WHAT IS CAFE FREI?
AN EXOTIC EXPEDITION TO THE WORLD OF COFFEE
The guests of our cafés are offered an aromatic journey around the world. Our coffees are always made of repeatedly hand-selected and freshly roasted beans of plantation Arabica coffee rarities. Our cafés offer over 70 coffee recipes from every major “coffee kitchen” of the world – Italian, French, Japanese, Arabian, North and Latin American.
THE EXCITEMENT OF TRAVELLING
REFINED Aromatic Experiences
CAFE FREI was founded by two friends: TV personality and globetrotter Tamás Frei who has visited over a hundred countries in the past 20 years. He is passionate about coffee – both the drink and the world around it; he partnered up with economist and food industry entrepreneur Tamás Langár, offering his experience of over 20 years in the business aspect of running the chain.
The first café of our ever growing CAFE FREI franchise chain opened in April 2007. Our unique franchise system allowed us to step into the international scene in 2013, with our first cafés opening across Central Europe. Since then we have set up our cafés in England and France all the way to Dubai. Our key target markets for the near future are Saudi Arabia, Germany and Switzerland.
Over the past 20 years Tamás Frei has visited virtually every major coffee growing region of the world. The base of the 70 recipes we offer, the final selection collected from 20 countries on 3 continents, was made with the help of Cafe Frei’s chief barista and master roaster, as well as local coffee farmers. The beans are monitored from the tree to the cup, the coffee is brewed from freshly roasted beans, following authentic recipes.
CAFE FREI IS A SPECIALIST IN PLANTATION COFFEE RARITIES
Hand-picked and sorted bean by bean, our coffee comes from the best Arabica plantations of the world. We visit the farmers ourselves. We strive only to buy organic beans and to cut out the middleman; so we can offer our coffee at even more purse-friendly prices, we purchase our beans directly at the plantations.
MORE THAN “JUST” COFFEE...
WHATEVER YOU HAVE IN MIND FOR A DELICACY, WE HAVE SOMETHING YOU WILL LIKE!
Most of our recipes are also available in a decaf version, without sweetening and with milk alternatives. And we go beyond coffee: in our cafés you can have premium quality loose teas, fruit and spice infusions, not to mention over 10 types of hot chocolate – a hot favourite both literally and figuratively. And for the hotter days – or just for a quality thirst quencher – why not try our iced coffees and teas, lemonades and shakes? We also offer snacks with our beverages: a rich selection of bakery products, pastries, sandwiches and our special savoury snacks, ranging from traditional bakery products to exotic desserts – and virtually all of these are made in our own bakeries.
A new feature: our selected Cafe Frei cafés also offer GELATO NATURALE ice creams and DR DRINK “health booster” milkshakes.
TRADING WITH CONSCIENCE
Cafe Frei’s core philosophy is to try to eliminate the middlemen and their profits wherever we can. We strive to be cheaper, therefore we don’t make our customers pay the profit of foreign and Hungarian middlemen. Both in Hungary and abroad, we buy most of our raw materials from the growers. Since we meet them in person, we pay them equitably. This is what we mean by Trading With Conscience.
“In Africa, you can buy coffee in two ways.” - says Tamas Frei when talking about how Cafe Frei purchases some of the coffee they prepare for their customers. - “Either directly from the grower, on the plantations, which requires a lot of energy, or the easier way, from the so-called Cooperatives, which are the wholesale associations of farmers. It is like buying wine in Hungary. You can buy it directly from the vine-grower at a lower price than the one traders offer. Vine-growers also make a better deal with us, since they are paid better this way compared to selling the wine to traders.”
Thus, it is better for everyone, since the wholesalers and their profits are eliminated from the system.
One of the brave and innovative main ideas of Cafe Frei’s founders was their statement that: They regard Hungary as “a country from the second world” considering the spending power of Hungarian customers. Hungary is not (yet) part of the “first world”, like Germany or France. But it is not part of the third world either.
That’s why for Cafe Frei, Trading with Conscience means more than Fair Trade which only covers the relationship between the first world and the products of the third world. In the case of Hungary, it is also taken into account that a product from the third world (coffee) should not be transferred through the first world (adding its costs to the prices) before selling it in the second world, in Hungary, where customers have indeed less money than those of the so-called first world.
“This was one of the main ideas when launching Cafe Frei”, explains Tamas Frei. “We didn’t understand why the buyers of the first world (Italians, Austrians, Germans) go to the third world’s plantations and then do the importing, roasting and packing, since this way their costs will appear in the prices, to which the profits of the Hungarian retailers will also be added... that’s why a cup of coffee ends up being more expensive in Miskolc than in Florence.
Cafe Frei brings coffee from the third world (Africa, Central and South America) directly to the second world, to Hungary, so we collect it from the grower, we roast, pack and transport it.
When explaining our business policy, this is the reason why we use the expression “Trading with Conscience” and not “Fair trade”. Because we, the members of the Cafe Frei team, would like to be fair first and foremost to the Hungarian customers.
We feel that for the time being the Fair Trade approach of the rich “first” world and mentality of western customers cannot be slavishly adapted to Hungary. We have to be fair not only to the Ethiopian or Honduran coffee growers, but also to our Hungarian customers who have much less money than those in Germany, France or Great Britain. It’s not an easy task, it takes a lot of effort...
Besides, our business is also committed to environmental protection. Wherever we can, we use recycled paper and packaging materials, and we aim to purchase more and more organic products with EU certification. Cafe Frei supports the goal of the Rainforest Alliance, the protection of rainforests, and also aims to offer plantation coffee specialities made from Fair Trade coffees to its customers.
CAFE FREI’s policy is to sell top-quality products to its customers - at unbeatable prices. We don’t want to be the cheapest on the market, but would like to be the best in terms of value for money in all our product segments.