Cobargoans valiantly caffeinated

by Flick Ruby

As a loyal customer, I’m convinced that Valiant coffee tastes even better when sipped in the backyard of the CWA cottage. I enjoy meeting people down there, especially while live music is gently playing in the background. While enjoying a quiet cuppa in the shade one Saturday morning, I asked James Bristow about what drew him to this particular location for his van?

‘The first thing I saw was how this spot would benefit mums and kids. In this backyard a toddler can play in grass and soft sand. A customer can clearly see a younger child going over the bridge and into the park to play on the play equipment. You can sit here with your friend and have some adult time while still being able to have eye contact with your children. Rather than being on gravel or somewhere they have to keep a tight eye on and manage their child, mums and dads can just relax.’  

James enjoyed four years on the highway but isn’t really missing the noise and haste of trucks and people racing in and out for take-away coffee. ‘Here it’s slow down coffee! And coffee in a mug. Now it’s a matter of being seen, but locals know I’m here. In Cobargo, I want to honour locals. Cobargo is more of a local town than a tourist town. I’ve looked after locals for four years, and they have been my bread and butter. The tourists are the icing on the cake, but it’s mostly a place for locals to hang out. I have my head down making coffee, but my customers are really appreciating the shady garden environment, with many seeing this part of town in a new way, especially the river and the sculpture walk they might have missed until now.’  

When James first scoped out the site, he noticed there was power and water at the back of the CWA. ‘I arranged to come along to the CWA monthly meeting to have my inquiry minuted. I was expecting them to be reluctant, but I still went in and gave them my spiel, and they just said Yes! They’re the big partner here because they are so positive, they are surprising and quite progressive. They enable things to happen.’  

When James ran a café for the community radio station in Alice Springs, it had rocking horses for kids to play on. He still has some and they might get spruced up for Cobargo. Valiant Coffee is open seven days a week during summer between 8 am and 1.30 pm-ish.