“In winter, the overnight temperature in Hahndorf gets below freezing,” says Kostas Trakas, owner of Caffiend Coffee Company on the historic town’s main street. “What better way to heat the shop than with a giant waffle iron that cooks coffee?”
“Giant waffle iron” is not a very technically correct description of the seven-kilogram Diedrich coffee roaster (nicknamed “Marlene”) that now resides in the cafe, but you get the gist. Trakas has also swapped the cafe’s old La Marzocco espresso machine for a shiny new Synesso.
“I’m pretty passionate about all aspects of coffee. I want to control every step – from start to finish,” says Trakas, who's been operating his cafe since December 2016. Prior to opening his own business, he spent a year as Mark Barun’s apprentice at The Coffee Barun, and before that he was roasting from home on a domestic “HotTop” machine. “It’s always been a hobby of mine, [I enjoyed] working on it at home and teaching myself as much as I could.”
Caffiend has always approached coffee as an exploratory experience. Several single origins are offered daily, and Trakas encourages his customers to taste something different each time they visit. It’s a fitting approach for a cafe in a world-class wine region. “In keeping with the ‘cellar door’ theme, we want to give people the opportunity to try as much as they can,” he says.
Trakas spends his days bouncing between the espresso machine and the roaster, tweaking and fine-tuning as necessary. “Getting immediate feedback from customers in the cafe is an amazing resource,” he says.
Like Jarrad Sharrock of Monday’s Coffee Company, Trakas also leant on Monastery Coffee’s Adam Marley for guidance. He spent a month practicing on Monastery’s equipment and trialling new blends for the cafe.
Trakas will soon roast every coffee that is served or sold at Caffiend. “We’ll be running a seasonal blend [and] there will be two to three origins on the shelves,” he says.
“We’ll be expanding that as rapidly as we can. It’s happened a bit faster than I’d envisaged … which is excellent, and a bit terrifying.”