10 of Sydney’s must-visit coffee spots

25 April 2016

Artificer Speciality Coffee, Surry Hills

Artificer Speciality Coffee, Surry Hills

When it comes to coffee, Sydneysiders are spoilt for choice. Whether it’s a perfectly executed, smooth flat white in a rustic setting or an exotic, fusion-inspired creation, many cafes in Sydney are blending taste and atmosphere to create the perfect cup of caffeinated happiness.

1. Artificer Speciality Coffee, Surry Hills

Artificer is the union of two great coffee maestros. In a cafe scene dominated by brunch options, this caffeine-only menu and minimalist floor-to-ceiling American oak décor ensures you focus on what’s important — the work of the baristas. Grab a sausage roll from Bourke Street Bakery up the road, then hit up Artificer for your cup of choice.

2. Coffee Alchemy/Gumption, Marrickville and CBD

Inspired by the coffee beans her grandmother used to grow in her backyard in the Philippines, owner Hazel de los Reyes has brought her passion for coffee roasting to the Marrickville cafe scene. At Coffee Alchemy, beans are handpicked, roasted in-house and on demand, so take your pick of espresso, pour over, cold drip or “the sparkler”, which is pulled from a beer tap. The Gumption expansion in The Strand Arcade continues the specialty coffee appreciation, with high chairs and cosy interiors providing visitors with quality cups of coffee on-the-go.

3. Mecca, CBD, Alexandria and Ultimo

Mecca coffee beans have a distinct rich and creamy flavour that sets itself apart from other boutique blends in Sydney. They pride themselves in building relationships with farmers to deliver the best quality coffee while supporting these local communities. This philosophy is at the backbone of Mecca cafe — staff are encouraged to follow their coffee dreams, whether it’s by entering coffee competitions or by furthering their coffee education. When something is produced with passion and love, it always tastes better. The sizes are generous and coffee lovers can also take home Mecca’s special blends for their own use.

4. Reformatory Caffeine Lab, Surry Hills

In an area known for hip cafes and rustic restaurants, the comic-themed walls and dark interiors of Reformatory Caffeine Lab offer coffee lovers a fun, caffeine-fueled start to the morning. Place your order among murals of the Joker beating up his henchman and chalk drawings of Gotham city, then rest your elbows on one of the well-thought out drink rails fitted in true espresso bar fashion. Their specialty cold drips come in glass test tubes and amber vials, and offer mild doses of caffeine infused in exotic flavours such as smoky cognac. A delectable selection of soft fruit bars, crumble-in-your-mouth empanadas and sugar-dusted cinnamon scrolls are also available in the glass box of treats by the counter — the perfect sidekick to one hero of a coffee.

5. Campos CoffeeNewtown and Alexandria

Starting from a small shop in the backstreets of Newtown in 2002, Campos has since established itself as one of Australia’s most trusted coffee brands. While the Campos blend can be found at many cafes across Australia, their flagship stores in Newtown and Alexandria feature cupping rooms upstairs for tasting sessions, as well as limited edition blends such as Geisha — born of a rare tree originating deep in the jungles of Ethiopia.

6. Grind Espresso, Cronulla

Sitting right on Cronulla beach, this much-loved cafe’s new location is powered by solar energy so you don’t have to enjoy your morning brew at the expense of the environment. The space is filled with mismatched retro bric-a-bracs, ‘I’d rather be at Grind’ postcards from devoted cafe-goers and the odd surfboard, creating a cosy environment for sipping and socialising. With a menu that has all the coffee classics as well as a brew bar of siphon, fruity cold drip and earthy filter coffee, Grind is the perfect accompaniment to a day at the beach.

7. Skittle Lane, CBD

With sleek fittings, minimalist decor and floor-to-ceiling windows, it’s easy to mistake Skittle Lane’s stylish interior for a couture fashion store. The in-house roasted seasonal blends carry light hints of vanilla and caramel, while the rotating selection of single origins offer visitors plenty of variety. With a menu as simple as their aesthetic, their food options consist of a selection of light and tasty pastries from Brewtown Newtown, and bread sourced from Sonoma Bakery in Alexandria.

8. Sample Coffee, Surry Hills and St Peters

Calling themselves the Brew Crew, the baristas at Sample Coffee are on a mission to provide coffee lovers with a tantalising variety of single origins and rotating speciality blends. Their newest opening in St Peters is a roomier warehouse than its espresso bar cousin in Surry Hills, and offers a menu that changes every two weeks to mix and match with their large selection of coffee.

9. Bean Drinking, Crows Nest

After a visit to Bean Drinking in Crow’s Nest, it’s clear that these guys love everything about coffee brewing. Interiors are decorated with coffee bean sacks, clocks are set to the beans’ native time zone, and sketches of the coffee plant through its life cycle adorn the walls. This love has trickled into innovations such as the ‘naked coffee’, where the dripper is removed to allow a freer flow into the cup, and the ‘coffee flight’ — a taste-test of three experimental coffee extraction methods.

10. Steam Tank Coffee, Hornsby

Serving up Mecca espresso blends, this cafe tucked away near Hornsby train station prides itself in creating cups of coffee that taste as great as they are ethically sustainable. Popular with locals, the small cafe’s friendly baristas know their way around a good brew. Rather than offering visitors an array of espresso blends, Steam Tank focuses on just three: Darkhouse, Durmerso and Dumarina — each chosen for its unique aroma and flavour. The menu also features milky-cold Mecca blends for a refreshing caffeine dose on those warm afternoons.

Check out more of Sydney’s best coffee spots, from the hip inner city cafes of Surry Hills, to the Northern Beaches and Sutherland Shire