Barista Andy Ross
Bean Counter Café was named by its original owner, former accountant Michael Beirne, when he set it up almost three years ago. But when Christine Filippone, a former customer, took it over three months ago, she knew better than to change the moniker. “I love the name, it’s well known and it has a great reputation,” she says. The popular café serves up to 350 cups of coffee through three peak periods daily. There’s the morning commuter rush between 7am and 9am – the café is directly opposite the Fairfield train station car park. Post-9am, the parent brigade arrives and pram parking is at a premium. When the school day is done, it’s milkshake hour.
Filippone’s parents, Alf and Silvana, bought the café for her to manage. She has retail and hospitality (waitressing) backgrounds, but the Bundoora girl had always wanted to own a café close to home. Improvements have been subtle; a revamped courtyard with high bamboo fencing, fountain, birdcage and sculptures to cater for the family-oriented crowd. But other than a coat of paint and plans to install heating and air-conditioning, Filippone says she has no intention of rewriting Beirne’s winning formula.
Andy Ross has worked at Bean Counter since it opened and now acts as head barista, a role the former graphic designer from Byron Bay takes seriously. “I’ve gotten more and more picky about the extraction process,” he says. “We run our coffee quite strong here, that’s the way the locals like it and my goal is to ensure we develop consistency so that our coffee is always pouring the same.” The café has stuck to Di Bella’s premium blend, but changes its milk brand regularly. “We’ve polished our skills (there are two other baristas) and strictly run at 23-24 seconds for each pour, we keep the dose rate in the basket the same and we ensure the espresso machine is always clean and fresh,” he says.
Bean Counter Café, 15 Railway Place, Fairfield
Phone \ 9482 1170
Barista \ Andy Ross
Coffee \ Di Bella
Barista’s choice \ Strong caffe latte
Opening hours \ Monday-Friday 7am-5pm; Saturday to Sunday 8am-4pm
It’s easy to make yourself at home at this community meeting place. Grab a timber chair, or sink into the deep-green velour, rear banquette and tune into the local gossip. Mid-morning, the staff buzzes the room, ferrying late breakfasts and early lunches to girlfriends catching up, young men in cool shades around the footpath tables and new mothers meeting each other’s babies. The soft avocado-green walls are welcoming, the music is upbeat and the leadlight windows and cane-wrapped light fittings are soothing. Milk-based coffees are the dominant order and arrive with gossamer milk and prettily etched hearts.
A shot of espresso will be dark and chocolately, with hints of rum and raisin.