Hidden panels and cafe secrets

I'm always amazed at the secrets buildings can hold. As a child I discovered a secret panel in a wall with some keepsakes, quite possibly the highlight of my 7 year old life. More recently, in fact just last week, I came across a narrow cupboard to the right of the stove where my other half had been storing wine glasses. Always assuming a fixed panel, this was a fairly embarrassing discovery given we've lived in that apartment for close to a year. 

Well I'm here to tell you that Groundswell Cafe has secrets too! 

Last week our amazing supporters at Pallet Coffee Roasters came by with Doug Graf of Vintage Coffee to help assess our install options for our 3kg roaster (more on that later!). After spending many hours in the cafe, I can honestly say I'd never made it to the very back of the cafe. There's a bathroom? Oh wait, a whole room dedicated to storage? After the earlier panel-come-cupboard incident you, like me, are starting to think I need my eyes checked.

But this was just the beginning. These obvious finds were well superseded by accessing the upstairs tenancy and the adventure that followed. A head out the window of the upstairs tenant's bathroom attested we had a solid option for piping through a skylight to the roof level, the option we'd thought most viable based on the placement of beams and outside access. At this point peering at the narrow ledge and acknowledging my genuine fear of heights I was feeling pretty glad this aspect of coffee roasting was off my hands. 

So low and behold. A few days later a second look through, this time with landlord, led us through a labyrinth of exhaust pipes in a hidden cupboard through the back. Where did it lead? The alley! But alas, what could have been a ridiculously convenient option didn't turn out to be. Although well located, the fan wasn't quite strong enough and the distance of pipe a challenge. Feeling inspired at new options, we came back to the (soon to be!) roasting corner.

groundswell cafe

A glance up at the ceiling showed some crumbling brickwork, with a small hole in a section of the wall. The landlord thought for a moment and then remembered that there may have been two stoves used to warm the building when it was originally built, before the times of gas heating. At this point these 'chimneys' seemed so obvious! Two rectangular, brick columns jutting out from the wall, how did we not consider what these were? Feeling content it was not just I who had oblivious eyes in need of a service, we put this option forward as Plan A - the first 'chimney' was right behind where the roaster would sit, minimizing the amount of piping and complexity required to channel the exhaust. 

So hold tight! At this point the mystery remains unsolved. We'd need a final check from the roof, to be sure these chimneys do flow down as we suspect. What a tease that we couldn't access the roof with the ladder available. Clambering on rooftops is next on the agenda... until then, back to roasting!

Yours in coffee,

Attie