His New Guinean-based nine bean blend can linger on the palate for as long as it takes to drive back to Wickham.
If you spend a few minutes looking for a parking space around Ground Up you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the only café in Carrington. On some Saturdays the coffee rushes hit so quickly here that the small crowd waiting outside for their coffees can be spotted from a mile or so down the road.
On the weekdays you might be able to hear them from that distance too. Tradesmen comparing their engines. Little dogs. Louder dogs. Parents calling out for toddlers who have escaped from them down the street. Anywhere else in Newcastle, all of this might seem a little overwhelming for a short walk and a quiet coffee. But things have always been a bit different on this side of the harbour. There are busy weeks. There are hectic mornings. On the other side of the bridge there is Carrington.
If there is any urgency left down on Young Street then you can bet the owner and head barista at Ground Up is the best man to manage it. In the three years since moving his café from one side of the main street to the other, Andy Scurry is proof that your cafe can come a long way without having to travel a great distance. Whilst most would agree that his decision to change location was a good one, an even better choice was to keep the most important thing exactly the same as it always has been – the coffee.
A cup as consistently delicious as this one made by a barista who is almost always behind his machine are two things that are still hard to find in Newcastle. Ever since opening the doors of his cafe, Andy has partnered with the Suspension team of roasting talents to serve up a coffee that somehow hits the sweet spot every single time. His New Guinean-based nine bean blend can linger on the palate for as long as it takes to drive back to Wickham. In the coffee language spoken around the big cities they call this lingering the “body”. Around Ground Up the local bodies just linger.
On the afternoon of my visit, a selection from the specials board reminds me of why so many of the customers in here choose to stay well beyond their first round of coffees. A poached egg nestled between crispy shards of pancetta, served on sweet potato and pea fritters and an avocado and roquette salsa ($18), tastes even better than it looks.
In through the service window, I spot the same two chefs that have been alongside Andy ever since the other side of Young St. Their heads are down, their hands busy with another rush of lunches. Different kitchen. Familiar faces. More proof that the most important things should always be kept the same.