Where can you find the best coffee in Sydney? It seems a simple enough question, but one that needs a lot of qualifications. After all, what constitutes as ‘best’ is entirely subjective and everyone has their favourite café to frequent on lazy Sunday mornings. However, for those still unsure where to go or those who are interested in expanding their palette, this article will provide some insight as to the best places around the city.
What makes a good cup of coffee? To pinpoint Sydney’s finest cafes some basic criteria need to be considered:
- Coffee – obviously
- Quality – it would defeat the purpose if you were given a sub-standard drink
- Price – we don’t want to break the bank either
- Ambience and service – who wants to be stuck in a place without room to move or with surly wait staff?
Sydney’s best coffee areas are as follows:
First up, Newtown. A suburb famed for its counter-culture, bohemian persona and alternative vibe. It’s not surprising that café culture is at one of its highest points here. Places like The Garden Shed are becoming legends amongst coffee aficionados, attracting an almost cult-like crowd who travel far and wide just for the privilege of staying only briefly to grab their caffeine fix before hightailing it back home.
Whilst The Botanical features on every ‘best café list’ in Sydney this year there are plenty of others that are flying under the radar but still deserve attention. Start by having a look around Newtown itself as there is bound to be a little gem hiding on a back street somewhere.
The next area of consideration is Surry Hills, quickly becoming the hipster hangout for those looking for that genuine inner city experience. There are several places all within walking distance from each other that provide some excellent food and coffee – whether it be indulgent brunches or a more sustainable lunch/dinner option.
For example, The Source Espresso Bar offers both cold drip filtered coffee as well as organic milk delivered every day from the Central Tablelands – making their milk almost exclusively sourced from hormone-free cows! Seek out any café with ‘blackboard menus’ as these usually indicate small snacks such as homemade pies, sausage rolls, quiches etc.
Mount Lawley is the next postcode that features some fantastic cafes. It would be almost impossible to select just one that deserves recognition when there are so many, but if you’re looking for somewhere that offers an enticing breakfast menu then look no further than Addict Espresso. With a whole host of sweet and savoury options, this popular establishment is a favourite amongst Mount Lawley locals.
Next up on the list is Surry Hills/CBD more generally. Whilst places like Mecca may be world-famous they do not provide the best overall experience of what Sydney has to offer in terms of café culture. The more hidden gems can be found here such as Joint Coffee Brewers, who roast their coffee on-site using ethically sourced beans from Papua New Guinea and Central America.
You can also find a range of ethically sourced items – such as chocolate – to take home with you as well as sustainably produced teas, all without the need to break the bank.
For those who like their café experiences with a side of culture then there is no better place than Darlington, home to many Vietnamese immigrants. Here you will find several restaurants that offer cheap but bountiful lunches, and where locals sit around plastic tables and chairs drinking strong iced coffee out of polystyrene cups.
A trip here will give you a real perspective on Sydney’s multiculturalism and an insight into life in Australia outside of our main cities. Also, keep an eye out for Portug influenced cafés such as The Bohemian which is set to open anytime soon.
With so many great cafés now at our fingertips it’s no surprise there are plenty of organisations dedicated to the appreciation and promotion of local café life. The ‘Slow Coffee Movement’ has grown considerably in recent years, intending to enjoy your coffee more fully by doing away with instant gratification and taking time out of your day to truly enjoy both café culture and the drink itself.
Some cafes even sell their beans online for you to enjoy long after you’ve returned home! These days it’s possible for one coffee experience to be completely different from another simply due to our tastes alone. However, if you’re visiting Sydney this year then these are some great places where you can get an idea of what real Australian culture is like.