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The Best Specialty Coffee Spots in Sydney

Where to buy, learn about and — most importantly — taste the best beans in the city.
By Kimberley Mai
February 25, 2016
By Kimberley Mai
February 25, 2016


Where to buy, learn about and — most importantly — taste the best beans in the city.

Australia's coffee game is ridiculous right now. We lay claim to both the current World Barista Champion (Sasa Sestic) and the World Latte Art Champion (Caleb Cha). And despite Sydney never getting a mention in the same breath as Melbourne when it comes to specialty coffee, we know how to make a pretty good cup ourselves. For a lot of Sydneysiders, coffee is a way of life, and they're keen to learn and try everything they can — and pass this knowledge onto you, dear reader.

Sydney has a plethora of cafes that aren't just dedicated to making the perfect cup of caffeinated goodness, but have taken it upon themselves to roast their own beans, devise new methods of pouring or educate the public on the subject. So whether you're a total coffee nerd or a coffee noob who just wants to know how those chemistry set things actually make a cup of coffee, here are eight hardcore coffee spots to get yourself (and your Keep Cup) to right away.

Top image: Karl Frederickson via Unsplash

  • 8
    White Horse Coffee

    This Sutherland cafe is proof that great specialty coffee exists outside of central Sydney. They source and roast their own coffee, and every two weeks or so they’ll introduce different single origins. The crew — affectionately called ‘the bruz’ by regulars — are well-versed in coffee thanks to owner and former Grand Barista Champion Dom Majdandzic, and are happy give you tips on how to home brew or help you with tasting notes. Since being established by Dom and Matty Sprem, White Horse Coffee have amassed an almost cult-like following in The Shire — and it’s easy to see why.

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  • 7
    Single O Surry Hills

    Single Origin Roasters is a cornerstone of the Sydney specialty scene. All their coffee is roasted in-house, and you can’t throw a stone in Surry Hills without hitting a cafe that uses their beans — including their own. While they now have outposts in the CBD and Botany, the Surry Hills cafe is where it all started, and if you head to their Reservoir Street space you’ll find a crew of skilled baristas pumping out delicious coffees without breaking a sweat. Single Origin also sell their retail packs next door to their espresso bar — so if you’ve just tried what is possibly the most amazing coffee in your life, you can have it again at home. They’ve also been known to source Geisha beans, which is one of the most prized in the coffee world.

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  • 6
    Artificer Specialty Coffee Bar & Roastery

    Artificer is a collaborative effort by two industry legends, Dan Yee and Shoji Sasa, which has rapidly made a name for itself as one of the best specialty coffee shops in Sydney. They buy beans in small batches and roast it all in-house, so you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to your ristretto. For the non-dairy drinkers, this is the place to be because Dan is one of the city’s best when it comes to making soy milk magic. If it’s not rush hour, we’d suggest sitting at the bar and directing all your coffee questions at the barista.

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  • 5
    Mecca Espresso Ultimo - CLOSED

    It seems that almost every second big name coffee professional in Sydney has spent time with Mecca — and why not? They’re well established in the coffee game, and if you’re looking to hone your skills (whether by taking a class or watching a competition), chances are you’ll end up here. The baristas will always try to give you the best cup and, should you ask, information on the aromas. You can even bring a notebook with you to Mecca’s Alexandria roastery and take notes on how they do their thing. Sure, you probably won’t roast at home, but it doesn’t hurt to know.

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  • 4
    Sample Coffee Pro Shop

    Sample Coffee is exactly what it sounds like. They have a constantly rotating selection of origins on offer and showcase a different specialty roaster to sample each week — the coffee equivalent of giving props to a good roast. Not everyone finds their favourite origin on the first try, so this is the perfect place to experiment. We suggest visiting their St Peters Pro Store over their Surry Hills bar as there’s a lot more room for to move while you down five espressos and think about your next home barista purchase. Yes, you definitely need another drip brewer.

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  • 3

    Darlinghurst’s arguably most stylish-looking addition to the specialty coffee scene from brothers Dan Jackson and Corie Sutherland, Edition Coffee Roasters know their brews. Sutherland smashes out his own brand of coffee that changes often from the mean La Marzocco machine. For him, it’s all about “experimentation” and ensuring “the best flavours punch through the milk”. And indeed, the coffee is good. In fact, you could probably listen to the team share its knowledge until the cows come home.

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  • 2
    Paramount Coffee Project

    Unlike many specialty coffee cafes doing their own roasting, PCP is in the business of showcasing roasters. The crew can make a mean pour-over using whichever bean you choose, so you won’t have to run from espresso bar to espresso bar to find your perfect cup. Their trump card though, is that they’ll occasionally have some of their international barista friends behind the bar — so it’s best to follow them on Facebook to see when you should drop everything and run there. They most recently had former World Barista Champion and certified coffee god Tim Wendelboe as a guest barista.

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  • 1

    The guys at Reuben Hills love to source their coffee from the Americas — and you’ll see why when you order one. Each of their single origin drinks will come out with a little card filled with details about the bean and the coffee farm they’ve come from. They roast all their coffee on-site, just in case you were wondering what secrets that second level in their Surry Hills space holds. Reuben Hills also hosts cupping sessions in their coffee lab every Saturday at 10am, which is useful for the budding home barista. Don’t know what cupping is? It’s sensory training involving the tasting and description of coffee. It’s an important skill in the coffee world, as well as a generally impressive one.

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