Following the winding coastal road heading north from Newcastle, NSW, most people find the stresses and tensions of the city rat race dropping away from them. These trips, often the prelude to a much-needed holiday, hold only one fear — roadhouse coffee. I know. It sends shivers up my spine too, but fear not — a haven for coffee lovers has recently emerged. Perched on the NSW coast at Forster is the new Tartt Cafe.

A few hours drive up the coast from Sydney, Forster has long been a mecca for summer holiday makers and now the town is proving to be an oasis of great food and coffee, with Tartt Café really raising the bar. Proving that the provinces are crying out for great specialty coffee, Michael Tartt, with his son-in-law Jack and daughter Jemma, has established a beachhead for awesome Five Senses’ coffee and a range of delicious food.

Long-time Adelaide resident Michael began his coffee apprenticeship by drinking copious amounts of coffee at the Five Senses’ stalwart Bar 9 and, as his obsession with quality coffee grew, began to look around for the best place to launch his own cafe. Further and further afield Michael looked, eventually settling on the stunning beaches and relaxed lifestyle of his favourite holiday retreat in Foster. With a quality cafe setup to the forefront of their minds, Michael, Jack and Jenna, have laid some spectacular foundations for coffee success with a Synesso Sabre and a clutch of grinders offering a delicious house blend, rotating single origins and (cutting edge for most of the capital cities, let alone regional beach towns) a great specialty brewed coffee programme.

I made it into town just prior to Tartt Café’s opening and was lucky enough to experience the whole package presented in an opening night extravaganza of coffee appreciation and menu sampling. (It’s a hard life!) It was great to see the town buzzing in anticipation of a hot new local offering. Opening just days before the summer hordes descended on the area, the team were certainly given a baptism of fire. But it was quickly apparent that their months of careful planning had stood them in good stead. The summer has seen breakfast and lunch menu items such as the avocado and feta smash and the ‘salmon to love’ sandwich become firm favourites at Tartt. In the evening, the focus shifts to gourmet pizza with a simple, but well thought out, range of wine and beer.

Obviously, the equipment and coffee offerings that a cafe chooses to launch with make a huge difference to their success, but I believe that the true success of Tartt will be the space (which Jemma was largely responsible for) and the welcoming atmosphere which the whole team have created. For Michael, an important part of choosing to set up in Forster was to have a sustainable business in a part of the world he cherished and, even better, to share the whole experience with his family. This inclusive approach permeates Tartt and whether you’re swinging through for a life-sustaining long black on the cruise between Newcastle and Byron, or you’re a local in need of your daily fix, Tartts is the place to go!

Tartt Cafe
6/12 Wharf Street
Forster, NSW, 2428

Opening hours
Sunday — Wednesday 7:00am — 4:00pm
Thursday — 7:00am — 9:00pm

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