28/05/2008 - 22:00

Blink – big-city coffee in Fremantle

28/05/2008 - 22:00

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Entrepreneur Garrett Walsh is an ideas man.Credited with launching small businesses including Café Greco, Hot Box and the Matilda Bay Kiosk, the hospitality veteran is always on the lookout for a new concept.

Blink – big-city coffee in Fremantle
DON\'T MISS IT: Because he runs a one man show at Blink, Garrett Walsh says his brews\' consistency is assured. Photo: Grant Currall.

Entrepreneur Garrett Walsh is an ideas man.

Credited with launching small businesses including Café Greco, Hot Box and the Matilda Bay Kiosk, the hospitality veteran is always on the lookout for a new concept.

"I've always started things," he told Gusto.

Mr Walsh's latest venture is Blink Coffee, on High Street in Fremantle.

While it may be small in size, Blink is far from a small fish in a big pond, taking on Fremantle's renowned coffee culture and its established coffee makers.

The port city is well known for its cafes, where baristas deliver hundreds of brews each day for loyal customers.

And with a long, and growing, list of variations - short black, long black, ristretto, latte, doppio, cappuccino, macchiato, flat white, and mocha among them - a good coffee in a comfortable cafe is something to savour across the broader metropolitan area, as the growing number of quality venues in the Perth suburbs indicates.

But Mr Walsh isn't convinced, and says the best brews are still found in Freo.

"It's just that, in Perth, you pay a lot of money for coffee and it's mediocre-to-bad coffee," he says.

Ironically, he believes Blink's small size gives it an advantage over the competition, particularly where staffing is concerned.

"It's literally under a staircase; it's a great little space, you can come in have your coffee, there's no staff and that's the main thing, there's no staff," Mr Walsh says. "It's called Blink because of that, because if you walk past, you'll miss it.

"I've started all sorts of different things, but I could just see that this was a perfect location for a coffee shop.

"There are other good people who serve good coffee in Fremantle, there's no doubt about it, but it's staff driven.

"When the staff changes in a big coffee shop, a different coffee maker comes in and makes different coffee.

"At Blink, I'm the one who does it, so if it's not good it's my fault.

"What you've got to realise is that the quality of coffee comes from the capability of the barista. You can pay top dollar for coffee and it's not always good.

"My coffee is price-driven; it's good coffee and it's cheap."

Another reason for Blink's success, according to Mr Walsh, is the "theatre" of his service and a deliberate attempt to not treat customers as "just another number".

"Customers love it because it's very 'Melbourne' [at Blink]; I mean it's like a hole in the wall, something you'll find in New York. It's the concept of a big city in a small city like Perth. You know the whole closeness of small things," he says. "My customers love the theatre of it all."

According to Mr Walsh, the key to making a quality brew is being a coffee lover.

"To make good coffee you need to ensure the freshness of the beans," he says.

"The beans here are roasted every week before I get them.

"The coffee has to be the right temperature and you need consistency of the beans in the grind. If you know how to cook the bean, then the principles of cooking make it possible."

Mr Walsh says although Blink is roasting the competition at the moment, he's always open to offers, if the price is right.

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