more than just a grab-your-cup-and-go kind of place that has seen Revival become a hub for locals, including the many teachers at nearby schools and families living in defence housing nearby.
Their strong commitment to this developing part of Adelaide sees the café donate gift certificates for fundraisers and local events. Ben also generously welcomes more cafés to the area, saying while they’ve corned the specialty coffee market for the moment, he expects others to also open up and help build on what’s been started.
It’s worth a trip north of the CBD to see this good thing grow.