Anyone who knows me understands how seriously I take my coffee. A perfectly executed, smooth, creamy flat white is often the highlight of my day, however there is so much more to coffee than the actual substance. It is the friendly banter from my bearded and tattooed barista, the smell of ground beans that seem to surround the café and the simple ‘Have a good day’ as I’m handed my paper cup of happiness. This top 10 list features the crème de la crème of the coffee scene.
Artificer is the union of two great coffee maestros. With a caffeine-only menu (yep, that’s right, no food), this café separates the stylish brunch set from those who take their coffee habit seriously. The minimalist décor ensures you focus on what’s important – the work of the baristas. Grab a sausage roll from Bourke Street Bakery up the road and then hit up Artificer for your cup of choice.
Located in Surry Hills’ Reservoir Street, this part café, coffee lab and part takeaway counter will fuel caffeine cravings and hunger pangs alike. Now with outposts in the CBD and Botany, Single Origin continues to lead the industry not only with its smooth blend but through the development of innovations such as the “The Juggler” – a milk-on-tap system which allows the company to buy milk in 10-litre bags. The staff will become your mates, the coffee is consistently exceptional and it’s a café with a conscience.
Beans: Single Origin, Reservoir blend
Mecca coffee has a distinct, rich and creamy flavour that sets itself apart from other boutique blends in Sydney. Mecca prides itself on building relationships with farmers in order to deliver the best quality possible but also to understand and support these local communities. This philosophy is at the backbone of the café –
staff are encouraged to follow their coffee dreams, whether it’s entering coffee competitions or simply furthering their education. When something is produced with passion and love, it always tastes better.
This unpretentious Marrickville café has been touted as serving the best coffee in town, and for good reason too. All the coffee is roasted in-house and is roasted on demand, so take your pick of espresso, pour over, cold drip or “the sparkler”, which is pulled from a beer tap. Visitors can take home a house blend, though we reckon nothing beats having your beans handled by an expert.
Beans: Café Alchemy house blend
This bustling hole in the wall café is a Potts Point institution, with a loyal following including the likes of local chefs Neil Perry and Kylie Kwong. It takes the art of the local friendly coffee shop back to basics with genuinely good service, great coffee and tasty light snacks perfect for a quick pit stop at any time of the day.
Let me be clear. This is what they do: coffee and waffles. This is what they don’t do: decaf or large coffees. The beachside suburb of Manly is famous for its relaxed atmosphere and this is certainly reinforced at Barefoot Coffee Traders with customers perching on wooden boxes or leaning on the window sill watching the beach-clad walk by. But coffee is something they take very seriously.
Beans: Toby’s Estate
Campos are renowned as the pioneers of the coffee world. Starting from a small shop in the backstreets of Newtown in 2002, Campos has established itself as one of Australia's most trusted coffee brands. While the blend can be found at many cafes across Australia, the flagship store is still the best with a cupping room upstairs for tasting sessions.
Catering to the North Sydney corporate crowd, The Roots is where you'll find a fine espresso on the lower North Shore. Tucked under one end of the Greenwood Bridge, this bustling weekday café serves Single Origin Roasters coffee, house-made relishes and sweet treats. Plus, there’s free cupping sessions at 5 pm on the first Thursday of the month.
Beans: Single Origin
There’s plenty to like about the Shire’s White Horse Coffee. Run by former Australian Barista champion Dominic ‘Domtron’ Majdandzic and coffee aficionado Matthew ‘Ristretto’ Sprem, both of whom will remember your name and how you like your brew, White Horse Coffee delivers hand-roasted, ethically sourced beans of the highest quality. If Sutherland is too far away, the White Horse team have opened their second outpost in Redfern at Communion Coffee.
Beans: White Horse