A little piece of Austria

So you think you know Australia or, specifically, country Victoria?

A little piece of Austria

So you think you know Australia or, specifically, country Victoria? Well, I did until last Friday when a group of us boarded the Austrian Coffee Express for, of all places, Castlemaine. Our readers who have travelled to the Golden Triangle of Central Victoria will be familiar with this well-preserved, historic gold-mining town. But today they ‘mine’ another sought-after commodity – coffee.

We were guests of the Austrian National Tourist Office and our express was, in fact, a modern road coach. After approximately one and a half hours journey north-west up the Calder Highway from Melbourne, we were in ‘North Brunswick’ as Castlemaine has become affectionately known since the influx, in recent years, of many inner suburban Melbourne refugees. We alighted in front of the former hospital to be greeted by a youthful band, replete with tuba and a tray of champagne flutes, served by the staff of Coffee Basics in traditional Austrian national dress.

Our hosts, Edmund (Eddy) and Elna, were celebrating the tenth birthday of their boutique coffee house (it’s not just a cafe!) and roastery. They relocated from Melbourne to establish this entrepreneurial business drawing on more than 50 years of Schaerf family tradition in roasting and blending coffee. In the process they’ve created a thriving business, employed and trained a large number of local school leavers and generally infused their new community with their infectious enthusiasm.

We were treated to the best possible slap-up ‘morning tea’ where the greatest danger was that we would not be able to rise from our chairs in the bustling coffee house. Every conceivable type of coffee, all from beans roasted on the premises under the watchful eye of Eddy, was being served accompanied by the positively wicked array of kuchen with which visitors to Vienna will be familiar. Outside, in the warm spring sunshine and clear country air, many other patrons were dining al fresco.

After having consumed the finished product, Eddy, whose knowledge of all things coffee appears encyclopaedic, demonstrated just how the very best arabica beans are roasted,  blended and then packaged.

We returned to Melbourne with the warm inner glow infused by our hosts’ hospitality and impressive professionalism, resolving that we must return to Coffee Basics whenever we found ourselves anywhere, even remotely, close to the old hospital in Castlemaine.

Coffee Basics 


    To make a comment, please register or login
    19th Nov 2013
    Austria or Australia? They are a fair distance apart!
    20th Nov 2013
    Read paragraph 4 line 4, again.
    A. N. Onymous
    19th Nov 2013
    Reading your comment, melbgirl, reminded me of an experience I had decades ago in Lae, New Guinea. My husband and I had not been married for long when we went to a social function in connection with his job. We wound up in different parts of the room, and I was talking with a few women whom I had just met.

    As many people did when they heard my voice for the first time, one of them asked me whether I was from the U.S.A. or Canada. When I said I was from the U.S.A., she said, "Is your husband American, too?"

    I replied, "No, he's Austrian."

    Over four decades later I can still remember how the tone of her voice changed from polite chitchat to amusement as she laughingly said, "It's pronounced AusTRALian, dear."

    At the same time she looked at the other women in the group with her eyebrows slightly raised.

    I don't know what GOT me more, her tone or her attitude (as though I was stupid and didn't know much).

    I bit my tongue and calmly and politely said, "No, he's from Vienna, Austria, in Europe."

    I felt like saying quite a bit more, but I managed to restrain myself.
    20th Nov 2013
    Sounds good,is it walking distance from the train station?
    A. N. Onymous
    20th Nov 2013
    What does "walking distance" mean? How far can you walk?

    A Google Maps search for train station near 1 Halford Street, Castlemaine, VIC indicates the station is 1.5 km southwest of 1 Halford St.

    (Link to my search result:
    https://maps.google.com.au/maps?q=1+Halford+Street,+Castlemaine,+VIC&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF-8&ei=1imMUtaRFKe0iQfYv4DoCQ&ved=0CAoQ_AUoAg )

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