Manly. Bondi. Cronulla. There are a lot of places to make a sea change in Sydney. None of them were drastic enough for Enmore’s Black Market Roasters, which opened a second branch in Thirroul (population: 6000) last month.
“We moved down here a few months ago. It’s a lot more chilled out than the city, which is awesome,” says Angus Nicol, who owns Black Market with his wife, Jess.
The couple stripped down a former travel agent and installed a big glass box up the back, putting their five-kilogram Renegade roaster on display. They’re also running barista training sessions once a week. This stuff might not seem revolutionary to someone who lives a short ride from Reuben Hills or Single O, but the roasting and brewing process can be opaque outside these limited circles.
“There were already 24 coffee shops in this area. My mate [Luke Barrett at Buck Hamblin cafe in Thirroul] is doing specialty and he’s doing well, but no one else is doing roasting or training and putting the real focus on that,” Nicol says. “Some people down here have never seen a roaster before.”
Black Market roasts emphasise each bean’s inherent sweetness and richness, rather than brightness and acidity. “That’s been our style from the start,” Nicol says. “A really balanced cup. I guess that’s what we’re about. Really sweet, so that people who drink milky coffees can taste a Kenyan coffee [which generally has a higher acidity] and not be like, ‘Oh my God, that’s so sour and bitter’.”
The food is similarly approachable. Avo toast, croissants and banana bread are all on the menu, but the heroes are “big, fluffy, classic” sandwiches. Rather than sourdough, they use thick-sliced white or wholemeal high top from a local Vietnamese bakery. Ham, haloumi and chicken schnitzel variants all come rammed with beetroot, tomato, cucumber, spinach and other classic ingredients.
So far, the locals love it. “It was busier than our Enmore shop from day one,” Nicol says. “It's a combination of locals who were already here, waiting for specialty coffee, and a lot of new people who already knew us, which I was really spun out about. Like us, so many people have moved down from the city – it’s totally commutable.”
Black Market Roasters Thirroul
Shops 2–3, 370 Lawrence Hargrave Drive, Thirroul
0414 924 685
Mon to Fri 6am–4pm
Sat & Sun 7am–4pm