The “brothers” have gone, but owner George Kelzi says their legacy lives on at his popular Richmond café.
The Haralambopoulos brothers – Con, Peter and Jim – developed a reputation for caffeine excellence, winning national and international latte art and barista competitions during the time they ran the business.
Kelzi, who has owned cafés in the city including The Daily Grind and Kelzi’s Café, took over 7 Grams in October 2009. He says “the brothers” stayed and worked with him for a few months before opening their city café, 65 Degrees, early last year.
“We learnt everything we could from Peter and Con. They are so well regarded in this industry,” he says.
Kelzi, who had most recently run a bottleshop and supermarket at Docklands, kept the name of the café too, which reflects the volume of coffee in a standard, single espresso shot.
“Ten to 15 years ago, the café business was very different,” he says. “People came to cafés for the food and the coffee was very much in the background. But now it’s the coffee that is the drawcard.”
The café has continued to use Veneziano’s Forza coffee blend – it’s the one customers are familiar with, says Kelzi. As an espresso it’s full-bodied, dark and caramelly, with uplifting notes of orange and liquorice.
During the morning rush, four baristas work the three-group La?Marzocco espresso machine. “One pours the shots, one textures the milk, one pours the coffees and we have one person who organises the flow of orders,” says Kelzi. “Ninety-five per cent of our business is takeaway orders and our customers want their coffee fast.” There’s a bit of latte art on show, and some staff are considering entering the competition arena. But mostly it’s about the quality of the coffee. As head barista, Kelzi keeps rigid control of that; after all, there’s quite a reputation to keep up.
7 Grams, 505 Church Street, Richmond
Phone \ 9429 8505
Barista \ George Kelzi
Coffee \ Veneziano
Barista’s choice \ Three-quarter flat white
Open \ Monday to Friday 5.30am-4pm
Floor space might be limited but the volume and quality of the coffee and food knows no bounds. Fresh cakes, cookies, salads, sandwiches and hot food fill the glass display case and the brick-red espresso machine keeps the caffeine pumping from the early hours each weekday. Caffe latte-coloured walls hold menu blackboards and brightly coloured coffee sacks, while a long mirror, glossy black counter and black bar stools play host to those lingering or waiting for their order. But that’s pretty much it for décor. The pleasant, swift staff make each brief encounter memorable, dispensing both regular and drop-in orders with equal efficiency and charm.