B-Side Espresso, 45 Pearson St, Charlestown, Monday-Friday 7am-3pm.
Visit a café regularly enough and it is bound to happen to you.
The moment you realise that you have a favourite barista is the day when you start to classify every other coffee experience as an inconvenient blandness.
Because it’s not just that they get the coffee right every day - it’s that they get you right every time. Late for work? Exhausted? All of the above with a hangover on the side? When you have no taste for small talk and even less time to stand in line there they will be – passing you your 6 oz. of salvation like a relay runner on the final turn.
Regulars of most cafes will already know that the downside of all of this is that your barista will need a day off. The lights might be on but this morning your new best friend isn’t home. Suddenly you are running without the baton. You might be dressed for the races but you certainly won’t be winning.
Then you find a barista like Jordan Bale. At his Charlestown café B-Side, there is no downside – just the same guy in the skipper cap, with the same tea towel draped over his shoulder, making the same consistently excellent espresso. If this guy ever takes a weekday morning off, then it’s probably the one where we all unwrap presents and eat prawns for breakfast.
I am just here to make an honest coffee.Jordan Bale
Everything you need to know about him, the B-Side and the no-nonsense ethic underlying this place was neatly summed up to me by Jordan himself. While many hipster baristas - who knows everything about their tattoos and nothing about you – dish out fancy lingo and icy attitudes, the simplicity of Jordan’s words were welcoming: “I’m just here to make an honest coffee.”
Jordan is underselling his blend a tad. My idea of an honest coffee is a flat white costing 80 cents at the servo at 4am. What B-Side pours runs a little differently to that stuff.
Grinding a seasonal blend of Waykan Guatemalan and Konga Ethiopian varietals, Jordan has chosen his beans from probably the best roastery in Newcastle. There are few who would argue that Unison Coffee Roasters is currently setting the standard for specialty coffee in this city. Its founder Alaric Daley is a modern archetype of the young, inner city coffee don – the barista, the technician and the roaster all wrapped up in the one apron string.
On the corner of Bull and Corlette streets in Cooks Hill there is a café where they queue out the door for a Unison roasted coffee. The espresso at B-Side is at least as good. It may not be green and leafy here in Charlestown, but B-Side is nonetheless an oasis around which most local coffee lovers happily gather to drink.