26/11/2009 - 00:00

Vincent vies for coffee connoisseurs

26/11/2009 - 00:00

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GROWING up near Angove Street in North Perth, Peter Rozsy has witnessed the evolution of the once-sleepy suburban streetscape into a vibrant cafe strip.

Vincent vies for coffee connoisseurs

GROWING up near Angove Street in North Perth, Peter Rozsy has witnessed the evolution of the once-sleepy suburban streetscape into a vibrant cafe strip.

The owner of Piccolo restaurant and cafe for the past four years likens its appeal to some of Melbourne’s more fancied inner-city cafe strips.

“Piccolo was actually the first [cafe] here on the spot so it’s been a transformation over the past 15 years,” Mr Rozsy told Gusto.

“I was born in the area and I know it well; it is great to be part of something that has evolved rather than been planted.”

Mr Rozsy says while Piccolo has changed over the years (it was a cake shop in the 1960s), new coffee shops in the area are attracting customers to the suburban precinct in the Town of Vincent, drawing people from established cafe spots like Northbridge and the CBD.

That evolving coffee culture is expected to attract more than 5,000 caffeine connoisseurs to Angove Street on November 29 for the Vincent Cappuccino Festival.

Town of Vincent Mayor Nick Catania hopes the festival will follow up on last year’s success.

“We are famed for our cafe culture and this festival really captures the spirit of our community and our cosmopolitan lifestyle,” Mr Catania says.

Coffee has become big business across the country. Australia imports virtually all of its coffee – about 45,000 tonnes of dry green bean for total retail sales value reaching $640 million a year.

Research shows more than 1 billion cups of coffees are consumed in cafes, restaurants and other outlets each year in Australia.

Western Australians are becoming more discerning in their tastes, evidenced Mr Rozsy says by the higher cost of a coffee in WA compared to the eastern states, meaning fewer customers are willing to accept cheaper alternatives.

He says the point of difference in Perth is employing baristas who are not only adept in making fine coffee, but know the industry.

While coffee prices remain on par among the cafes of Angove Street, Mr Rozsy says Piccolo’s decision to specialise in Italian roasted coffee from Bibra Lake-based Caffe Landucci gives it a competitive edge.

He also invests heavily in training his certified baristas, with each coffee maker required to undertake a range of training courses with the state’s finest baristas to hone their skills before working at Piccolo.

“More people are becoming more discerning about coffee and if we are to get people to Angove Street for coffee, we have to make sure we not only provide the finest coffee, but our guys have to know how to make great coffee too,” he says.

“It’s all about technique and knowing how to roast the beans and make each cup as good as the last.”

Owner of award-wining Angove Street cafe Milkd, Lorena Tati, agrees, saying that’s what the cappuccino festival celebrates.

Ms Tati says the festival strengthens her business strategy to attract coffee lovers out of the busy hubs and into suburbia.

By choosing less established coffee venues away from the regular cafe strips, her philosophy is to set a precedent rather than becoming another addition to the mass market.

“The Vincent Cappuccino Festival takes people into the suburbs, which is what I’m doing with Milkd; it’s what I’ve always tried to do with all my ventures,” Ms Tati told Gusto.

Ms Tati says she will open her small coffee shop to the street for the event, bringing in two more coffee machines to cater for the 600-plus coffee lovers anticipated to walk through her doors on November 29.

The Pantry Door co-owners, Tracey Hogan and Jonathan Legros, will also expand their French-style store-cum-cafe business for the festival.

The cafe, which specialises in West Perth-based Fiori Coffee, differentiates itself by offering French-style coffee – coffee blended with hot milk, traditionally served in deep, porcelain bowls.

Mr Legros is the French connection, moving from France to Australia five years ago.

A trained chef, he hails from a classical French pastry background, with experience in the US and Spain.

Ms Hogan, who has operated hospitality ventures on King Street and in East Perth, says while coffee is an important aspect of the business, offering dishes to accompany the beverage is just as important.

 

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