Whenever I see a list of “Best Coffee in Sydney”, and then see the focus is actually on food, I feel a little cheated. I totally understand that for most people the food provides a larger impact on their experience, but as the resident coffee addict for Sydney, clearly that is not my focus. So come on already, let’s talk about the coffee (and only coffee).
Sydney is a fantastic host to some of the best coffee in Australia, and while my mission to drink all of the coffees is one unlikely to be completed any time soon, there is not much that I have not tried around the Sydney area. So, in my totally biased opinion, limited by the time and space one person can travel to try everything on offer, I figure that rather than just mutter and complain about yet another non-coffee focused list telling me where the best coffee in Sydney is, I need to put up or shut up. As a red head, shutting up was obviously never going to be an option, so instead, here is my list of places in Sydney, where the combination of passion and skill has mixed well with the the particular coffee used in house to result in awesome coffee. This is the BitterBliss List of Sydney’s Best COFFEE.
In compiling this list I looked at three key variables for each location. The first of these is, how passionate are they about coffee? Do they know that they are selling, and can they recommend something that will better my experience? Do they seek out information to improve their person knowledge about coffee? If so, expect a high score here.
Next up is how skilled are they at making coffee, something I often call “crema” (even though I am not referencing the creamy layer that appears on espressos). Is the coffee ground to order, is it well espressed/extracted/filtered/made? This is sometimes influenced by presentation, but more often than not, it highlights the confidence and experience of the person making the coffee.
Finally, what coffee beans are being used to make the coffee? As a coffeesseur (think of a coffee snob mixed with a connoisseur) there are some coffees that are commercially roasted that are “strong” with the flavours of burnt plastic that I am biased against. Take it or leave it.
So what is the thinking behind these three variables? Well, if you are passionate and skilled but using terrible coffee, the coffee is going to be bad. If you are not passionate, skilled and using great coffee, you couldn’t care less, so the coffee will be bad. If you are passionate, using great coffee but have no skill, the coffee will be bad. BUT… if you are passionate, skilled and using great coffee, there is a very high chance that you’ll get a great coffee (no matter what type of coffee you order). It is not reviewing for a particular type of coffee, but a broader look at your chance of getting a great coffee (given that every coffee is different).
And finally, the list
Below are listed my top 30 Sydney cafes based only on the quality of their coffee. While I have avoided numbering each, the lower the cafe is listed, the more interesting I find the coffee. Once I have a bit more time I will make sure each of these cafes has a detailed page on my Sydney Cafe Guide but for those that don’t yet, I have made sure they at least have a link to more information via their own websites.
N.B. Rather than focus on specific order of the cafes, I have created 3 groups to break them down (“Good”,”Great” and “Awesome”). The focus of these groups is purely on coffee. For food recommendations, please look elsewhere. I personally recommend all of these cafes, and have received no enticements (*cough* such as advertising) for their listing. I am positively biased towards “interesting” coffee, so at the very least, expect them to have that.
So… you made it to the end of my list, and hopefully you’ve found at least a few cafes to try out. But with new cafes opening all the time (and unfortunately old ones closing down or being sold), this list is just a starting point. Enjoy the coffee journey.