It's the simple things in life that are often the most pleasing. And nothing spells out simplicity like Coffee Tea & Me in Marrickville. Its quaint approach to serving Campos coffee, crunchy bagels and a selection of sweet treats is as uncomplicated and utterly delightful as it gets. Churning out nothing more than the name implies is what makes it an outright hit.
The humble cafe is roomier than its flagship in Redfern — albeit not without its cosiness. Aesthetically pleasing and atmospherically snug, furnishings both inside and out are an eclectic assortment of peeling wooden tables and mismatched chairs reconditioned out of bicycle seats and weighing scales (don't fret— they're broken). Big glass jars perched on the inside bench house an orgy of sweet deliciousness: take your pick from triple choc cookies, cinnabuns, caramel kisses, pistachio slice and chocolate brownie, among others.
If you can make it past these tempting bites, place your order at the counter — either for one of the aforementioned delectable treats, or a crunchy bagel for which CT&M have become well known for (between $5.90 and $7.90). With a texture that is less chewy and doughy than regular bagels, focus falls to the fillings — which are gratefully awash with just the right amount of everything. Their philosophy is simple, but not skimpy.
The grilled haloumi and avocado combo is a downright favourite, although the grilled chicken, avocado and greens gives it a run for its money. Bacon, egg and cheese could be the antidote to a hangover, or the Persian egg and greens if you'd prefer the exotic approach. Our pick of the bunch, though, is roast beef, avocado and cheese — perhaps for nostalgic, school-lunch-related reasons. Either way, it's a sad affair when the blue and white enamel plate is empty.
The curtain doesn't have to close there though: as the title suggests, the cafe is largely coffee and tea focused. We just got sidetracked with the tasty food. For an extra $1 (with your bagel) the espresso machine inside will serve you up a full-bodied Campos blend coffee. For a less caffeinated brew, tea varieties are aplenty. Prefer something chilly? Their homemade lemonade is a camel's thirst quencher — Sprite and Schweppes can go home.
But it's the classic iced mochas and iced chocolates ($2.50 extra or $4.80 alone) that are hands down, the best thing since sliced bagels (excuse the pun). Dairy-free, with no icy shards or sugary syrups, the old favourites reign supreme over those trendy salted caramel and peanut butter thick shake concoctions.
And that's it: coffee, tea and me. By keeping it fresh and simple, the friendly staff just want to serve you the perfect cup, with perhaps a bagel or sweet. It's straightforward with no angst, no drama — an affable, cute cafe with familiar household charm that will win you over.