Campos’ second Sydney store is nothing special from the outside. Blink and you’ll miss it, as the old saying goes. And in fact, I did- for three whole months. It was only when I came out of Dan Murphy’s a couple of weeks ago that I noticed a café across the road, and headed over to check it out. ‘I think it’s a real Campos,’ I marvelled to my boyfriend, meaning it’s not just some café that stocks Campos but it is actually a coffee bar they own and run. We had to give it a try.
Even though I’m quite capable of making my own coffee, I’ve got to admit my heart skipped a beat at the thought a of a solid, reliable coffee shop walking distance from my house, maybe with somewhere nice to sit rather than our slowly deteriorating, floods-when-it-rains, overpriced terrace. On entering the store I was not disappointed. Polished concrete floors, exposed brick, high ceilings, industrial fittings, floor to ceiling windows – can I move in here?
You’ll find Don Campos at ‘The Fountain’, a newly gutted and refurbished warehouse on Fountain Street, Alexandria that’s been subdivided into yet-to-be-leased retail space. Right now Campos is the only tenant on the ground floor so there’s an eerie sense of space. You can take a seat at one of their trademark annoyingly high stools or sit outside surrounded by industrial bleakness but don’t worry, this area is well on its way to full gentrification á la Danks Street.
As with Campos’ Newtown store, you order and pay at the counter and the staff bring the coffee to your table. Food is self serve at the time of ordering and there’s a filtered water tap embedded in a window-side bench if you need your thirst quenched. The menu is minimalist- miniature sandwiches and jewel-like cakes encrust the front counter. We got our coffees quickly, although there was a bit of a wait between them, which I always find a tad odd, especially as we ordered a macchiato and a piccolo latte.
The emphasis here is well and truly on the coffee, which is as it should be. There are various blends and single origins to try, as well as Campos’ sparkling long black which I’ve yet to sample. Don Campos claims to be Sydney’s first Siphon Bar, siphon coffee being a coffee geek’s dream fusion of coffee and chemistry which is super trendy these days. So don your hipster specs and have a go. Or let these guys do it for you.
The verdict? Delicious. These guys made my dream macchiato, a drink which is known for being slightly different everywhere. I like mine with a decent amount of foam and a dash of milk. I’ve visited Don Campos three times in two weeks and all of my coffees have been a sight to behold, swirls of smooth, perfectly textured milk and a crema-rich coffee shot. The first time I went I had their dark City blend, which was fantastically rich and dark without being bitter. The other times I’ve been I had what I assume was their Superior Blend, which I sometimes buy pre-ground for home use. I found that less impressive, lacking the punch I was after.
There is admittedly a lot of hype around Campos as a brand and, as with all hype, take it with a grain of salt. I will say that they choose which cafés they supply very carefully, in accordance with their ‘charter’, and I can also honestly say I have never had a bad Campos Coffee. However, that doesn’t mean every single coffee I’ve had from them has been fantastic. In the case of Don Campos, you can always send it back if it’s not.
Shop 2, 21 Fountain Street,
Alexandria NSW 2015
(02) 9690 0090
Weekdays: 6:30am – 3:30pm
Weekends: 8:00am – 4:30pm
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