THE word is getting around the Wheatbelt that there is some pretty good coffee on offer out Bruce Rock way.
A relatively new option for locals and tourists alike, Myola Café Nursery only opened on March 11 this year, but in that time has already struck a chord with many customers.
And it’s not just the freshly-ground Arabic coffee made lovingly by the Juhas family at the business that operates from its property, 15 kilometres east of Bruce Rock on the Wogarl West Road, that is resonating with people.
It is the overall experience that the family has been able to create for customers at what it refers to as its own little piece of paradise, which they simply want to share with as many people as possible.
The idea for the business, which combines a café serving quality coffee and delicious cakes and lunches with a nursery displaying and selling a variety of plants and trinkets, was borne out of the personal experience of family matriarch Taria Juhas.
For a year, Taria cared for her mother Helga when she became affected by dementia.
Her mother was extremely fond of having a chat over coffee and cake, and also had a great love for gardens.
But her condition meant Taria was unable to take her on long car trips as she would become disoriented and in turn agitated.
And with a lack of venues available in a close radius to her home, particularly on weekends, it was a special outing Taria could rarely enjoy with her mother.
Even when her mother was later moved to a nursing home, Taria was frustrated by a lack of venues to take her to on her weekly visits.
“We would end up having a coffee at the nursing home, but mum would get frustrated that there were other patients around,” Taria said.
She would often think how nice it would be to go somewhere for a coffee and cake and be able to have a quiet chat in beautiful surroundings, rather than a sterile hospital environment.
After Helga passed away last year, Taria set about turning her dream into a reality.
With the support of husband Frank, she embarked on the journey of setting up the small business, naming it after their farm “Myola”, which also happens to be the Aboriginal word for ‘dawn of day’.
They converted a shed on their 65 hectare property, complete with a commercial kitchen, and decked it out with tables and chairs, as well as sourcing a variety of plants, wall art and nicknacks to create their nursery.
“I wanted to create somewhere for people to spend time with their loved ones, without having to travel too far,” Taria said.
“After my experience, I thought how many other people have loved ones that they would like to take for a short drive to sit down and have coffee and cake.”
It has certainly struck a chord with locals and tourists alike, with some travelling from places including Lake Grace, Southern Cross, Two Rocks, Yanchep and even Carnarvon.
The popularity of the concept has surprised Taria and Frank, who were so busy serving customers that their daughter Sarina has since relocated to help run the business.
It is a family affair, as their other children, daughter Rebecca and son Rodney also often lend a hand.
They are now investigating the possibility of expanding the business, and even setting up a caravan park on the property.
Taria said many people had commented that the coffee they served was the best they had tasted for hundreds of kilometres, which was a testament to the extensive training she, Frank and Sarina had done in ensuring they created a great cuppa.
The offering at Myola, open from 9am to 4pm each Wednesday to Sunday as well as public holidays, is centred around coffee and cake, with a lunch menu also available.
Taria enjoys making the cakes and when she has time, will dip into her Finnish heritage to recreate traditional recipes including cappuccino cake, but she also engages a local lady to make them when time doesn’t permit.
They are conscious of providing options for people who may have specific dietary requirements.
The lunch menu includes vegetable lasagne and also quiche, while sandwiches- both fresh and toasted are always available.
Taria has plans to expand the lunchtime options, and is contemplating branching out into evening meals in future.
Currently, the Juhas have been helping to fill a gap in the local market, particularly on weekends and public holidays when there is no coffee shop open in many neighbouring towns.
Proving extremely popular are their Sunday roasts, which are offered from 12-3pm and alternate between pork, lamb and beef.
Taria delights in serving a traditional meal, complete with all the trimmings, including roast vegetables, cauliflower cheese and Frank’s famous garlic bread.
The meal can also be bought take-away, which she said many people would buy to deliver to a friend who may not be able to come along for a sit-down meal.
“There are a lot of people who may be by themselves and don’t want to cook a roast just for themselves, so they can come here,” Taria said.
“At least I know they eat well at least once a week.”
She is even receiving requests about making pizzas for local farmers, particularly with the long hours looming at harvest time, while there have also been suggestions of catering for breakfast demands with egg and bacon rolls.
Even though they are not officially open on Mondays and Tuesdays, Taria said they were happy to open on those days for private bookings.
She said some nursing homes scheduled outings on Mondays or Tuesdays, which she was more than happy to accommodate.
“I’m not an expert, but I think there is something very therapeutic about this place, as it gives people somewhere to go, particularly people who may be on their own.
“And it is very tranquil- many will sit and order, and then simply read a book.”
Taria said incorporating a nursery into the business also seemed to have a positive impact on visitors, particularly elderly people.
“Many customers will just wander around and look at all the plants and flowers, and for some it has renewed their interest in gardening,” she said.
“And for others, I have seen it jog their memory and they will reminisce about when they used to grow particular plants or flowers.”
Taria said they were helping to fill a gap in the local market, offering vegetable plants and seedlings, and a range of flowers, with an ability to order varieties in on request, as there wasn’t a nursery in Bruce Rock.
The trinkets and wall art were selected by Taria and Sarina, who were always on the look out for unique items.
And Frank has taken to creating a talking point among customers, sourcing life-like statues including a gorilla and lion that are displayed at the café.
For Taria, the nursery was not about selling the plants or other items – rather, it was about creating a point of interest for people while at the café.
The pride is evident in Taria’s voice as she talks about the café, and it is obvious that to her it is more than a business – it is her way of bringing a bit of joy into the lives of other people and she takes heart from the fact people can do something with their loved ones that she couldn’t do with her mother.
“I really enjoy seeing people come here, sit and have a coffee, and have a chat in a beautiful atmosphere,” she said.
“It really is a little oasis in the middle of nowhere.”