Don Campos – Alexandria

Coffee: 18/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 34/40

A second café I’m sure you’ve tried but I’ve failed to get to, until today, Don Campos in Alexandria is a café I’ve been meaning to get to for years.

The café, if you read other reviews of places like I do, has not been in the press much over the last year. Most reviews describe it (back in 2011) as an empty, chilled space with stunning coffee. Today the room on a Saturday is buzzing with not one counter but three. More like a hawker market then a cafe, it’s a shared space to grab a coffee at one place and some bread at the next.

The line for a coffee was long but in true Campos style very efficient. I ordered by second macchiato of the morning and took a seat along one of the long windows.

I only had time to read part of the front page of the SMH before it had appeared before me. Presented on the classic Campos brown saucer (that everyone seems to use these days) and in a small glass – built for the purpose. I often get accused of being a coffee wanker (or worse) for judging presentation, but if you check out the wonderful coffee by Brickfields here and this one, Campos IMO does it better with the same drink. It is just preference though, feel free to disagree.

The espresso was made on the House Blend.

The aroma’s initial flavour was that of a roasted almost like a baked peach (caramelised honey notes) but I’d describe it as fruity rather than really locate one sort of fruit to the flavour.

Tasting it, it is smooth, balanced in the mouth, with a wonderful full rolling taste, the fruity smell was further sweetened by something like butterscotch. All in all a very nice taste, if anything I’d describe it as pastry like in taste.

Letting it cool, brought out the caramelised butterscotch flavours initially and it finished with a something a bit floral like lingering right in the back of my nose as a swallow it. Very cool.

I could not help it and got a second mac made on the single origin Colombia Montero Winning Lot#11. This was far more a citrus based bean, then the first very full of flavour and quite heavy in the mouth. Letting this drink sit hypes up the acidity and vanilla and caramel sugar like flavours. It’s a bit of a dirtier drink, but I’d not describe it as simple. Well worth the second coffee. And well worth leaving it to sit for a min or two to experience the strong contrast.

Today, the links to Campos Newtown while still in place are not the reason why people come here. Don Campos is a destination unto itself that holds itself well against Newtown sister. There is a genuine creative life to the warehouse space and that in on itself as a coffee nerd makes a trip well worth the experience. The coffee is as wonderful as the Newtown flagship and espresso options far more the creative and fun. The staff here are far friendlier and more open to stupid coffee questions then their Newtown brothers and sisters, and its clear (like Newtown) that if you’re a regular they’ll remember you, your order and what you last talked about.

1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 9/10
Experience (taste and smell): 9/10
Coffee total: 18/20

2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like):
Cool?: 8/10
Service: 8/10
Cafe: 16/20
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 34/40

Don Campos on Urbanspoon

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