The internet attracts criticism, but praise is also warranted for the good it can do. For example, it can help a desperate coffee enthusiast find an oasis of quality coffee in a desert of coffee ordinariness in rural Western Australia.
I'm referring to a trip I did around Western Australia's wheat belt. The landscapes were refreshing, and the quiet back roads alluring, but after a week I was hanging out for a cup of good coffee. Amid an abundance of wheat crops and salmon gum woodlands, gourmet coffee seemed noticeably absent. Then I remembered a priceless nugget of information I'd read on the internet.
It was at the blog of a Perth coffee enthusiast, who maintained a WA coffee map - a guide to the best coffee spots, based on his own research and some reports from others (unfortunately no longer online). Nearly all of the best coffee is in Perth, but I remembered reading of a gourmet coffee shop in the small wheat belt town of Kellerberrin. It stuck in my mind because it was the only inland town to get a mention, plus it seemed an unlikely place to host a coffee snob magnet.
I didn't remember the name of the place, but with Kellerberrin being rather small, it wasn't hard to find. Succulent Foods is located near the middle of town on the main street (Great Eastern Hwy), with a car park across the road. Also a toilet, which is useful after drinking coffee.
They used fresh beans from Fiori, one of Perth's good roasters, and did a nice job with them. A flat white tasted as delightful to me as a cold drink to a parched desert hiker - the oasis analogy is apt. A beautiful long mac confirmed my first impression - the place deserves to be mentioned in any good coffee guide.
The place isn't called Succulent Foods for nothing - an appealing range of gourmet food is on offer too. Having run out of cereal that morning and missed breakfast, I felt justified in sampling one of their egg and bacon breakfasts, which was delicious.
Kellerberrin was a little out of the way for someone driving from Mukinbudin to Narembeen, as I was that day, but I felt it was worth the detour. My gourmet coffee craving was nicely satisfied. For anyone travelling the more conventional route east from Perth, no detour is needed as it's sited right on the main highway, at a stage of most journeys where a rest stop would be welcome.
Apart from the obvious joy of finding good coffee, the experience served as a practical illustration of just how useful the internet can be.