With every man and his dog now offering cold brew/drip coffee, not to mention the classic iced coffee that been around for eons, the time has come for cafes to push the boundaries of cold coffee to stand out. Here are some of the most interesting specialty offerings to get your caffeine addiction through the warmer months…or what’s left of them.
Mecca Espresso Shakerato $4 (Ultimo)
This one is all about that extra slap in the face, with not one, but two espresso shots, shaken with sugar syrup. Unfortunately, the take away form comes in a jar, and although we can see that for this drink there’s a particular logic; lid on and shake; it’s still embarrassing to be seen walking around with.
Rueben Hills Coffee Slushi with Panella $6 (Surry Hills)
There aren’t too many options out there for slushis that will provide you with a caffeine hit, but Rueben Hills should be all you need. The coffee flavours comes out a lot more than expected, and $6 for a good quality shake ain’t too bad either.
Take Coffee Vietnamese Coconut Coffee $5.40 (Marrickville)
The sweetness of the condensed milk and coconut in here isn’t enough to overpower the richness of the coffee; you get the best of both worlds. A bit heavier than a frappe but very refreshing none the less. Those who are more adventurous might want to try the coffee and avocado shake.
Coffee Alchemy The Sparkler $7 (Marrickville)
Ever heard of coffee fresh on tap? If so, it was probably from Coffee Alchemy. Get ice cold coffee in a matter of seconds, mixed with sparkling water for one very refreshing brew. And how does it taste? Well pretty much exactly like black coffee mixed with sparkling water. They rotate the beans used regularly though, so you’ll get something a little different every time.
Don Campos Tom Thumb $5.50 (Alexandria)
Don Campos offer a selection of cold summer specials; cold drop, spritzer; but the Tom Thumb is the stand out. Mixed up in your coffee, you’ll have refreshing lemon sorbet, fresh lime and mint for the ultimate summer blend. It’s kind of like a cocktail of the coffee world, with caffeine to replace alcohol.
Piccolo Me Lemon and Rose Water Cold Drip $5.90 (CBD)
Piccolo Me are good at their sweet concoctions, both hot and cold. This particular edition is not your average cold brew- it has a twist each of lemon juice and rose to give it that something special. They also have an extensive range of flavoured iced coffees; the most notable being the Nutella iced coffee.
Surry Hills, Sydney
Minimalism is the name of the game here as you walk into a reasonably spacious cafe with off white walls which match the counter as well as a couch; the only bit of furniture they have. An open space at the back suggests that there may be some plans ahead to set up more of an eat-in area, but for now there’s simply just a lot of standing space to while you wait for your coffee. Although there’s not much happening, I really liked this low key, unassuming atmosphere, and spaciousness beats its peers which leave queues spilling out on the street.
Following suit with the decor, the menu is also minimalist. It’s all about the coffee and nothing else here, with food options M.I.A. But as long as they do the coffee well, that’s okay.
They offer regular coffee options, as well as a manual drip and a single origin cold brew (mine was from Ethiopia Kolowa) that comes in an adorable little 200ml bottle. Standard flat whites are good; smooth texture, rich body and not burnt. The cold brew was a little bitter compared to most, but is a good option if you want milk free.
Cold brew 5
Manual filter 6
547 Bourke Street Surry Hills
Having opened recently, Edition Coffee Roasters is still quite minimalist and bare with no real decor on the plain white walls and seating for around 20 in the small one room cafe. Not that, that is a problem of course, this can work as a long term style, and Edition certainly seems to rock that style- even the takeaway cup are completely blank.
There is a selection of breakfast options that mainly include gourmet twists on the cafe standards, but let’s get down to the coffee. Considering that Edition roast their own coffee, I expected good quality. Those expectations rose a little when I was charged $4 for a regular coffee. I mean, that’s pretty much airport prices.
The coffee was good. It had a very smooth texture and clean crisp taste. It wasn’t too bitter. It definitely wasn’t burnt and it didn’t taste particularly acidic either. So needless to say it was nice. But was it $4 nice? I don’t think it stood out enough from other coffee bean roasters to warrant the price, although it was good enough that is return.
Price $4 regular coffee
265 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst
Images from Edition’s facebook
Adelaide has racked up a nice little collection of coffee specialty stores over the past few years and Coffylosophy is one of them.
Located in Adelaide’s quiet Eastend, with library bookshelves wallpaper, it makes for a low key and relaxing place to enjoy a light meal and caffeine hit. With various coffee brewing apparatus perched on the walls near the entry, it also raises the hope for a good coffee itself. But we all know that simply offering a selection of beans and brewing methods does not guarantee barista or bean quality and the eventual good cup.
To their credit, Coffylosophy to better than many peers who claim to be fine coffee artisans but still manage to produce a burnt and bland coffee. The syphon is their main work of art and ordering one will get you front row seats for its theatrical creation. Served in a glass upon a wooden board, surrounded by chocolate pebbles ready to mix in, I found it a little more acidic and bitter than I prefer, but that’s a matter of personal taste.
Aside from coffee, a healthy range of juices are on offer here and some light meal options. They are all fairly standard of the cafe scene now and quality is good but nothing worth raving about.
Overall, Coffylosophy has a lot of good points; nice location, peaceful atmosphere, free wifi, reasonable prices, food and drink is nice; but no great points which set it way apart from similar cafes in Adelaide. If your wondering the south-east end of the CBD though, it’s probably your best option.
198A Hutt Street, Adelaide
Photos from Coffylosophy’s facebook
The Grounds of Alexandria saw a big, gaping hole in the market and filled it. The Sculptures by the Sea exhibition attracts huge crowds every year, and aside from hitting the streets of Bondi, what food options have the hordes previously had? Usually a simple bbq. Enter Grounds of Alexandria, ready to supply the art spectators with gourmet juices, signature coffees, breakfast, lunch and dinner at their pop up Grounds by the Sea, sitting pretty amongst the sculptures in Marks Park.
The pop up takes that family-beach-shack type feel, and adds a bit of a cottage garden touch to create a relaxed atmosphere, despite the long queues. There’s quite a contrast in the prices of food and drink- whilst both are creative and high quality offerings, the food is quite reasonable, however the juices will set you back a pretty penny.
A decent sized bowl of Bircher with yoghurt, quinoa, poached peaches, pomegranate seeds and berries will only set you back $10 and a brekkie brioche burger with bacon, avo, cheese and egg, only $12. But a freshly squeezed juice (albeit topped with a nice chunk of watermelon) is $8, add another $3 if you want a smoothie. And the biggest travesty? Market favourite, fresh sugar cane juice is also $8 (my expectations were $5 maximum). Of course you can always opt for the famous Ground’s coffee which holds it standard price.
I went for breakfast, but there are separate menus for lunch and all day and the food, as expected, is pretty damn good. The lines are long though, even at 8:30am the wait for food pick up (including coffee) was 15 minutes. If you don’t want to be trapped in the hot sun for that long, then maybe this isn’t worth it.
Bircher Muesli $10
Marks Park, Bondi Beach
Until November 9th
With only a small counter and shop front, Black Toast is deceptively large. It goes back fairly deep, opening into a decent seating area. And it’s a good thing too, because it usually gets pretty crowded on weekends.
Packets of Campos Coffee, Sonoma and Madhouse Muesli and Black Toast’s very own organic chai line shelves as you enter, all available for purchase. There are also Sonoma sourdoughs and small range of fairly standard cakes and pastries laid out in the rustic wooden counter. The further you walk, the more industrial it gets, with graffiti art covering the walls, exposed pipe, etc. However, rather than feeling like you’re inside a suspiciously clean warehouse or factory, like most industrial-type eateries, you feel like you’re sitting outside it, on the street.
At $3.50, the coffee wasn’t particularly notable, just good given the lack of options around. This made me consider that perhaps the food and seating was the main drawing point of Black Toast, and the reason behind its popularity. Then the packaged chai got me thinking; maybe I ordered the wrong drink…so I went back to try the chai latte. I don’t know that they use their actual mix of herbs and spices you see in the packets or whether it’s some kind of powder, but the result is pretty damn tasty and full of cinnamon.
Regular coffee/chai: $3.50
43 Booth Street, Annadale
Fillo and Co opened it’s doors to Brisbane’s West End about a year ago, joining a host of other cafés in the area. Unlike it’s peers however, Fillo and Co boasts an artisan selection of coffee and baked good, all made from ingredients sourced locally.
The shop front is wooden and looks somewhat like a take away shop or deli. They stock handmade chocolates, gourmet ice cream (including Popsicles, choc tops and ice cream sandwiches), and Mediterranean-based filo pastries featuring a range of fillings; all this on top of their specialty blend coffee.
The verdict? The food looked good, but I’ve only tasted the coffee- a bottled cold brew and a long black. Neither were fantastic. The cold brew in particular was particularly bitter, something that you don’t expect from cold brews. Rated solely on the coffee, I would say it’s that good.
68 Boundary Street, West End
Image courtesy of the thousands
A recent trip to World Square may have had you notice this reasonably new espresso bar. Perched just at the George Street entrance, the wide and open wooden exterior is hard to miss.
The decor, music, coffee machine’s and even the staff’s clothing all support a classic fifties bar theme. Kingswood does this quite well, making it stand out easily. The lack of dedicated seating, however, means that you can only really enjoy the atmosphere while you order and wait.
The coffee itself, brewed from Sensory Lab beans, is good, not amazing. But like most of the coffee shops down this end of town, is opts for $3.50 price tag. Better coffee can be found around the cbd for $3.
Kingswood focuses mainly on coffee; iced and filter, etc are also available, but other than that, a small selection of pastries are available for $4.50 each, including some oddly-shaped croissants that have outer layers so crispy and flakey that they are rather reminiscent of a French Madeline.
World Square, 680 George Street Sydney
Pictures from Kingswood’s Facebook.
For such a small cafe, Harvest Espresso in Victoria Park has worked up quite a name for itself. If you plan to come in and sit down, then plan to spend a long time waiting. I can’t say whether the food is worth the wait – haven’t had it (although it looked nice from a distance) – but if you’re getting coffee, I would suggest take away. Given how tiny and cramped this place is, it’s hard to say anything too positive about the atmosphere. The decor itself is nice; simple with lots of wood paneling and metallic features, but it is difficult to appreciate when there is so much going on around you and so little room to enjoy it.
Onto the coffee. It was good, not great. I definitely wouldn’t deem it good enough to warrant having “Espresso” in the name of the restaurant (although they use good quality 5 Senses Beans, their specialty really seems to be food more than coffee).
Victoria Park, 629 Albany Highway
Slightly hidden away in Bulletin Place, Cabrito Coffee Traders draws a deservedly large crowd. The staff are well trained, they use blends from a lot if local roasters(Proud Mary, Mecca, …), and the coffee is pretty damn good. The long blacks are rich and sweet; overall very tasty. Even the flat whites and lattes have a rich flavour , but they offer a reward in the form of a 50c discount for those who do not pollute their coffee with milk.
The place itself is nice too, a little dark and only a small amount if seating, but it’s still a peaceful setting and decorated with various novelties reminiscent of your child years.
They also have cakes available which I haven’t tried, but the coffee definitely stands out,
10-14 Bulletin Place, Circular Quay