I first met Frankie last year at his Alexandria café, aptly named “Café without a name”. I remember thinking how unusual the name was, yet soon realised how much it fitted in with Frank Andrews’s approach to hospitality. When Frank decided it was time to turn his roasting hobby into a career – he was leaving his Banking profession behind, and starting from square one. The café at the time had no name, so he ran a competition, inviting his customers to decide on the name. Long story short, “Café without a name” was the winning entry, and the rest is history. That was almost 3 years ago. Over the years, Frankie has won awards for his coffee, including the Silver Medal for single origin beans in the 2016 Australian International Coffee Awards. His strength not only lies in roasting, but in his customer service. Opening ‘Frankie’s Beans’ at this Darlinghurst spot created a greater capacity to build that sense of community he had mastered in Alexandria, into an area that was crying out for it. The section of Darlinghurst – just off the main beat of Kings Cross, is not famed for the calibre of coffee and service Frankie is renowned for. Since opening 3 months ago, locals have welcomed the team with open arms. I saw it with my own eyes. As I sat at the front window sipping my coffee, I watched as Frankie or one of his team greeted each customer by name. They showed a genuine interest in each and every person walking through the door. I’ve long emphasised the need for baristas to nurture that link with each customer, especially if it’s a regular customer who has shown you loyalty. You have mirrored that back to the customer by remembering their name and order. You never really know what is going on in a person’s life, and not everyone has a family or strong support network. Your smile may be the only one they receive each day. Fostering this sense of belonging is essential, and invaluable.
The space itself may be small, but it has a cosy feel – created by the warm lighting, cushioned seating, a reclaimed brick feature wall and American Oak furnishings. What captured my attention, was the white Sanremo Opera espresso machine on the main counter. It features a custom timber face with “Frankie’s Beans” laser etched into the American Oak which matches the café’s furnishings. Frankie and the team are using this machine for more than just espresso, offering a Hybrid brew option for those who enjoy a long black but also crave a little more flavour and clarity. Watch this space… more will be revealed soon.
In the hopper today?
The 3 Colombian Blend, made up of beans from the Caldas region, which have been roasted three different ways prior to blending. Frankie came up with this idea back in 2014, with the intention to bring different characteristics to the cup from the light, medium, and roast styles. It means you get a coffee that has the deep chocolate notes of the dark roast, the fruitiness from the light roast, and the mellowness from the medium roast brings them all together. It makes sense that it has won awards, as you can enjoy it with or without milk.
I also tried the single origin beans from Panama, Costa Rica, and Brazil. The Costa Rican red honey processed offering was most memorable. It had a sweetness I couldn’t deny, and instantly asked if it was a natural processed lot.
Like most who visit Frankie’s, I was fortunate enough to talk shop with staff, and was heartened to see a confident female (Fern) working the Opera with ease. It’s a true sign of an establishment doing something right when customers can sense staff are happy and take pride in their job. That’s the point of difference at Frankie’s. While many have started straying from the art of honest coffee and authentic service, its second nature to these guys and gals. It’s not laboured, nor is it compromised. Its embraced, and evident on both sides of the counter at this Kings Cross Road nook.
3/1 Kings Cross Road