Vvaldmeer: the warm buzz of community and caffeination felt once wandering into Highgate Hill’s favourite green haven. Or at least that should be the definition if you ask us.
Owners of Gladstone Road cafe Vvaldmeer, Cam Milne and Alex Kathage, on the other hand, will inform you it is a German word translating to “forest-sea”. “[It] describes the feeling you get when looking out over a forest or field of trees, and the hills and trees combine to give you a sense that you are looking at a sea made up of trees, like a great green ocean,” describes Milne. Upon entering the cafe you might not be met with the pine scent of forest deep within the Bavarian Alps as the name suggests; however you will be greeted by the rich aroma of feshly brewed coffee and a sea of local faces.
Milne and Kathage opened Vvaldmeer back in 2017 after moving from the Gold Coast. Their eight-year friendship harked back to their years at university when they met working at a cafe. With their shared passion for coffee and past experiences, they opened Vvaldmeer cafe in November of that year. Responding to the relaxed and social vibe of the neighbourhood, the duo set their roots down within the 4101 community, endeavouring to create a nurturing business environment.
In addition to an ever-changing selection of international coffee blends, Vvaldmeer supports local suppliers such as Almanac Coffee Roasters and King Street Bakery. “We wanted to focus on remaining as independent as possible, supporting local industry, and sticking to a sustainable and environmentally friendly ethos,” explains Milne. Vvaldmeer’s environment focus is further demonstrated as a member of Responsible Cafes, an organisation embracing a culture of reuse and sustainability amongst Australian cafes. Did we mention this means a 20 cent discount on coffee for using a keep cup? “We offer a $1 discount on retail coffee beans for either of our house blend coffees if the customer brings their own bag or re-usable container for us to put the beans in,” Milne added.
The cafe is also in partnership with northside Brisbane company, Loop Growers, a venture that reduces food waste and matter by distributing produce and collecting “yield” from restaurants and cafes. This partnership means all biodegradable matter from coffee grind to the crust of some picky eaters’ toast will not go to landfill but back into the ground as compost. Vvaldmeer’s food menu offers a carefully cultivated selection of gourmet goodness served up by head chef Will Albertson. Including everything from classic eggs on toast to cardamon and vanilla spiced rice pudding Albertson adds his authentic touch. On the 2020 menu, he has even featured his mother’s chilli plum sauce on the bacon ‘n’ egg burger. “I had to beg my mum for the recipe [but] it was well worth it,“ Albertson says. So whether you are hankering for some Vvaldmeer bacon or experiencing a palatal wanderlust for exotic coffee, be sure to head into Vvaldmeer for a fresh and friendly cafe experience.
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