ONE of my first jobs in journalism was an internship at a country lifestyle magazine.

As a 22-year-old student, the idea that I could rock up to the office armed with a pen and paper before jumping into the car with a photographer and head off into hill and dale to write stories just seemed too good to be true. That internship morphed into part time work, and eventually full time employment with a newspaper. I always look back on my time in lifestyle writing with great fondness and happiness.

One of the first articles I ever wrote was a review of the Coffee Collective in my hometown of Wonthaggi. This cafe has - quite literally - fuelled my writing. This article was my first paid piece of writing, and years later when I was a journalist for the South Gippsland Sentinel Times, the cafe by serendipitous chance was situated right across the road from the newsroom. Many morning coffees helped get the news onto the stands each week, so every time I'm back in town I love to stop by and see how James, Ella, and the crew are getting on. Plus, they do the best cold brew in town! 

This article was first published in Gippsland Country Life in 2014. 

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With a strong focus on local produce and high quality of food and drink,  The Coffee Collective cafe in Wonthaggi is serving up delicious hand made meals and great coffee to appreciative locals.

Local couple James Archibald and Ella Godbold place a strong emphasis on locally sourced Gippsland produce and source high quality coffee that rivals some of the best I’ve sampled in Melbourne.

Situated on McBride Avenue in the town centre, The Coffee Collective is a warm, intimate space. Perfectly preserved red brick walls which were hidden away for years behind plaster have been stripped back  and are now accentuated by high ceilings and red pressed metal panels. Old flood lights salvaged by James now take pride of place hanging over the large wooden table in the front window of the cafe.

Clearly passionate about providing a memorable experience for their customers, Ella and James are kind and inviting to each person who walks through the door, and are more than happy to offer their suggestions for the more indecisive consumer.

“For us, it’s all about using fresh local products, offering great coffee and bringing the community together in a friendly, convivial atmosphere,” said James.

The Coffee Collective has become something of a meeting place for the locals to grab a quality coffee and a delicious meal. The almond crusted French toast with stewed strawberries and a rich vanilla cream was my personal favourite; a decadently delicious way to begin my morning. The pulled pork baguette (a French style baguette filled with slow cooked free range pork, house made BBQ sauce and a fresh citrus ‘slaw) is a must try, and the creamy lattes with no trace of bitterness are an example of the high standards now affiliate with the cafe.

In a town steeped in history but with it’s eye clearly set on the future,  The Coffee Collective have successfully established a business with a distinctly modern feel whilst retaining the beauty of the historic buildings and the rural quaintness of country life.

Open for breakfast and lunch 6 days a week (closed on Sundays), The Coffee Collective has been a hit with locals and visitors alike.

5-52 McBride Avenue, Wonthaggi.

Made StuchberyComment