Moving to Albion Park from Sydney in 2016, Brad Pettitt quickly noticed a lack of good options for specialty coffee in the area. It was a gap in the market he was keen to fill.
“It’s a growing community and we wanted to provide a place for people that appreciate specialty coffee to enjoy their morning hit,” Brad says. “I worked in cafés throughout uni, then spent seven years in the sports industry doing marketing, ticketing, and sales. I didn’t see myself going back to hospitality, but I’ve always had a love for it. When I saw the opportunity down here, it drew me back.”
Brad wanted to offer a specialty coffee experience to his customers that also had a broad appeal and would help the café build a crowd. He found what he was looking for with Toby’s Estate’s Broadway blend.
“I approached a few different roasters with the café concept and Toby’s Estate took the time to understand what we’re trying to do. They could tell we were really focused on specialty coffee and have been a terrific partner,” Brad says.
After a year, Three Flamingos had a strong enough following that Brad felt they could experiment with their house blend. The café moved from Broadway to Espresso Rico for a more distinctive taste.
“It’s a little riskier, with more punch and acidity, particularly the fresher it is. We’re going through a lot of coffee per week, so that really works for us,” Brad says.
Three Flamingos brews this coffee with a three-group La Marzocco Linea PB, and complements it with a monthly rotating range of single origins. These are served as espresso and through a range of filter options, with AeroPress and cold brew among the most popular.
“We try to balance high-volume café trade with the ability to offer something a little different to people new to filter coffee and alternative brews. We go through about 20-plus litres per week of our Cold Brew Filter, even in the colder months,” Brad says. “We converted a lot of people who were long black drinkers. It is a little lighter, sweeter, and fruitier than your full-bodied espresso drinks, and because of the rotating single origins. Our regulars enjoy the subtle variety in flavour.”
While Brad says Three Flamingos was popular for its delicious breakfast menu, COVID-19 has forced the café to shift its foodservice focus to primarily takeaway. A move that he says has provided some terrific insights into better engineering a menu to suit your venue, not the other way around.
“I think like a lot of inexperienced operators, I was so focused on building a menu to wow the local community and please our guests, not taking time to understand the margins a little better and design a menu to suit our business model. COVID provided an opportunity to do exactly that and we have seen some terrific results,” Brad says.
The pandemic hasn’t slowed Three Flamingos’ plans down either. Brad says they are expanding the venue into the building next door, hopefully finishing up by the end of the year.
“It’s going to enable us to offer dinner service with a bar, and provide our guests with a more comfortable space to relax,” he says. “Our goal has always been to create a venue in Albion Park that people can be proud of and a place people want to bring their friends and family too, and to see the community embrace us and our future plans to this point has been really satisfying.”
Three Flamingos Espresso
136 Terry Street, Albion Park, New South Wales, 2527
Open weekdays 6am to 2pm, Saturday 7am to 2pm, Sunday 8am to 2pm
(02) 4202 5544