Toby’s Estate, which has been roasting specialty coffee since 2001, and can now be found in cafes across Australia (as well as Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore), has evolved its flagship venue in Chippendale. It’s no longer just a cafe, but an experiential space where you can chat with baristas, get up close to the filtering process and see roasting in action.

“The space is about enabling us to connect more with our customers,” Jack Stapelfeldt, the flagship’s manager, tells Broadsheet. “We’re here to share our knowledge, and to help people navigate what we offer.”

Key to this goal is the flagship’s design, achieved in collaboration with architects Russell & George, probably best known for designing many of Aesop’s distinctive stores. At the centre of the 108-square-metre space is a spectacular curved island bar. On one side, baristas work at an outward-facing machine, so you can follow along as they make your coffee. On the other is a filter bar, where you can try experimental blends and single origins. Wherever you sit, you’re welcome to ask questions, whether you’re curious about coffee farming or ideal brewing temperatures.

“Coffee is always changing, so there’s always something new and unique that pushes boundaries,” says Stapelfeldt. “All our staff are not only extremely knowledgeable about coffee, but also genuinely warm people, who genuinely love hospitality.”

The coffee menu offers both Toby’s Estate classics, such as its Woolloomooloo blend (named after the Sydney suburb where founder Toby Smith started experimenting with coffee in his mother’s garage in the late ’90s), and rotating flavours. Recent successes include the Strawberries & Cream, which tastes just like the name suggests, and the Juicy Fruit, whose delicate flavour profile of brown sugar, nectarine and red guava is best filtered. Also available are Toby’s Not Hot Coffee cans, which launched earlier this year. Try an Oat Milk Latte or a ’Spro Tonic (a sparkling coffee with a natural orange flavour).

Floor-to-ceiling glass adds to the roomy feel of the space, overlooking the roastery on one side and the street on the other, as do suspended mirrors, which provide a bird’s eye view of the action wherever you’re sitting. For those who’d rather keep to themselves than chat with the baristas, there are tables around the perimeter, and plans are in the works for pet-friendly outdoor seating.

Although the focus is squarely on coffee, there’s a reliably tasty food menu. Try pastries by Clovelly’s Tuga or one of Toby’s famous toasties or baguettes. Standouts include the toastie packed with Wagyu, pastrami and three cheeses, and the baguette with hot-smoked salmon and pickled zucchini. A side of jalapeno and tequila relish by Drunken Sailor is definitely in order.

Toby’s Estate
32–36 City Road, Chippendale

Mon to Fri 7.30am–3pm
Sat & Sun 8am–3pm