The Cupping Room is a cafe located on University Avenue in the North of Canberra, just north of Acton and of the many hotels in the area. Like anywhere in the city, it has the challenge of trying to appear old and rustic, while at the same time being on the ground floor of an apartment building.
I visited The Cupping Room while attending a conference at one of the hotels down the road and I chose the café for three reasons that may be important to you. Firstly, it is a very easy walk, say around 5-6 minutes from the heart of Acton, secondly, it had a website full of images of coffee, and finally, it was open from 7am, which for a business traveller was a big plus. On arrival a little after 7am the café was already bustling and I realised it wasn’t the only one who had this last reason in mind.
The Cupping Room has a fairly heavy-duty coffee setup. There are bags of beans everywhere, should you desire take away, and what appeared to be an area devoted almost entirely devoted to coffee making. I ordered a latte, which I’ll admit is probably the safest of all coffees, but I was surprised when the wait staff informed me that for a milk-based coffee, I could only choose the type of coffee beans (single origin, etc) and not the style. It being just after 7am, and with my desire for caffeine outweighing my capacity for argument, I chose not to question it further.
The House Blend Milk Coffee ($3.50)
The coffee arrived in the style of what I think was a latte, albeit in a cappuccino cup. The coffee was great, even if the flavour was mildly indistinctive, but I wondered if I had been given the latte because I had asked for it, or whether this was how all their coffees would appear. While having a few quirky takes on the traditional fare, the food menu was largely similar to other cafes, so I ruled out the idea of attempting to match the coffee with the food. In the end, it still remained a mystery. Maybe the one-size-fits-all model is expected in Canberra?
Smashed Avo ($18.00)
After looking over the menu, I decided, with a little assistance from the excellent wait staff, to go with the ‘Smashed Avo’, which consisted of toast, poached eggs, avocado (obviously), goat’s cheese, and pomegranate. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve become a recent convert to the cult of avocado and so this combination sold me pretty quickly. The smashed avo arrived in the traditional gourmet style: a tower.
Which, given its impracticalities, I quickly turned it into something more manageable.
After a few bites, I was hooked. While the toast could use a little softening, the combination that looked so good on paper really did translate to success on the plate with he poached eggs and the goats cheese making this enjoyable and mildly healthy for a morning meal. Meanwhile, the pomegranate, that may have seemed the outsider on the ingredients list, proved to be pivotal in building a balance and zest that can sometimes be lacking in avocado-heavy dishes.
The Cupping Room is one of Canberra’s most popular cafes and I can see why. It is accessible for both the business crowd and the Lycra-clad exercise crowd, and the decor offers a pleasing combination of wood and tiles, giving it a feeling of style without pretentiousness. While I was annoyed to be given only one choice of coffee style, the smashed avo went out of its way to be exceptional.
The Cupping Room
1/1-13 University Ave
Australian Capital Territory 2601
Mon – Fri: 7:00am to 4:00pm
Sat – Sun: 8:00am to 3:00pm