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Braddock’s Dispensary

This is our first ‘Good Coffee Place’.

The gold boom of the 1890s brought affluence and commerce to Aberdeen St in Northbridge, a suburb of Perth, West Australia.

Market gardeners, shopkeepers, tradespeople, professionals, and some eminent West Australians made their living or their home in, and around, this street.

Charles Braddock, a pharmacist, was one of those early professionals and opened his dispensary in 1899.

About 120 years later, the dispensary still stands but has a new life as a charming ‘good coffee place.’ The ornate façade of the dispensary has been lovingly renovated with the name ‘Braddock’s Dispensary’ still proudly displayed on the building and on the window (fittingly, in gold painted letters).

Bruce Reynolds, a successful local businessman, brought this wonderful heritage building back to life in January 2019. Thankfully, Bruce has let the architecture speak for itself and has complemented it with a minimalist, but cozy, interior décor.

interior of Braddock's Dispensary

Bruce has lived and worked around the area for many years and suddenly decided to set up a café next door to his other businesses. He has a marketing business, realty business, and a shared office hub all in the same building. Having your own good coffee place right next door has got to be one of the smartest ideas yet!

Bruce admitted that initially he didn’t know much about coffee but learned very quickly. His passion for the building, its history, and now his coffee is obvious. Bruce explained that Northbridge has hard water (which contains relatively high amounts of calcium and magnesium) so water filtration is essential.

Soft water (which contains lower concentrations of calcium and magnesium), at the correct temperature and pressure (for espresso), extracts the necessary components from coffee that contribute to a great-tasting coffee.

If the water is hard, then the components in coffee are under-extracted, and this contributes to a not-so-great tasting coffee! Too much calcium in the water creates a build-up of calcium scale inside the espresso machine. This scale leads to blockages and pump problems that are expensive to repair.

Bruce can’t understand why some owners don’t spend a little bit extra (okay, it could be about $3000 extra) on a good water filtering system. The filter would not only help improve the taste of the coffee but also extend the life of the espresso machine.

When you see the marvelous, sculptured, and retro-looking La Marzocco espresso machine dominating the serving bench, you understand why Bruce is so protective of his investment.

An espresso machine is a valuable asset that, with the expertise of a barista, can turn excellent roasted coffee beans into an equally excellent cup of coffee. What else would you expect from a good coffee place?

La Marzocco espresso machine

Bruce uses the Woolloomooloo blend of coffee beans supplied by Toby’s Estate (there are some great-sounding names in Australia). And recently, Bruce produced his own private label coffee beans. The espresso is aromatic, sweet, spicy, and balanced.

Braddock’s Dispensary is stylish and cozy. The owner is passionate about his coffee. The young staff is knowledgeable, friendly and efficient. The food is well presented and looks yummy!
Importantly, the espresso coffee is very good, and Braddock’s Dispensary is what we’d call a ‘good coffee place’!

After 120 years, Charles Braddock’s dispensary may not have changed much after all – it still dispenses one of the world’s most consumed drugs!

cup of espresso on a wooden table
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