Richard Kelly has transitioned from coffee grower to coffee roaster, and again from roaster to retailer and cafe operator in the span of eight years. Federal-born Moonshine Coffee Roasters is now one of the most beloved suppliers in the Northern Rivers, with its roastery-come-cafe (which is housed in an old mechanic shed) now a popular hub for locals and those cruising down through Byron Shire. With a strong wholesale portfolio reaching an ideal saturation point in the local area, Richard sought to expand his following north and establish new accounts and a base of operations in Brisbane. A vacant cafe space on Main Street in Kangaroo Point (across the road from Sea Legs Brewing Co.) proved to be an ideal location for a new cafe concept (Moonshine Coffee was once sold here when the tenancy housed Puk Espresso) and Richard started scouting for a seasoned Brisbane-based operator who could run the day-to-day. Richard reached out to Camilla Henriksen of Nundah’s Chapel Park cafe to gauge her interest in taking on the opportunity (Chapel Park has served Moonshine Coffee since it opened in early 2019), and Camilla jumped at the chance. Soon, the team began sprucing up the venue’s interior with new ceilings, floors and an extended coffee bench, but the pandemic hit just as things were starting to take shape and the Moonshine Coffee crew had to sit on their hands while lockdown measures were put in place.
In early May Moonshine Coffee opened up for takeaway, luring in foot traffic with convivial banter and the aroma of its organic Moon Runner blend and fresh single-origin batch brew and filter coffee. Camilla has instilled a splash of Chapel Park’s ethos in the food selection, incorporating fermented products and some Chapel Park staples into Moonshine’s streamlined menu, while also working with other Brisbane-based businesses to showcase their products. For now folks can chomp on sizeable toasties (including Ruebens and truffled-mushroom varieties), as well as treats from Jocelyn’s Provisions, doughnuts from Doughluxe, and Wardell Pies, while sipping on a coffee or tea, Good Happy kombucha or HRVST ST juice if preferred. When dine-in capabilities are enhanced, Camilla is keen to add the likes of avocado toast, fresh salads, 63-degree eggs and smoothies to the offering. A retail section at the cafe’s rear is stocked with a huge array of goods from select Byron Bay businesses. We’re talking granola from Three Blue Ducks, sauces from Church Farm, tea blends from Mayde Tea, handmade ceramic mugs, raw honey from the Byron Bay hinterland and much more. Those eager to supplement their home coffee collection can nab bags of Moonshine coffee ground to their liking, or they can opt for a tin or two of Moonshine’s own specialty instant coffee.
Moonshine Coffee is open seven days a week. For operating hours and contact details, head to the Stumble Guide.