Coffee review: Hula Girl Espresso

2550 Gold Coast Highway, Mermaid Beach

I basically want to move into Hula Girl Espresso. The repurposed warehouse space has the vibe of a trendy New York loft in the 1960s, with whitewashed walls that are adorned with vintage clothing, records and guitars. Sink into one of their retro lounges with a coffee and I am sure you will fantasise about living there too.

Hula Girl Espresso grew out of circumstance and luck for owners Fernanda Borgo and Clay Hunwick. Clay and his cousin Anthony Herbert own Surf City Vintage Instruments and found that customers wanted a more tactile experience with their wares before purchasing. Meanwhile Fernanda – a barista for the past five years – wanted to open up her own coffee shop when she met Clay last year. So they decided to do something together. The end result is Hula Girl Espresso.

Initially opening up inside a rental house in Koala Park, it seemed kismet when the former carpet warehouse came available in Mermaid Beach and was precisely what they were looking for.  Wanting to keep the space as original as possible, and take advantage of all its 1963 glory, they pulled up the carpet to expose the cement floors beneath and built a bar for the coffee machine. With two entrances, the raised area at the street side is the kind of den that all music aficionados aspire to with plenty of vinyl care of Clubhouse Records to sift through and keep you entertained.

Entering through the more industrial side you are greeted by the scent of coffee, which paves way to the vintage guitars, amps and beautiful vintage clothing from labels A’roe and Kashmir Vintage, with a view to showcasing other labels throughout the year.

“We love coffee and wanted to do something different and unique, whilst still keeping it relatively local,” reported Fernanda on their decision to go with Marvell Street Coffee Roasters Thunderbird for their house blend.

Made on a gleaming silver La Marzocco Classic Linea machine, the espresso we sample has the characteristic caramel and milk chocolate flavours of the blend, with a sneaky hint of dark cherries that bursts through your mouth.  The flavours are more muted in a long black, with the dark cherry flavour making for a juicy beverage. Add some milk to the blend as we did with a piccolo and the richness of the thunderbird blend stands up and demands your attention with a hit of hazelnuts, a nice smack of acidity and a big flavour not often experienced in most milk coffees.

If coffee isn’t your thing (seriously, what?) then never fear as Mayde Tea from Byron Bay is also on offer alongside Hula Girl’s house made cakes and toasties.

Open from 6.00am to 4.00pm daily we suggest you come for the vintage wares and know you will stay for the coffee.

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