Former IT operative Geoff Grundy recently stepped out of corporate life in favour of opening Penny Coffee in Dutton Park.
The Annerley Road brewing house is painted with charm — literally, thanks to mural artists Shani Finch and Reuben Stocks — and since opening its doors in April is already monopolising the surrounding coffee market. Swarming with buzzing locals every day of the week, Geoff says this was the change he was fantasising about when he was chained to a desk working in IT. “I worked a couple of jobs where I didn’t really like the company attitudes,” said Geoff. “I wanted a change of pace, so I turned to my love of coffee. I really like this part of Annerley Road, it makes me feel super lively. When you walk outside, it’s nice and quiet and the traffic is not too busy. This made me feel just like sitting in my backyard and relaxing.”
Stepping into the coffeehouse, there is an instant feeling of warmth as the shop is alive with chatter as customers swap pennies for thoughts. The Parallel Roasters blend fills the bungalow with notes of juicy stone fruit and Christmas spices, as the V60 quietly drips Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird and Light Coffee liquid gold. Timber tables and dripping greenery frame the space, with stone floors grounding the café in an industrial tone, with its open spaces for conversation. “I want to get to know everyone, and everyone wants to get to know us. They’re like our neighbours, and it’s nice to feel involved in the community.”
Espresso and eats go together like the ricotta and orange harmony in the café’s hotcakes, and at Penny, Geoff’s purpose to serve fresh local produce alongside his brews is palpable. Caffeine enthusiasts can choose from a simple menu dotted with nine spices chai, rich hot chocolate or a flavourful selection of teas, but Geoff’s Melbourne influence is obvious in the lack of sugar-laden coolers. “We don’t have milkshakes or any other fluffy stuff. The only thing I want to do is to provide very good coffee, food and that’s it. Everything is fresh and made daily. Everything we do we want to do it as well as possible.”
An otherwise minimal design and fitout, Penny is shrouded in a wall-size mural on the shop’s exterior by local artists and friends Shani and Reuben and their dynamic take on English comedian and musician Noel Fielding juggling a teapot and questionable cupcake. “This is a pretty old character building, so it’s important to have a bit of fun. I want to create a young atmosphere and engaging with customers. The music we play, the art up on the wall, we want people to feel our vibe.”
Ultimately Geoff is not looking for Brisbane coffee fame — just a snug community hub to hum along with passing trends. “Penny is my baby. I put a lot of work into it. For the next couple of years, I want to keep Penny quiet, just continuously updating our menu and making our food better. That’s enough.”
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