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Published November 21st 2013
With a name like Hercules (mythical god, famous for his strength and far ranging adventures) you naturally expect something big and strong. Hercules Kaselakis ("Herc" to his regulars) is owner/operator of 28 Squares Espresso in Coorparoo. With the biggest heart and brewing a strong coffee, Herc comfortably lives up to his name.
Why coffee? After 14 years working for a freight company, Herc was looking for a career change. He wanted his own coffee shop. Coffee is in the family. His brother Peter works for coffee supplier, Douwe Egbert Master Blenders. "I wanted a quick, takeaway coffee shop, in an area where there were no major competitors," says Herc. The ideal location he found in Coorparoo, when the small space next to Sing's restaurant became available. "Coorparoo is a good residential area and I felt this was a place where locals will make it their regular place for coffee."
Although, the space is not large, it was perfect for Herc's vision. It also provided the name for his business. "The shop's floor size is 28 square metres, the name fitted and sounded good," says Herc.
The decor The distinctive red, black, silver and white makes a punchy statement and were chosen because they are colour favourites of Herc and his wife, Sylvia. This man is doing what he loves and the passion is palpable even down to the branding in Herc's hairstyle.
28 Squares "branded"
Herc's business philosophy is simple, "offer good quality coffee and good service to the customers and people will come back." He searched through five blends of coffee before finding the "perfect" blend called the classico, Espresso di manfredi. "It has a delicious taste with a very smooth aftertaste," one coffee lover commented.
Espresso di Manfredi
28 Squares Espresso is not just about coffee. Their selection of delectable cakes, Greek yoghurt and fruit and meals, including some tantalising lasagne are all available. "Their mango smoothies are the perfect refreshing summery drink. I don't drink coffee, so this is a delicious alternative," says Ali who works locally.
Family Herc's beloved father, Con works alongside Herc, serving sweets, making sandwiches, happily greeting the patrons with his cheery smile. His father belongs to the school of hard workers. "Con works more now than he used to, he never stops," says Herc. Dad is an upholsterer by trade. As a child I remember him working five days a week in a factory as an upholsterer.Three nights he worked in the kitchen at Lennon's Hotel. Any spare nights and week-ends he worked as an upholsterer for himself. I am sure most of the Greek families in Brisbane has a chair my dad made," says Herc, proudly.
Herc keeps it in the family, with son Costa (11) helping out on week-ends, as does wife Sylvia. Costa helps with the clearing of tables and washing up and Sylvia with the smoothies, cold drinks and toasties. Sylvia makes the delicious home made lasagne a popular takeaway.
The Experience Herc has inherited his father's solid work ethic. It comes out in his manner, the way he runs the shop but especially in how he treats his customers. "The coffee is good, with a really nice bite to it, but the service is exceptional," says regular customer Michelle.
Herc wants his customers to feel the love he pours into each cup of coffee and he wants customers to recognise his blend is not your average, everyday coffee.
Tracy Dobbin, Salon Director at Coorparoo's aesthetica is a recent convert to soy. "The chance of getting a great tasting cappuccino is greatly diminished because of soy," she says. "I was so delighted to discover Herc makes the best tasting, full-bodied coffee without the ghastly soy overtone and its ready for me at 6am," says Tracy.
What Herc offers
Herc's prices are very reasonable and he's implemented some great ideas, including being able to text through orders in advance; pre-paid coffees and a loyalty card.
Customers are fast becoming regulars, a positive sign in the fickle coffee making industry. "Herc makes it just right every time," says Grace, another regular to 28 Squares Espresso.
For coffee that will leave you coming back for more, including a dose of Herc's easy going nature, check out 28 Squares Espresso in Coorparoo.