A small but vibrant café with some of the best coffee on the Gold Coast.
When it comes to Quest Coffee Roastery, I’m a little biased. I admit it. All coffee addicts have a favourite café, and Quest is mine.
I buy my beans from here, and I haven’t found another place on Gold Coast that can beat their iced long blacks. I also love the vibe, the wholehearted embrace of all things coffee, and the serious effort the owners have put into building a great brand that combines great brews with an emphasis on sustainability.
So there’s my disclaimer. Now, let’s dive into exactly what makes this small Burleigh coffee shop so fantastic.
20 James St, Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
As a space, a café has two components: the ambience, and the functionality.
The ambience is the atmosphere. What’s the experience created by the décor, the music, the overall aesthetic?
Functionality is more practical – how well does the café work as a space where people can eat, drink, and relax?
Quest nails the ambience side of things. Step through the door, and you enter a world steeped in warm tones of chocolate and chestnut, where the walls are covered with coffees and syrups, punctuated by splashes of green flora. A few ornaments – a parchment globe, a stained clock, a Spanish poster – lend a sense of antiquated refinement.
The baristas move behind an L-shaped bar, half-hidden by grinders and coffee machines. A long bench with three small wooden tables sits opposite, where diners are separated by hessian coffee sacks. Outside, there’s two larger tables that look out over James Street.
This is where the functionality versus ambience thing starts to matter. The outside tables are nice, but they’re almost always full. The interior tables are so small and close together that you feel cramped, and my partner and I had trouble sitting side-by-side on the bench. The coffee sacks are a cute idea, but, functionally, they take up space that diners could otherwise use.
And that’s a shame, because the carefully crafted aesthetic works so well. Quest is the kind of café where you should be able to sit and soak up the atmosphere, but, currently, there just isn’t enough room.
Quest is always busy. On a typical day, grey-haired regulars occupy the al fresco tables; the odd solo diner sits inside. Mostly, though, the traffic flows through, with takeaway customers lining up out the door and waiting until the staff call their order.
Speaking of the staff, you can tell this is a coffee-focused café. Everyone knows what they’re doing. Orders get repeated back so customers don’t get the wrong drink. The service is friendly and fast, and, with so many locals, there’s a strong community vibe.
As a regular myself, I’d feel remiss if I didn’t talk about the loyalty program. With the help of a nifty little app called Stamp Me, Quest gives you a free coffee every 10 orders – and a free bag of 500-gram beans for every 10 bags of beans you buy. I’m not big on discount-driven marketing, but a free bag of coffee? That alone is enough to get me coming back for more.
What’s On the Menu
Quest is all about coffee. Their website says it, and so does their menu. There’s a handful of food options, and the rest is all about the brews.
Coffees can be ordered on one of four beans, all of which are roasted by Quest: In Casa (a medium roast), Dark Inc (a deliciously dark roast), Eureka (a medium-dark roast grown in Australia), and De Casa (In Casa, but decaf). Frappes, loose-leaf teas, milkshakes, smoothies, and hot chocolates are also available, as are pre-bottled kombucha, sparkling water, and probiotic drinks.
Food-wise, it’s standard café fare. Quest makes their chow in-house, and you can choose from a variety of upscale chia cups, bars and slices, muffins, toasties, and breads. The gluten-free options are good, and a lot of what’s on offer is also organic.
What I Ate
I ordered a slice of banana bread straight out of the cabinet. Like all good banana bread, it came heated and slathered in butter – a great complement to the coffee.
The presentation wasn’t anything special, but the bread itself was fantastic. Thick, moist, and not too dense, there were enough hints of cinnamon to turn the dial up from ‘good’ to ‘great’. At $6.50, it’s a snack that feels well worth the money.
What I Drank
If you like your coffee strong, rich, and loaded with complex notes, Quest is the place to go. I ordered a large iced long black on the Dark Inc beans with an extra shot (four shots total), which came to a very respectable $5.50.
I normally get a takeaway, so I was pleasantly surprised when my coffee arrived on an absorbent stone coaster, complete with a reusable copper-plated straw. It felt sophisticated and elegant, the straw a nod to Quest’s commitment to sustainability.
Dark Inc is a rich, potent bean with heavy chocolate notes, but, diluted by ice and water, it lost some of its flavour – the strength remained, but it was more bitter, less complex. I’m not complaining, though. Quest’s iced long blacks are the best I’ve had, anywhere, and the fact that I come back weekend after weekend should be evidence enough of how amazing they are.
Quest Coffee Roastery and Cafe delivers coffee for coffee lovers. Come here for a brew that will blow your taste buds away.
Large Iced Long Black, Extra Shot