Good Brother, Good Coffee? Dickson does cafe culture

by Barrister Barista

Good Brother - Table

Welcome back, coffee drinkers. We hope that your favourite cafe has resumed regular hours, and that your new year’s resolution didn’t involve cutting down on caffeine.

Our coffee-related resolution for 2013 is to keep trying out new cafes, and new styles of coffee. Yup, we’ll be ordering the siphons and the cold drips and the filters and more. Milk is, like, so 2012, or something. We’ll also be visiting new suburbs – like this fortnight’s jaunt to Good Brother in Dickson, a suburb known for nights slurping dumplings more so than mornings sipping coffs.

Good Brother - Window

Good ‘Brother, where art though?’, you might well ask, unsubtly asserting your knowledge of Coen brothers film. It’s a good question (and a good movie). The Location: Coming from Woolies, you could take the fast food route: past McDonald’s, past KFC and Subway and past Zefferelli’s. Coming from Suburban, you’d take the Asian food route – past Scholar, Jimmy’s and Asian Noodle House, and left around the corner of Zefferelli’s. Taking the car registration route, you’d take the only thoroughfare from Challis St (TransACT) towards Woolworth’s and the fast food (Good Brother would be on your right). Provided they’re open, in which case, you’ll miss the glass-fronted place entirely (see opening hours, below).

Good Brother - Outside

Finding Good Brother open on a Saturday morning, we were pleased that it wasn’t crazy busy. (‘It ain’t heavy, it’s [Good] Brother’– anyone?). Saturday is the day on which your pants will get caught in the bikes outside Mocan and Green Grout and Lonsdale St Roasters, so it’s nice to slip into an outside table with ease. We could also have perched at the big insider and read the papers (tres public), or in the empty-feeling back section (tres private). The Decor outside is tree-y, with dappled sunshine and stuff. Inside is woodsman-industrial, with cardboard wall-mooses and deliberate-looking graffiti. The Hipster Factor is definitely palpable (bold-as billboards that claim Good Brother created coffee culture), but The Vibe is relaxed enough to be moulded to your purposes (read: your parents, your children, your colleagues, your less hip outfits).

Good Brother - Moose

Coffee ordering was done inside, at a coffee station quite close to the door. The man with the coffee handles for hands took The Order immediately, multi-tasking styles. The Barista was busy and chatty and we were awkward and unsure what to do with our money, but that didn’t really seem to matter. We went back to our table, and paid at the end. There was a second staff member floating and on food prep (was he also The Waiter? We guess). This time, we weren’t hungry, but recalled The Sides: delicious feathery fruit toast and other bread-based options (nb: zero gluten free). The other thing we notice is that you can get Good Brother beans takeaway, and read subjective stuff about them on A4 paper on the walls.

Good Brother - Habit

We’ve not known The Wait to be long at Good Brother. We had The Short (Black) delivered in a short time, and sipped standing at the tall table, feeling Italian. Un-Italian was the burnt-toast and vegemite flavour that we have twice now detected in the black coffs – unsubtle and maybe a teeny bit overrun? Maybe not – we repeat our regular disclaimer about our amateur coffee drinker status. If it’s The Blend of coffee we’re describing (rather than its execution), it’s incredibly bright, just low on light and shade? Either way, with milk, it balances out: The Long is a takeaway full-fat capp that’s a big cup of delicious – burnt-tongue-hot at first, but lid-lickingly foamy to the end. Chocolate dust may mask the taste of coffee, but it was dark and delicious in its own right. The Pour has also withstood soy “milk” on occasion, making for mouthfuls of mmm, smooth and nutty.

Good Brother - Glass

The latte word: apparently Good Brother is one of a ‘new breed of cafe… blossoming‘ in Canberra. The characteristics of the new breed are said to be:

  1. ‘seriously good coffee’ (as above, we’d pretty much agree)
  2. ‘great prices’ (at $3.80 a cup, they’re a little above average)
  3. food that’s ‘a very edible storm’ (yup, unless you’re Coeliac), and
  4. ‘personality that grows from the people who run the place’ (they seem nice enough!).

Coffee-wise and vibes-wise, we rate the place, and have found ourselves going back for more (and for less, on Australia Day Saturday, when they went fishing, or whatever). We’ll get over that (slight) slight, in time. We predict no Goodbyes for Good Brother – just hullos to new customers.

Brothers and sisters of the jury: what do you look for in a cafe? And does Good Brother tick all of your boxes?

Good Brother
1/ 20 Challis St

(02) 6162 0819

Monday – Friday: 6:30 am – 4:00 pm
Saturday: 6:30 am – 2:00 pm
Sundays and public holidays: closed

Saturdays before public holidays: Probably closed