Coffee time: Corner Lane, New Lambton

Locals favourite: Baristas Olivia Jubb and Sal Buttsworth serving it up at Little Lane on Orchardtown Road, New Lambton. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Locals favourite: Baristas Olivia Jubb and Sal Buttsworth serving it up at Little Lane on Orchardtown Road, New Lambton. Picture: Max Mason-Hubers

Corner Lane Espresso, 1/15 Alma Rd, New Lambton, Mon-Fri 6:30am-3pm, Sat 7am-12pm, Sun 8am-12pm.

It might be the tiredest cliché in any other market place but when it comes to getting your coffee right, timing really is everything. Knowing when to pick the cherries from the coffee crop, so that the precious little beans inside them are at their finest, is only the very beginning. Then comes the processing. The drying. The milling. The hulling. The grading and the sorting. By this time, the beans that will be ground to make your morning espresso next Valentine’s Day haven’t even left the farm in South America yet.

Assuming every step of their subsequent journey is taken and timed to absolute perfection, from the ship to the shore, from the roast and the grind and the extraction and the yield, your next excellent cup can still easily pass you by. Especially when your favourite barista catches an untimely bug that just happens to have been going around every hotel in Hamilton the night before you need them the most.  

But there is another type of timing in the coffee trade. It is not as much about transporting the crop to the cup as it is about bringing the right cup to the right corner, or if you fancy yours in New Lambton, the Corner Lane. In the three years since owners Graeme and Sarah Thrift established their café alongside a sleepy laneway running into Lambton Road, coffee drinkers all over Newcastle have become as informed about their morning drops as they are passionate about their evening ones. It is part of the reason why small, village-like locations like New Lambton have become able to sustain their own diverse and unique little café cultures.

It has been a change that Graeme and Sarah, who both have a wide and varied experience in cafe hospitality, were keen to have coincide with their coffee project at Corner Lane. If the dedicated gathering of local followers is anything to go by on the morning of my visit, it is an enthusiasm that definately shows up in the cup.

Blending a robusta into their very own, locally roasted three-bean house blend brings a small but sharp kick of acidity to all of their milk-based coffees. It  For their espressos, Graeme and Sarah rotate a small number of single origin roasts that have each been selected for their distinctive flavour profiles.

However you enjoy your drop in here, or how busy things get behind the counter, expect the barista to smile widely, move quickly and perform consistently well under pressure.  

The same can be said for the experience at Little Lane, a takeaway coffee outlet recently opened by Graeme and Sarah on nearby Orchardtown Road.

Same coffee. Same service.

Yet another project timed to perfection.