Redfern sometimes seems like a birthing ground for hip cafes and bars. As easy as it may be to find cafes with attractive staff and the kind of pastiche laden decor that the arts crowd and university students love, it's a little harder to find prices to match. That's what makes Cofee Tea & Me such a draw for impoverished students and Redfern urbanites alike - it has that unique combination of charming decor, really good food, and delightfully low prices.
Despite the name, it is the food that is the strongest part of the cafe's appeal. While many other cafes stock a wide variety of the typical panini/pie/salad combination, Coffee Tea & Me focus on one very different offering: bagels. These aren't your typical bagels either, but denser, flatter, sesame-topped bagels that are far more filling than they look. They're baked fresh daily, off premises, and come in a range of fresh fillings - from the archetypal ham, cheese and tomato, to vegan options such as grilled seasoned tofu with tahini, tomato, avocado and fresh rocket on wholemeal. The prices are a lot less varied, stretching from $5.90 to only $7.90.
The best part of the deal is the $1 regular coffee with the purchase of any bagel. Campos coffee brewed on a La Marzocco machine, or T2 tea if you would prefer. They also reward loyalty bountifully, offering a free coffee for every 5 purchased.
Coffee Tea & Me may not be the best place to meet up with friends; the chandelier-lit inside area is barely able to fit three customers at a time while the quirky mismatch of outdoor furniture is only ever empty late in the afternoon, outside of meal times. It is, however, the perfect place to visit alone, and if the prospect is at all daunting, the genuinely friendly staff will make you feel right at home.