Prior to taking ownership of Bang & Grind in 2016, Tony Barr was a long-time regular of the Cairns café.
“I’ve been in the business since 1994 and this is my fifth store. I realised it had a lot of potential as a coffee shop, especially in the busy city area,” Tony says.
“We’re fortunate to have had the last owners work hard to slowly build up good trade. It was challenging, but we continued to build on that and create a hip little place with a good vibe to it.”
Former owners Kirby and Sarah Koopman sold the café to Tony so they could focus on their wholesale business, Ransom Specialty Coffee Roasters, which still supplies coffee to Bang & Grind.
“We’ve got two really good blends on offer [Naked Honey Badger and Screaming Maasai]. They’ve got different characteristics, so we can offer a variety of options when we sell our coffees,” Tony says.
“I love the flavour, especially of the Naked Honey Badger blend, which has good sweet undertones and chocolate flavours and a depth of character to it. Screaming Maasai has Ethiopian beans in the blend, giving it a longer aftertaste and a more robust flavour.”
Coffee is prepared with a three-group head Synesso unit, with additional timers installed so the barista can monitor extraction times throughout the day.
“As the day starts and progresses, the barista watches the time and works within a window. If the extraction drifts out, either under or over, they know they have to adjust the grind to keep it pouring correctly,” Tony says. “It’s a great way to keep track. For example,
if it’s an overcast, showery day, the coffee can behave differently to a sunny hot day.”
In a competitive area like Cairns, Tony says it is important to remember the people who make the café a success.
“We’re in the city centre, so there’s a lot of professional people and tourists that come and go throughout the year, which means business can go up and down,” Tony says.
“But we have a good local clientele. More than 75 per cent of our customers live in the area, and that’s because we make sure our regulars are taken care of.”