Coffee & lifestyle store
“The joy of slowing down and taking it in.”
It was the notion of putting in practice what we tell others to do. Slow down. In the case of Dani Hanrahan and German Salamanca, they were looking for the ability to just pause and be a bit more mindful around what they were doing.
“German came up with the name ‘Slowwell’ combining slow and wellbeing. It remained in the idea stage for a while whilst we did other things. We knew we wanted to move outside Sydney. We loved the thought of Newcastle, our first thought was the South Coast, but knowing I needed to get to Sydney still, we discovered that the Central Coast was the perfect somewhere in-between,” Dani said.
Last year was a polarising year for everyone in different ways, for Dani & German it was the year that meant moving forward and a global crisis led to their catalyst for change.
“When covid hit and events got cancelled – this is it we thought – this is the window of opportunity. When is this going to happen again? We checked that removalists were still operating and here we are.”
Talk about living in the moment. With Dani being a psychotherapist and counsellor & German working in the coffee industry for over 12 years, Dani explains,
“We always thought it would be cool to combine our interests in something. Life was so hectic in Sydney and I was seeing clients and running a lot of the corporate workshops. German was doing coffee events; life was hectic, and we started having conversations around things I actually was talking to clients about which was to step out of autopilot and slow down.”
On moving to the Coast Dani continues, “We really wanted to embody the lifestyle and embody slow living ourselves. We found this building, there was no for lease sign. German found the real estate agency and it was available. It will eventually be knocked down, but we thought let’s do a 12-month lease and see the reception to what we want to do.
“This concept around combining just health and well-being books, slow brew coffee, no milk, and therapy space. It is a lot for an area that may not be as new to this as it is in Sydney. So, these next 12-months is a way to experiment and test the concept.”
When you come to Slowwell, expect a full lifestyle experience, and mainly you come for the slow brew coffee. They just do filter coffee here. German explains,
“For us, it is just more of a natural way of doing coffee, very personal. With a machine, it does everything for you. With filtered coffee, the way you pour the water, the time you take is more mindful. Every person that makes it will taste a little different because you pour the water in different ways. It is just a more mindful and personal way of doing coffee. It extracts more delicate flavours from the coffee beans, that espresso wouldn’t extract that with this method you get a lot of floral, citrus notes things like that you end up with a much more complex drink,” German explains.
German continues about the roasters they are using, “We use different coffee beans from across Australia, we rotate them every month or 6 weeks. Market Lane from Melbourne, Legend from Gosford, Grace, and Taylor from Sydney and Toby’s Estate is our reserve coffee – it’s the pinot noir of coffee, it is very delicate, very clean coffee.”
"Also available in the store is all the coffee gear a home slow brewer could want. Dani explains, “one of the big things German wanted to do is to when you go to a café you see coffee gear in boxes. He wanted people to be able to come in and touch and feel the products, so everything here is unboxed."
“One of the things about the philosophy of slowing down is a way to be more mindful with ourselves, one of the ways we see you can do that is through slow brew coffee. So, we wanted to grow awareness about coffee. Not the cappuccino/short back culture. There is more to it.”
German talks about it further, “People are buying the simple brewer and moving away from espresso and wanting to create a ritual around coffee and personalising the experience for themselves. It takes 3-4 minutes to brew, you pour the water slowly, whereas espresso is quick. It’s a ritual and now appreciating something they have always enjoyed but now have a deepening knowledge and awareness of what this is. It’s like wine in a way.”
On the rest of the concept Dani shares, “We have some lifestyle books, we curated those to ensure they still have a health component. Most are more personal development, looking at the mind, neuroplasticity, self-exploration and emotional intelligence.”
Dani is also seeing clients here in consultation rooms in the back as well as hosting workshops such as Know yourself a journey towards greater self-awareness and manifest your dream life, and the power of visualisation. There has been a positive reception to these, and the feedback has been people want to see more of these workshops.
Mental wellness is a real theme here taking the taboo or stigma away and creating more awareness around the subject. German explains, “it is not just psychological it’s about ritual.”
You quickly realise it is not a café – it is not a book shop. There is an unexpected sentiment about community and going slow that has resonated with people and the audience is growing.