The Hideout Specialty Coffee has opened a brand-new pick-me-up spot

One of The City’s best coffee spots has expanded. The Hideout Specialty Coffee has lifted the cloche on a new light-filled cafe on Edward Street, offering a broad range of invigorating brews (including some made using seriously high-grade reserve beans), as well as a new-and-improved menu led by stacked open-faced sandwiches. Oh, and we also hear there’s a range of coffee-infused cocktails to come. Take a peek inside …
May 31, 2024, updated May 31, 2024

Back in January 2020, before the words ‘pandemic’, ‘lockdown’ and ‘social distancing’ became common parts of our daily vernacular, Brisbane City welcomed a new coffee spot to its midst. The Hideout Specialty Coffee opened at the base of 340 Adelaide Street, a minimalist espresso bar showcasing a rotating roster of Australia’s finest roasters.

Owner Eddie Cho had great plans to educate his clientele on the characteristics of specialty coffee, with his encyclopaedic knowledge of everything from brewing techniques to flavour profiles having The Hideout poised to become one of The City’s go-to spots for caffeine connoisseurs.

And then COVID-19 hit our shores.

“When I would come into the shop, I’d see two people maximum,” recalls Eddie. “I opened all through the pandemic unless the government said I had to shut. I was the one man standing and just kept doing it.”

Eddie’s dogged perseverance paid off in the long run. As workers eventually returned to The City in greater numbers, The Hideout began to blossom into the kind of high-end coffee spot Eddie envisioned it to be at the beginning.

Over time, Eddie introduced a few tweaks designed around educating its clientele on everything that goes into their cup. He pivoted from the multi-roaster format, electing instead to showcase a sizeable collection of gear from Melbourne-born roaster Zest Coffee as its Brisbane flagship. He also bolstered his crew, assembling a crack team of award-winning, competition-proven baristas to handle duties at the machine.

Once The Hideout was properly dialled in and a loyal following was amassed, thoughts turned toward opening a second site. Initially, Eddie wasn’t planning on opening another cafe, but with many talented shot pullers coming knocking looking for a place to prove their skills, Eddie found himself in a great position to expand.

“I didn’t have an actual plan,” reveals Eddie. “I didn’t want to grow in the beginning, but I was pushed by our staff. There are so many good staff and they want to work with us. The soul of The Hideout Specialty Coffee as a business is the barista skill.”

At the beginning of May, Eddie opened a second cafe at 100 Edward Street. The cafe (designed by Dominic Gouw of local interior-design firm Dreampods Group) is a light-filled space boasting a material palette of blonde timber, white marble and tile – a beaming beacon of beatific vibes in the midst of slate-grey surroundings.

The internal space is given over to the coffee bar (equipped with a Sanremo Café Racer, four grinders and an ambient cabinet for pastries), a pour-over bar and a small retail section. Most of the seating is found outside in the form of large circular tables or low-set timber benches.

With a bit more room to service dine-in custom, Eddie is looking to set The Hideout’s Edward Street location (which is operating seven days a week) apart from its Adelaide Street sibling by tailoring its offering to better match its position in the thick of the action.

“Adelaide Street is very highly focused on office workers, but down here there is a mix of tourists, shoppers and workers,” says Eddie. “And on the weekend the demographic is totally different.”

Where Adelaide Street will be where The Hideout hosts the majority of its coffee-centric events (including cupping classes and industry nights), Edward Street will go further into showcasing the possibilities of coffee – including a foray into nighttime trade on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, capitalising on the growth projected to take place in the immediate area.

“The first store I want to make into a hub of coffee education, whereas this second location will specialise in coffee cocktails and finger food,” Eddie explains. “There are bars coming up in this area, so we’re keen to give more of an experience to customers.”

In the meantime, The Hideout’s daytime menu has been given a punch up. In addition to wraps, sandwiches, pastries, toast with spreads, bacon and eggs and French toast, The Hideout is serving a trio of tartines, a style of open-faced sandwich.

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The Hideout’s selection includes a tartine topped with smashed avocado, buttery scrambled eggs, beetroot hummus and fetta, a maple bacon, brie and cranberry number, and one crowned with a slathering of pesto, tomato, eggplant, fetta and lashings of balsamic dressing.

Of course, the main reason to venture to The Hideout is for its coffee. Very few inner-city cafes offer as comprehensive a caffeine selection as Eddie and his crew, who go to great lengths to not only offer a variety of coffees to try, but also explain the intricacies of each brew in order to help drinkers find their dream drop.

“Delicious coffee brings people in,” says Eddie. “People usually say, ‘Oh, specialty coffee is sour – I don’t like it’. But when we think of apples, do you like a ripe or unripe apple? Of course, you want the ripe one. It’s the same thing with coffee – it’s about finding the sweet spot.”

The Hideout’s coffee menu includes three blends from Zest (and one rotating single origin) that work well with milk or black – Corcovado (with milk chocolate, vanilla nougat and macadamia notes), Libertango (a mix of white chocolate and citrus fruits offering a juicy and clean finish) and the African Mailman (a quality drop with structured acidity and smooth body).

To help give a sense of flavour profiles, each option’s description is accompanied by a trio of colours that represent the tastes – browns and yellows typically denoting a chocolatey or nutty profiles, while greens, reds and purples often refer to fruity, spiced or floral notes.

The Hideout’s pour-over bar is where you can enjoy top-end coffees. Here, a small fridge houses allocations of high-quality beans divided into three categories based on its Q grading score – standard, excellent (coffee with a Q rating of 87+) and special selection of reserve beans (all boasting ratings of 90+). There are also two special drinks on the menu, including a floating cream affogato and a purple cream cold brew.

“It is not about how many kinds we have – we will have always a lot, but the most important thing is can we brew well?” says Eddie, who also mentions that great care is taken when dialling in the machine to make sure that every shot or every batch is as good as it can be. “Coffee is the same as whiskey or wine – if you go higher quality, there’s no going back.”

With The Hideout earning a reputation for serving some of the best coffee in The City, Eddie is eager to further cement his cafe as a resource for all things coffee – not only as a cafe, but a launching pad for baristas entering competitions and a welcoming hub for the coffee community and industry at large.

There’s even talk of possibly another Hideout location in the future. All in all, not bad for a business that opened days before a paradigm-shifting pandemic.

The Hideout Specialty Coffee’s Edward Street location is now open to the public – check out the Stumble Guide for more info.

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