Why this new cafe has gone through 40kg of coffee in 8 days
FOR a small cafe in a shady alley way on a public holiday, The Journey is bustling at 8am on Monday morning, the day after New Year's Day.
Mat Grills is making the coffees and greets every second customer by name.
The former policeman and Windmill barista has taken the plunge with his wife Tegan to open their own outfit, hidden away in the arcade off Bauer St in Bargara.
But locals have had no trouble finding the place.
After a soft opening on Christmas Eve, The Journey has opened all week including Boxing Day and New Year's Day, when many other businesses are closed, and Mat said "we've been smashed”.
"We closed at 10 (on Tuesday) because we ran out of coffee - we've gone through 40kg in the last eight days.
"In the last two days we've made nearly 500 coffees.”
The name references his own meandering path, swapping the police force for study and sport in recent years before arriving at his cafe dream, and admits the business side of things has been a steep learning curve.
"Because a lot of people know me through running and the Windmill, I thought we'd go okay - but I didn't expect it to go this well.
"Everyone has been so supportive and patient.”
The decor is minimalist, with white walls and timber furniture including a communal table.
"It's been fantastic to see strangers sitting and talking to each other,” Mat said.
The space, formerly a massage salon, is still taking shape with custom crockery on the way from near Byron Bay and pot plants to be hung from the ceiling.
The business motto is "Health, Adventure, Compassion”.
While the adventure side alludes to Mat's passion for running, the health and compassion elements apply to the food, which is vegan.
It's something that has not been advertised because Mat said "it puts people off” - but you can still get a dairy milk coffee, along with "on the go” food including grilled wraps, sandwiches, and smoothies.
"It's the kind of stuff you can take down to the beach.”