Freo's View

The Art and Crime of Coffee making

Posted in fremantle, tourism, Uncategorized, western australia by freoview on October 17, 2009

Even with all the tolerance in the world it is often infuriating to go out in Fremantle. Last weekend was one of those where you wonder what you have done wrong to deserve what you are getting.

Breakfast at Tasty Express on Saturday started the disappointment. Overcooked poached eggs accompanied by burnt bacon and tasteless sausages, but worse was to come. The coffee is normally very good when Dennis or Ray make it, but on this day they were not there and the espresso was thin, black, bitter drab. One sip was enough. Undrinkable.

My second try was at Amano on the strip. So far I have always had good coffee there, but this time it was similar to the bitter burnt stuff I had had at TE. Criminal.

Thanks to the Big Coffee Bean in heaven the Moore&Moore cafe made my day with their reliable and great espresso. And it always comes with a smile from some of the most delightful, multicultural young staff one could wish for. Oh to be young again…………..

But one out of three is obviously not good enough and a waste of money.

On Sunday the morning started bad again. When gorgeous Fiona makes the coffee at Vespa it is constantly good, but this time a new girl made my espresso. It was crap. Even the blueberry Danish was hard instead of crisp.

So off I went to Dolce&Salado on Douro Road. Time for a rhyme: He Ho Freo they know their espresso!

Here is my rather revolutionary suggestion to all café and restaurant owners. Train you staff! Show them how to make coffee. The inconsistency of quality is going to cost you business in the long run and I would hate to see that.

P.S. There is a new kid on the block. The Terrace, opposite Vespa. Excellent coffee and service on my first two visits there.

Roel Loopers

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6 Responses

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  1. Al said, on October 17, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Is it just training that makes a good coffee; perhaps the problem lies far deeper than that. I went to a coffee shop in the CBD, where I was served a total crap espresso by an Italian, of whom I know that he drinks espresso too. I asked him why he would serve such foam-less brown water in the first place. He to him I was of course just being rude.
    WA Cafe owners expect you to pay in advance at the counter, to take with you whatever other item you might have ordered and to grab a number (despite the fact that are only 10 tables and 4 customers).
    But the worst is yet to come; an espresso costs anywhere between 3 and 3.50, take it away and add another 50 cents. In Sydney, Wellington, Milan, Zurich and in NY, coffee is cheaper. Also, the beans you get here are usually sourced from Papa New Guinea, Indonesia or Vietnam, all of them considered ‘second class’ beans and much cheaper as beans from Peru, Brazil and Columbia.
    In summary, we pay more, we get untrained staff (or uninterested ‘baristas’) and we pay in advance.
    But not all is lost, you can buy a perfectly good Breville coffee machine with a grinder from Rickhart at around $380. You will have a return of investment within 6 months.
    Also, you can buy freshly roasted coffee from Essensa or even go organic. The service at home is unbeatable too.
    Save money stay home! Eventually, they will learn.

    • freoview said, on October 18, 2009 at 1:49 am

      I agree that one could possibly get better coffee and food at home and cheaper as well, but part of the fun of having a coffee, drink, meal somewhere is to engage with the community, meet people, do a bit of people watching, feel part of life and have a sense of belonging.
      Home is a good place, but also where duties are. Going out is a special treat that we all deserve and should not be hesitant about because of bad quality or service.

      Roel Loopers

  2. Alex said, on October 18, 2009 at 12:54 am

    Hey Roel! Great that you’ve started a forum like this. Yes, even though Freo has its “capuccino strip”, the chances of getting a good coffee along there can be a bit hit or miss. Mt Lawley out our end of town has lifted its game here with places like Cantina but there’s still a lot of bad coffee out there. Keep them honest.

    As you say, staff training would seem to be at the heart of this. I asked for a double ristretto at MilkD in North Perth and got a cup of, well, dishwater. I sent it back and another member of staff poured a brilliant one for me. It’s important to speak up and show them that you care about what you’re getting. Maintain the vigil! Good coffee is important.

  3. Alex said, on October 18, 2009 at 12:57 am

    PS another site I like where the blogger is passionate about Perth coffee is

  4. Theo. Bennett said, on October 20, 2009 at 4:21 am

    Sounds good Roel.

    But may I ask for a ‘bottonless cup’?

    Or would that be grounds for divorce…!

    Seriously, that’s something I hold fond in
    memory about Fremantle. The bookshops
    and coffee.

    And the girls.

    Oh yes. The girls.

    Hey Ho, the gorgeous girls of Freo…!

    Well, you know…

    – Theo.


  5. Miss Ted said, on October 30, 2009 at 2:48 am

    Hi Ho

    I follow the barrista like I follow my hairdresser and my dentist and my doctor – where they work I follow ….

    My favourite men are Nathan and David ex-Moore&Moore & ex-Hubbles
    Talented with the bean … and other things ….

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