If you’re not a regular of The Tiller, it’s because you don’t live anywhere near Newmarket train station. If you did, you’d be there every morning. Staff (who are lovely) operate out of a battered old orange storage container, serving up cups of liquid gold.
Chemex, AeroPress and cold drip methods are used, as are single origin coffees and a variety of ethically sourced blends; however, if you want the best of The Tiller’s coffee experience, we recommend the house espresso blend. Courtesy of Wolff Coffee Roasters, Three Mile Scrub (Newmarket’s former name) is smooth and rounded, a definite crowd-pleaser. Tiller Coffee has a stated commitment to sustainability, and therefore their house blend is often tweaked according to seasonality and availability.
Buzzwords like ‘sustainable’, ‘seasonal’, ‘ethical’ and ‘local’ are tossed around these days, but The Tiller appears to follow through. This is particularly evident in the number of local small businesses to feature on their menu. Their traditional kettle boiled bagels ($12) are sourced from The Bagel Boys, their bread and croissants are freshly baked daily by Crust & Co and their relishes and jams are made by Taringa’s Love and Provisions. An assortment of goodies is also available for takeaway, including canisters of Mörk hot chocolate mix and handmade chocolate from Bahen & Co.
The food offerings are few, but that’s because there is no padding or filler; the menu is thoughtfully curated to serve the atmosphere and ethos of the cafe and, of course, the coffee. That said, though some other brew bars’ non-coffee options can seem a bit perfunctory, The Tiller really comes through for the non-coffee drinker. In addition to looseleaf teas, they serve up Mörk hot chocolate ($4) and ginger chocolate milkshakes ($6).
A brew bar housed in a shipping container with upturned zabuton-topped plastic crates for seating and tree stumps for tables might sound like something of a hipster cliche to the more cynical among us, but rest assured that The Tiller is as much substance as style. A unique establishment, they successfully exercise their philosophy, and come off as sincere in their commitment to coffee and community.