Sydney Cafés for Coffee Lovers

Sydney takes its coffee seriously. Even casual joints serve espresso drinks with foam flowers, and locals sip from mugs all day long, even when it’s hot outside. More recently, third-wave coffee has taken over, bringing pour-overs, cold brews, and a new crop of bean geeks to the city.

7a/2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015, Australia
The Grounds café—run out of a former pie factory in the warehouse district of Alexandria—makes coffee, juices, smoothies, baked goods, and rustic breakfast and lunch dishes with equal care. Order a flat white (a cross between a cappuccino and a latte) or a piccolo (a mini latte)—there’s also a coffee tasting board and a deconstructed iced coffee—to pair with your seasonal porridge or Big Brekkie (spicy chorizo and serrano ham with braised white beans, smoked peppers, halloumi, avocado, poached eggs, and thick slabs of house-baked toast). After brekkie, peek into the roastery and Potting Shed restaurant next door, and admire the enchanting garden and event space, complete with a coffee cart, barbecue joint, plant stall, and petting zoo.
6-8 O'Connell St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia
Opened in a brick-walled space that used to be a favorite local bookstore, Brewtown is the latest venture by Simon Triggs and Charles Cameron, who met while working as managers for the coffee company Toby Estate. The coffee is what you’d expect from two industry veterans—well-executed espresso drinks made using a computerized machine and filter coffee served hot, brewed, or cold and poured from a tap. But the food is somewhat surprising for a small, coffee-focused place. For breakfast, there’s polenta with mushrooms and poached eggs, beet-cured trout served on rye toast that’s smattered with avocado and feta, and house-made “cronuts"—a cross between a doughnut and a croissant, imported from New York and earning a cult following here. There’s also a retail space run by Triggs’ wife upstairs, which has plans for an affogato bar.
Shop 11, The Strand Arcade, 412-414 George St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
This bite-size coffee stand in the Victorian-era Strand Arcade building downtown is perfect for a midday lift. Run by the team behind Coffee Alchemy in Marrickville, Gumption serves coffee and only coffee (no food). Six single-origin bean varieties are on offer, three of them filtered hot, the other three dripped cold and served over ice. Don’t think about asking for milk, though, unless you mean a steamed drink. They’ll deny you. The staff is not snobby, just matter-of-fact. The coffees come small and extremely drinkable—even for dairy lovers.
193 Missenden Rd
What started in 2002 as a little café tucked into a Newtown laneway, Campos has become one of the biggest household names in Australian specialty coffee. The company’s success stems from its simple but ambitious mission: to buy, roast and serve the finest quality coffee. Today, the Campos menu rotates more than 10 direct-trade coffee varieties grown in nine regions around the world. The café continues to experiment with beans, machines, and barista techniques to maintain its order pace of hundreds of coffees per hour. Now operating in Queensland and Melbourne as well as Sydney, Campos has recently introduced cupping classes Thursday through Saturday held in a dark upstairs lounge above the Newtown location. Customers pay $30 to compare five coffee varieties from different regions and learn the different processing and preparation styles. Sydney’s newest Campos café in the Alexandria neighborhood features a siphon bar that only serves select single origin coffees.
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