Bittersweet in Kingston – is it all about the coffee?

by Barrister Barista


“Coffee in Kingston?  Where shall we meet?’  Inner-South Parl-Tri Canberrans may have asked each other these questions – and may have struggled for answers.

On Silo’s off days (when they’re closed, we mean) Kingston’s Green Square assumes the status of a Scene.  The op shop’s real close and parking’s sometimes possible – oh, and the Essential Ingredient is still awesome, despite the own-brand product overload.  It shouldn’t be hard, in a thriving little business district like Kingston, to settle on the source of your next cup of joe.

To tourists and newbies, Eyre Street is a bit like Lygon – so many cafes, so hard to choose one.  We did manage to choose one – and our choice was hardly scientific.  Bittersweet, you won the right to be Barrister Barista-ed because your signage says ‘it’s all about the coffee’.  Whatever ‘it’ is, we took you up on your offer.

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Walking up to Bitterweet is not quite a Lygon Street experience. 2/3 visits, we were not corralled into a booth and spoon-fed spaghetti – instead, we wondered whether we should a) wait for service, b) seize a table, or c) head on in to order at a counter. Option c) allowed us to ogle an impressive cake cabinet, and we were next told to perform options b) and a), in that order.  Table service, it’s a beautiful thing.  Ordering just coffee outdoors on the weekend, we felt like table hogs in peak hour, but The Staff didn’t judge.  Ordering just coffee outdoors on a chilly morning, we felt like pioneers.


“Which one is Bittersweet?” an Inner-South Canberran just asked us.  Soz Bittersweet, we have to define you by reference to your neighbour slash competitor, Kingston Grind.  That’s right, Bittersweet is the cafe next to Kingston Grind, the one with tables outside, that are black and white, the one…  The Decor is not over-the-top fashionable, with shades of minimalism and Industriale.  The Hipster Factor is low-to-medium – The Crowd screams Family Friendly, in a good way. We infer from full tables on a Sunday that passing trade does wonders for this particular cafe.

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Bittersweet’s web presence (Facebook) says ‘you can get consistantly [sic] great coffee from people who aren’t snooty about it’.  Signage tells us the coffee comes from Veneziano Coffee, Melbourne-based roasters who tell us on their website that ‘in selecting green and developing roast profiles [they] use some fancy science tools and software’.  Veneziano’s software has also made quite a sexy website, and a new logo that hasn’t quite made it to the Bittersweet cuppery (yet?).   Visit one is a bit unfortch as coffee isn’t being served (their machine is out of order), but we’re not snooty, these things happen, ja?

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On a much more successful second stop-by, The Long Black is a beauty, brown-butter around the edges.  We enjoy it – along with a healthy side-serve of vitamin D.  Other patrons are ordering things that aren’t all about the coffee – The Sides include house toasted muesli, macarons (we went there, were they Dream Cuisine?), eggs, and gluten-free options FTW.   On visit 3, we confused staff with our soy non-soy  needs, but had the same experience as this Urbanspoon  reviewer, who noted that ‘even when [staff] have made mistakes, they have been apologetic and will make up for it’.  We know we’re soft for drinking soy milk, but for the record, it was delicious.  


The Latte Word: is Bittersweet all about the coffee?  Controversial, but we’d venture a guess that it’s  also about food, friends and family.  There was some serious rapport on show between owner-waiter and regular-seeming customers.  There was also a serious number of said customers, suggesting this Kingston establishment is not at risk of being bumped out for a franchise.  Next time you’re in the Green Squarea, stop by and let us know what you think.


Green Square
Jardine St
Kingston ACT 2604

(02) 6260 7263

Twitter: @BitterSweet_ACT

Mon – Fri: 7:30 am – 4:00 pm
Sat – Sun: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm