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Peter Frangoulis didnt dare to expect the success thats come his way since he opened Dukes Coffee Roasters just over a year ago. He knew the Windsor area wasnt quite as upmarket as the top end of Chapel Street, but there was still plenty of quality competition.
Now his coffee house is the one with the queues out the door and his following is loyal and regular. Dukes is Frangoulis third café, and his first roasting venture. He bought a 15-kilogram Joper roaster from Portugal and began learning all he could. For the first six to eight months, things were quiet. The café now offers a house blend and two single-origin coffees daily and Frangoulis has built a proficient team of baristas who understand his vision and work comfortably with his product. The eclectic Windsor crowd has appreciated his efforts, and the roomy, brightly lit, timber-lined space is busy on weekdays and packed on weekends. Experimentation with syphon coffee has been interesting, says Frangoulis. Some customers are keen to tackle something new but most are happier with a classic espresso. Hes running one single-origin coffee through the syphon daily and hoping the trend will grow.
Six years in the hospitality industry prepared Shrian Bhagwandas (pictured) somewhat for his role as a barista at this frantic-paced coffee house but he never foresaw how his skill and knowledge could bloom. Bhagwandas, one of the original members of the Dukes crew, honed his skills in the early days, when things were quieter. Now he works in a tight-knit team of baristas. The challenge of learning about flavour profiles and espresso extraction techniques has inspired him and hes developed an interest in coffee art, too. This down-to-earth barista is comfortable with the customers who want that little bit extra and the hordes who simply queue for their daily caffeine hit.
Dukes Coffee Roasters, 169 Chapel Street, Windsor
Phone 9521 4884
Barista Shrian Bhagwandas
Baristas choice ¾ flat white
Open Monday- Saturday 7am-4pm; Sunday 8am-4pm
The chalkboard above the timber-beam-lined counter at Dukes features coffees and tasting notes from Rwanda, Kenya, Indonesia, Guatamala, El Salvador and more. Beside it, syphons, plungers, pour-over cups and accessories are lined up for sale on shelves, while on the terrazzo-look polished-concrete floors below, proficient, obliging staff glide between timber tables and padded black banquettes, delivering the good-looking results of the display above. A house-blend flat white will be subtle and nutty, without a hint of acidity, while an espresso, regardless of bean of choice, will be viscous and well put together. Food choices here are inventive and attract a ravenous, arty crowd.