Single origin, roasted in-house -- Sydney's latest coffee trend
To the satisfaction of many coffee lovers, Sydney turned its back on Starbucks. In mid-2008, the coffee giant cut back its city stores from 33 to just 10. The American mega-company couldn't cut through the froth of Sydney's demanding coffee drinking set.
Nowadays, in 2011, not even freshly ground espresso satisfies the city’s caffeine aficionados -- they are now flocking to boutique, single origin coffee roasted by the cafés themselves.
Coffee houses with street cred are sacrificing vital retail space to house their coffee cathedral -- their coffee bean roaster -- in quest of the perfect cup.
Here's our selection of cafes that serve the discerning coffee drinker.
Coffee Alchemy, Marrickville
The aptly-named Coffee Alchemy is all about the art of coffee creation. Crowds gather on its pavement in Marrickville’s industrial precinct, taking in the intoxicating aroma of Hazel De Los Reyes’ beans.
“There is the whole trend towards roasters in cafes, because it is what coffee drinkers are wanting to see," says Clare Lim, co-owner of Coffee Alchemy.
“In the years to come you will see a lot more cafes with their own roasters.”
Coffee Alchemy began as a wholesaler operation in 2004 before customer interest demanded they open a retail space in 2008.
Co-owner and barista at the café, De Los Reyes, was an Australian representative at the World Barista Championships.
“It is about the boutique and artisan aspect of it. We really just wanted to focus on quality. We don’t really care about how much volume we are doing," says De Los Reyes.
Recommended beans: Kenyan Karimikui with a sweet, succulent mouth fill sweet and floral finish; Kenyan Gethumbwini with grapefruit and blackcurrant tastes.
Coffee Alchemy, 24 Addison Road (corner of Cook Rd and Addison Rd) Marrickville; tel +61 (0)2 9516 1997
Single Origin, Surry Hills
Another well-regarded destination that brought the trend to the city is Single Origin Roasters in Surry Hills.Single Origin Roastersopened in 2003 with a roaster in-store -- nicknamed ‘Boris’ -- which has since been relocated to their warehouse.
Manager Nick Smith says single origin, and self-roasting, is all about having control over product.
“It’s not just about buying from the big boys. It’s about quality and better beans going through our own roaster.”
“There is a discerning public with an educated pallet out there they don’t just want any coffee served up to them,” Smith says.
Recommended bean: Rwanda’s Kopa Kama – Nzabonimpa; very structured coffee, tastes notes include creamy, vanilla and mandarin.
Single Origin; 60-64 Reservoir St Surry Hills, tel +61 (0)2 9211 0665
The Source, Mosman
The trend isn’t confined to the gritty streets of the inner-west. On the north shore, in Mosman, The Source is on the lips and tongues of coffee lovers. The Source opened in 2007 and their roaster was installed two-and-a-half-years ago.
“(It's) about having the freshest coffee possible,” manager Leigh Houghton says.
“People can learn more about the coffee they are drinking. Because customers can see how we are going about our business they get a lot of confidence from that in our product.”
Recommended bean: Helsarvillabos from Costa Rica; delicate, floral and chocolaty taste.
The Source; 6/914 Military Rd (enter on Raglan St) Mosman; tel +61 (0)2 9969 1368