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May 7, 2015

Coffee Bean Shop revitalised

Between buying your in-season feijoas and witlof at the Central Markets be sure to make a pit stop at the recently revamped Coffee Bean Shop. While you're there grab an espresso, a freshly roasted bag of beans and a coffee tip or two. These guys are experts.

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  • Words: Tiarne Cook
  • Pictures: Josh Fanning

“You can sit down and have a coffee while I roast it for you and then we can bag it and you can take it home. You can’t get any fresher than that,” says Frank Mitolo, talking about the idea behind the newly refurbished Coffee Bean Shop, where customers have the chance to take part in the roasting process.


Be sure to grab a taster of Frank’s ‘Toby’ blend, their signature. A complex mix of Guatemalan, Sumatran, Ethiopian and Brazilian.

It’s been a busy few weeks for Frank and his family as their store, a Central Market institution, has undergone some dramatic changes.

You may remember The Coffee Bean Shop from years past – a dark, neon-lit corner stall, packed to the brim with coffee beans, and potential, according to Frank.

“I was a previous part owner at Brasilia Coffee and we used to supply the coffee beans here at The Coffee Bean Shop when the previous owners had it,” he says.“But I always looked at it and thought that so much more could be done with it.”

After two weeks of intensive renovations, the once drab stall is now warm and homely, offering customers a comprehensive coffee experience with the addition of a bright yellow coffee machine, and a matching three-kilogram roaster.

Frank explains that freshness is at the heart of the business, with deliveries from their Welland roastery three times per week and small, in-store roasts expected to start in the coming months.

It’s clear that a passion for the art of roasting and a willingness to keep perfecting their skill is at the very core of the business.

“That’s the exciting thing about roasting coffee,” Frank says, “Every bag is different. That’s why we don’t have automatic roasters; we do it manually. The coffee is different. If there were a computer running that it would treat the coffee all the same. But the coffee changes, year to year, state to state.”

After taking over the store three years ago, the Mitolo family has drawn inspiration from overseas to ultimately offer something unique.

“There’s a little town in Northern Italy called Valdobbiadene… And we have a little apartment near there. So we go there quite often,” says Frank, “There’s a little fellow there. His name is Luigi Spinetta and he’s got a little ten kilogram roaster and it’s in the shop, and his shop is about this big…and people come in and it’s chocka-block and the smell is amazing.”

That’s where the concept originated.

Hospitality guru and new manager of The Coffee Bean Shop, Russ McKenna, believes that the Central Markets are the perfect place for this store-cum-small batch roastery.

“It very much complements the markets itself. The market loves that, for people to be interactive. That certainly does keep that interaction going because they can see how that [roasting] process happens; from the green beans right to the drinking,” says Russ.

So whether it’s a sundried Ethiopian bean you’re after or a blend of your own making, The Coffee Bean Shop has one of the biggest, and freshest, ranges on offer.

Because as Frank observes, “People just don’t have time for a bad cup of coffee anymore.”

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