Strange Brew: Caffiend brings Hills hospitality to the city

Caffiend Coffee Company aims to make a mark on the city’s burgeoning speciality coffee scene with a shared roastery and coffee classes.

Having built a notable reputation at its Hahndorf location since it opened in December 2016, Caffiend’s owner and head roaster Kostas Trakas brought his familial hospitality and coffee downtown. The chance to do so came about when a familiar listing came up for lease on Synagogue Place off Rundle Street.

“It kind of had a bit of a soft spot in our heart because when my partner and I were both at uni, we used to come to Fancy Burger that was here all the time and we absolutely loved it,” Trakas says.

“It was such a cool venue and a really cool spot. What they did with the space was awesome as well and when we saw it come up for lease and I walked through it again I thought I could definitely see this working here.”

A month on from its launch, the CBD coffee shop has become Caffiend Coffee Company’s flagship store, run by Trakas while his Hahndorf shop is managed by a senior colleague. Kostas said shifting the on-site roasting to the city has enabled him to better manage the expansion of his retail coffee sales and keep enough coffee available for in-store customers.

“Our design for the space was built around having our roaster here and having it as a central distribution point for both our wholesale and retail options for the café,” Trakas says. “A pretty solid day in the roastery is about 20 roasts. We generally do anywhere up to 150kg of wholesale a week and then however much the two cafes are going through.”

“We have a Diedrich IR-7 [coffee roaster], it’s one of the last runs of the 7kg shop roaster model they made before they switched to 5 and 12 kilo roasters. However, we’re rapidly outgrowing it and we’re probably going to have to look to upgrade to something else in the not too distant future.”

Trakas acquires his specialty grade coffee beans through Latorre & Dutch coffee traders in New South Wales, who ethically source them from overseas growers.

“The ethics behind what we do is central to our vision for coffee as well, Trakas says. “There’s no point in making an extra buck if people at the bottom end are going to struggle to feed themselves, so I’m careful to source only ethically traded coffees.”

“In terms of origins, we’ve got our seasonal blend [that] is currently running with a El Salvador, Brazilian and Ethiopian coffee,” says Trakas. “I tend to like pretty funky fruity coffees so there’s plenty of African coffee getting through what we do. Apart from that we usually have about five or six single origins on-hand every time and I just rotate through them seasonally. We try to pass along everything we do in our roastery onto our retail shelf as well.”

Caffiend Coffee Company’s move into the city comes as Adelaide’s coffee scene undergoes its own steady growth, with a number of specialty coffee cafes opening across the CBD in recent years. However, Trakas believes his business can still make a positive impact for customers and the local coffee industry.

“The important thing is creating a point of difference and your own style,” Trakas says. “How many other venues can you think of that roast their coffee a stone’s throw from Rundle Mall? That gives us access to not only a demonstration of what we’re doing that makes us unique – literally having our tools on display during service – but also opens the doors to using the venue as an educational space and uniting force for the coffee community.”

Having previously worked under experienced coffee roasters and baristas such as Mark Barun from The Coffee Barun and Adam Marley from Monastery Coffee Roasters, Trakas wants to play a part in fostering the city’s coffee scene through opening a shared roastery in his café.

“We are just beginning to expand our roasting section into a co-roasting space as which means that other café owners and people in the industry can come through use the equipment, roast their coffees, learn from us, we learn from them, everyone wins,” Trakas says.

Furthermore, Trakas also plans to begin a program of coffee classes to share his knowledge with local baristas and coffee enthusiasts alike. Along with the classes, which he expects to start by the end of the year, Trakas says he is looking to find new ways to broaden his offering, ambitious as it may.

“For the immediate future, it’s just about building up steam in the café sharing what we’re doing here with as many people as we can,” Trakas says.

“In terms of what I personally am doing it’ll very much be expanding that co-roasting space and our own offering in terms of coffee varietals and experiential stuff for people to come through and try.”

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