Southward Bound: We Campos Out at Farmers Daughter

by Barrister Barista

Around Australia, Campos Coffee is kind of a thing.   A smooth, consistent, sustainably-and-ethically-produced thing, being stamped, siphoned and ‘cupped’ in cutting-edge cafes.   A man (Will Young) jump-started the Campos Coffee thing in 2003, buying up a dying cafe in Newtown, Sydney.  A lady (Nicole Damiani) brought the thing to Canberra in 2011, carting the beans to a  Yarralumla café she called – after herself? – Farmers Daughter.

Pitching its tent in one of Canberra’s most desirable and expensive residential suburbs, Farmers Daughter doubled the ’burb’s coffee potential overnight.  Gastro-tourists and locals of leisure now choose between  big breakfasts and old-school coffee at Beess and Co, and smaller breakfasts and new-school coffee at Farmers Daughter.  Admist all this healthy competition, we got to thinking – is Yarralumla, home of embassies, the pide house and the get-lost-Big-houses, the home of coffee houses too?


In the leafy, lake-y ‘lumla, Farmers Daughter is a shiny-shopfront affair – too shiny for flash photography, in any event.  Barrister Barista’s attempts attract the attention of a local, asking with Baby Boomer bolsh ‘Are you checking in on the Facebooks?  Are you uploading pics of your favourite cafe?’  Blushing with Gen-Y awkwardness, BB ducks inside, into a twosome-table lengthways.  Early, communal tables support cyclists and sporty types.

Farmers Daughter is a cafe that can’t be judged by its cover.  Inside is splashy statement furniture and domestic doyenne, outside is Big Black Heaters and grammar-neutral signage – and hey, what’s a dropped apostrophe when you’ve mini topiary trees, macarons, and tables made from your mum’s mum’s sewing-machine?  There’s some serious eye candy for the havinghere, and some serious tooth candy for the taking-away.

The Campos narrative is cucumber-cool – a 23-year-old has a coffeephiphany, sources in Ethiopia, El Salvador and Rwanda,  and carves it up with cafes in Newtown, Carlton, Fortitude “The” Valley.   The Hipster Factor at Farmers Daughter ain’t quite so high – perhaps apropos of university unproximity.  The Vibe is more ‘yuppie’, if we still use that word, with deliberated decor and dapper-dressed staff.  Think South Yarra, North Adelaide, Paddington,  sunny Sundays, and shiny new machines by La Marzocco.

Barrister Barista shoots this one in two takes, due in part to the appeal of The Sides: some fairly delicious ways with eggs and brioche.  Take one: via table service, The Order is placed: a flat white for firsts, and a short black for seconds.  It’s $3.50 for The LongThe Short is $2.50.  The Waiter is obliging, and  The Wait is not long.  The Pour is a thick-frond fern with heart – basic coffee art, baby.  The Long (flat white) has a dusty texture, disconcerting – is it ash?  BB is impressed with the glowing Campos crema, and the bright, full flave, reminiscent of a (Lonsdale St) Roasters. Alas, The Short is no swansong – it’s burnt like a Silo croissant, a nasty blackness at its edges.  It’s a no deal from this drinker, after some prodding from fancy French teaspoon.  Mineral water becomes alternative, not accompaniment.

BB gets fancy on take two, a Saturday.  The Order, reluctantly received, is for a Single Origin Siphon, at The Price (of three): $8.00.  Later, The Waitress snaps, ‘there’s going to be a wait on that hot siphon’ (read: we’re flummoxed by our dust-gathering chemistry set).  The Specialty arrives after cups and plates are empty and cleared.  Senior-seeming barista dumps gruff glasses for four, and BB puzzles out how to pour from Hogwartian Potions vial.  As described on menu, Siphon is tea-like, texturally, a thin, silky ribbon.  Unfortch, it tastes of the 10 Things One Hates About Coffee.  Out are richness, depth and chocolate notes – in are smoke, sourness, and metallic notes… While we try to like it for The Hipster Factor, googling ‘siphon coffee tasting bitter/burnt’ tells much about correct grind and brewing time.  Non-empty glasses are removed, with some haught, and we see ourselves out, nigh on closing time.

The Latte Word:  Good coffee beans can be bought, but good coffee service must be taught.  It’s already Yarralumla’s best coffee (sorry Beess), but with more a few more smiles (and less specialty coffs), Farmers Daughter could really cash in on the Campos quality.

Farmers Daughter

27 Bentham Street, Yarralumla

6281 2233


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Monday – Friday: 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Saturday: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM

Sunday: 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM