Meet the Barista – Bookface Café
In the heart of Port Macquarie just at the entrance to Port Central, you’ll find the perfect spot to grab a coffee and something delicious to eat. And being part of the Book Face book store means that there’s no better spot to soak up those gorgeous summer rays and tuck into a riveting read. Coastbeat caught up with Jo Hawes who runs the café with her husband Dan.
We understand that you are both long-term locals here in Port?
Yes, we’re both now in our early 40s and have lived here since our late teens when we made the move (as childhood sweethearts) from Kempsey. Dan is actually a painter by trade having done that for close to 25 years and I worked as a pharmacy assistant for that same length of time. We have two children, Jake and Georgia. Jake (20) was working with us fulltime but has recently commenced a new role with Telstra here in Port Central. He still helps out when he can. Georgia is only 15 but she lends us a hand after school and on weekends.
How long have you been here at the Bookface Café?
We purchased the café in May 2015. What motivated the decision to step away from your existing careers and buy Bookface Café? Our good friends own Peak Coffee Australia (the first coffee roasting business to be located on the mid north coast) and they had been telling us for years to make the switch to coffee. So, when the opportunity arose, we jumped at it. It was very scary to start but also very exciting. We have now owned the café for 3½ years and Dan and I agree that it was the best move we’ve ever made.
What are the pros and cons of working with your partner?
We’ve been married for nearly 20 years and are best friends so that helps when working together.
Do you focus on quite separate components within the business?
Yes, we do. Dan generally deals with the coffee side and I mostly deal with the food, staff and the
administrative part of the business.
What makes a great barista?
I think a passion for great quality coffee and the ability to consistently deliver that.
And a great coffee?
I think delicious coffee is the result of quality coffee beans that are freshly roasted. Good quality milk is important too.
What key qualities do you look for in your team?
We value staff with plenty of personality that are willing to go above and beyond. It also helps to work well under pressure and be supportive of other staff.
And you source many of your products locally?
Yes, all of our suppliers are local. Not only do they use quality fresh ingredients, but they are passionate about their quality too. We have numerous local suppliers but do source a great deal from Burkhardt’s Organic Bakery and Bels Gordon St Bakery.
What are your favourite menu items?
The frittata and salad that I make from scratch in our commercial kitchen and our toasties with mango chutney or fig conserve. What sets your café apart? We are a very fast paced café that provides friendly and efficient service. We strive to consistently deliver specialty coffee and quality menu items. We also cater well for the gluten free and vegan customers.
What do you love about living in Port?
We love Port Macquarie with both the bush and the beach within such easy reach. People often go away for holidays, but we think the best holiday destination is right here on the mid north coast.
Why is this region your cup of tea?
Having been lucky enough to be born and bred here, this is home.
Do you get much time away from work together?
Yes, wherever possible we try to have Sundays together as a family. We like to 4WD or paddleboard at Point Plomer near Crescent Head.
If we have a little more leave, we pack up the caravan for a beachside stay at Point Plomer or Diamond Head.
We also enjoy bush camping at Swans Crossing by the beautiful Upsalls Creek in the Kerewong State Forest.
Thanks so much Jo.
Image of Jo Hawes by Elize Strydom
Bookface Café is located at Port Central. Jo and Dan can be reached at the café on Ph (02) 6584 4238