There’s already a lot of specialty coffee in Sydney, it’s true. But that hasn’t stopped the enthusiasts and obsessives who continue to open cafes and roasteries across the city. (Not to mention one that’s come up from Melbourne to set up in the Sydney CBD.) These new cafes extend Sydney’s options and make getting out of bed and through the day that much easier – often with the help of bagels, egg and bacon rolls, and pastries.
Industry is in a heritage building on York Street in the CBD. Appropriately, considering all the rats in that particular race, it’s all about doing specialty coffee fast.
Its schmick Modbar coffee set-up is dead fancy. The machinery sits beneath the counter, with just the taps up top. It’s also very practical if you roast your own beans and want your own blend of coffee made with a purpose-built La Marzocco machine. Which Industry does. The cafe started in Melbourne and there its cold-brew bubble cup – which combines cold-brew coffee, coffee-soaked tapioca pearls and a house-blended condensed soy milk – has a following. You can get regular black and white coffees too.
And coffee in your food. There’s a coffee-rubbed Wagyu burger, and coffee caviar comes with the cinnamon-dusted brioche. The cafe works with Bakedown Cakery to create coffee-infused chocolate truffles. Come here for some coffee with your coffee.
This Mascot joint is south-east Sydney’s first specialty coffee spot. There’s espresso from Seven Miles plus cold brew and nitro (cold-brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas, which in this case looks like Guinness). The black-coffee menu explores roasters the owners rate. To eat, there are bagels from Smoking Gun (served with a variety of schmears or sandwich-style, such as the tomato, basil and feta, and the pastrami) and pastries.
St Dreux’s founders, Raf Bartkowski and Ernest Igual, met working at Sydney coffee brand Campos. Igual is a certified Q trader, which is the highest globally recognised coffee accolade, a title held by fewer than 100 people in Australia.
There are three signature coffee blends (light, medium and dark), and Igual gets a range of micro-lot single-origin beans directly from farmers. The nitro brew is cold-brewed for 12 to 16 hours then infused with nitrogen for a silky mouthfeel and beer-like head. Information on beans’ flavour profile and origin is supplied on cards. Single-origin cards have details about the grower’s story, their farm, plus notes on the region, varietal and process. To eat there are croissants with sautéed mushrooms and fresh fig, prosciutto and Paesanella ricotta. And there are vegan sweets.
Went to See the Gypsy
This is another spot with a slick under-the-counter coffee-machine set-up. The Alexandria location of Gypsy coffee is bigger than the original in Potts Point, so it’s good for groups and there are highchairs available for brunching babies. The Gypsy Espresso blend is the go-to here, and there’s a regular rotation of single origins, all roasted around the corner at Gypsy’s roaster and coffee school. For soy drinkers Gypsy uses the relatively new Happy Happy Soy Boy, which was developed specifically for espresso coffees (and which gets a resounding thumbs up from the Broadsheet Sydney editorial team).
Breakfast might include house-made banana loaf with brulée banana, coconut-milk sorbet and salted caramel, or goat’s cheese and kale smashed egg with pesto and slow-roasted tomatoes. For lunch, miso-glazed salmon with wakame salad and a soft egg, or the Gypsy burger, which comes with smoked bacon and zucchini pickle. The schnitzel is as big as your face.
This place also has a very expensive and good-looking under-the-counter coffee machine. It’s fancy, top-of-the-line and very sleek. The pour-over here is also taken very seriously, and although the beans for this change, there has in the past been a single-origin Kochere from Ethiopia with flavours of dark chocolate and lilac.
For the espresso, Humm roasts its own coffee at a shared space in Alexandria. Cafe classics are on the food menu, including an egg and bacon roll (but with yuzu sesame coleslaw and Kewpie mayo), and a dish of fermented-batter crumpets by Crumpets by Merna, which also has a stall at Carriageworks market. This one’s only a 10-minute walk from North Sydney train station. Convenient.