Gotta love a man with a story, and Frank Andrews has a good one. He left a corporate career in banking to pursue a love of coffee. He got involved in coffee roasting and won an award for his 3 Colombians blend. He opened up Cafe Without A Name in Alexandria, top rated on Beanhunter, and now, within sight of the Coca-Cola sign at Kings Cross, Frankie’s Beans is serving up premium coffee.
I was intrigued, having been invited to a special launch of the Fractional Atmospheric Brew (FAB). And by the end of the evening, I’d learned more than ever about coffee (and was completely buzzed out of my mind on caffeine).
So, here’s the scoop. There’s a new trend (how new, I’m not sure) for filter coffee. This confused me at first, since that’s what I think of as the (terrible) coffee that I grew up with in Canada, but in fact, that is coffee from an electric percolator (in the corner of college and university cafeterias, mainly, though the coffee from cafes wasn’t all that much better).
THIS coffee is water heated to exactly the right temperature, and carefully poured over freshly ground coffee, and filtered into your cup. It tastes to me more like a strong tea than the coffee I’m used to, which allows, as aficionados will tell you, different flavours and character to appear, which also change depending on the heat. It’s more of an experience of drinking fine wine, I was told: to really savour those flavours.
The problem is that it takes both time (yours) and expertise (someone else’s) to get a cup of this coffee, and you’re likely to have to pay more for it and wait for it. And the quality will depend on rather a lot of variables, including the barista’s expertise, interest or patience, the coffee, the water temperature etc.
So, working with the company Sanremo, Frankie and the team, have adapted the Sanremo Opera (which is a beautifult thing, look at it!) so that as well as your beloved latte and long black, you can get a filter coffee which is consistent and reliable, served quickly to you at a more reasonable price, and better than batch brew, long blacks or filter coffee as made by hand.
While they may be rolling out this technology and idea elsewhere, it seems that Frankie’s is where to get this new invention, for now, a truly original idea: to have a filter-like drink made from an espresso machine.
The other benefit is that the cafe can tailor-make your coffee for you on the spot. We tasted batches of a concentration of 10 and then 15 and then pretty much everything in between. It really was an interesting experience, and tasted to me really like another category of drink completely. It does have a different feel in the mouth, a cleanness, sometimes a citrus taste, some sweet or slightly sour notes, which tend to get more pronounced as the drink cools. I myself liked the brews with a bit more body to them. I wouldn’t say I’m hooked, but I’m certainly open to trying some more… and will be dragging my better half to Frankie’s when we get the chance.