How the Locals Like It: Where to Drink Coffee in Sydney


 If you ever find yourself in Sydney, be sure to check out these seven coffee shops.

Depending on who you are, coffee can be many things, from an absolute necessity that allows you to actually function to something of an art form, which you envisage as on-par with Michelangelo’s work on the roof of the Sistine Chapel.

For those of us who aren’t coffee drinkers (a group of people that I personally don’t understand), you must at least be a little appreciative of the culture of coffee; the effort put in by baristas (the best of whom try to create their own little Sistine Chapel masterpiece in every cup), bean roasters, coffee farmers, cafés, coffee bars, and advertisers who have sought to uncover, stumble upon, or create the most perfect coffee experience on earth. 

Personally, I drink a lot of coffee; I just enjoy the taste. I am also fascinated by the idea of coffee, its history, and the stories that exist around this wonderful substance, like the fact that the first references of coffee date back to the thirteenth-century in Afrcica and eventually made its way to Arabian monasteries in the fifteenth century. Coffee is now a social activity shared amongst friends and has also grown to become a competitive arena, with barista competitions and a host of others happening all around the world I suppose it’s probably safe to say I am a little bit of a coffee fan(atic). 

To round up the best coffee shops in Sydney, I decided that I wanted to steer clear of clichés and tried to meander off of the beaten track a little. I wanted to find real the gems — I wanted to find the shops on the local secrets and share with you, where the deliciously good spots to Sydney's coffee scene.

To do this, I reached out to coffee lovers Sydney-wide, by using a very thorough and scientifically sound, primed and proven method of research: I made a Facebook callout to those in Sydney who love coffee. Facebook makes everything official, doesn’t it?

The response was massive, leading me on my own little trail of discovery.

So take it (or drink?) it all in. If you ever find yourself in Sydney, be sure to check out these seven coffee shops.

Crème Café — Woollahra

Located at 101-103 Queen Street, in beautiful Woollahra, about 4 km (about 2.5 miles) from Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD), Crème Café is a hidden gem, well worth looking for if you are a coffee lover in Sydney. Sitting at this lovely little al fresco café, one can feel transported to a place far away and free from the hustle and bustle of city life. Using Toby’s Estate blended coffee, upon presentation, it’s easy to see just how much care the baristas put into making the coffee, with the taste to match. The coffee blend is medium and easy to drink.
My coffee rating: 4/5

The Baker’s Oven Café — The Rocks

Touring through George Street in The Rocks, you might find yourself pulled from the path, as your nose finds its way onto the glass window at the front of Baker’s Oven. You will be forgiven for drooling, while captivated by the amazing array of sweets, including cakes, slice, caramels, Turkish delights, and even more (yes, there truly is more). The coffee at Baker’s Oven is okay…there’s nothing wrong with it, but let’s say it probably doesn’t have the power to make a believer out of the non-coffee drinker. At $4.00 Australian (about $3.50 U.S.), the price is fair. You’ll get the kick you need, and sure it’s an enjoyable cup, but if you only spend $4 on a coffee at Baker’s Oven, you’ve probably missed the point — match this with a slice of cake (or three) and you will appreciate the experience more fully.
My coffee rating: 3/5

Bertoni Casalinga — Balmain

Located in the heart of an inner-west Sydney suburb, Balmain, about 10–15 minutes from the CBD, this café has character. Arriving at Bertoni, I immediately liked the place. The coffee was smooth, easy to drink, and very moreish. Using its own signature blend, Bertoni Casalinga offers the coffee fanatic a chance to sip a mild-to-medium coffee, which hints at a vanilla aftertaste.
coffee rating: 4/5

Four Frogs Creperie — Mosman

Okay, so this is my local spot — Four Frogs café and creperie is located in Mosman, about eight minutes north of the CBD, just across the beautiful Sydney Harbor bridge. They use their own blend of coffee, described as full-bodied, rich coffee with a chocolate aftertaste — sounds amazing, doesn’t it? At $3.50 Australian (or about $3 U.S.) for a small or $4 (or about $3.50 U.S.) for a large, Four Frogs prices are fair, and it is easy to get hooked. A great location in Mosman, this is another café where you find yourself feeling as though you aren’t quite stuck in a city setting.
My coffee rating 4.5/5

Pablo’s Vice Café — Surry Hills

One simply cannot write a review of Sydney’s coffee scene without mention of Surry Hills, which is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city. I won’t delve to deeply here, but Surry Hills might be Sydney’s coffee hotspot. In saying this, Pablo’s Vice Café is a standout. Its blood red color might throw you off at first, but battle through and you will be rewarded. Using the ever-popular (and consistently good) Campo’s Coffee blend, the barista’s work magic, creating a medium-to-strong coffee full of flavor. This is definitely a secret spot for coffee fanatics from across the globe to add to their bucket list and pay a visit.
My coffee rating 4.5/5

Strawberry Fields Patisserie — Dulwich Hills

Another sneaky spot, which is a little out of the way at Dulwich Hills, an inner-west Sydney suburb, located about 20 minutes to the southwest of the CBD. Catering to everyone, with gluten-free, vegetarian, and soy options — oh, and the good stuff as well — Strawberry Fields Patisserie makes a very nice cup of coffee. At first, I was a little skeptical about the old patisserie title, but the coffee at this place was great. Offering a variety of blends, they cater to the tastes of all coffee connoisseurs, with light, medium and dark roasts, there is really something for everyone.
My coffee rating 4.5/5

Café Lilliputien — Bondi

The last place on my list was a café in Bondi called Lilliputien. In the spirit of Gulliver, I made my way to Bondi, one of Sydney’s most iconic destinations, best known for its stretch of white-sand beach and beautifully blue lapping waters. I have to be honest; when I think of coffee, Bondi isn’t usually the sort of place that springs to mind. However, Lilliputien changed my mind. A very quirky and fun little spot, this oddball café makes coffee that will impress the palate of even the harshest critic. Using a rainforest alliance blend, the team at this café is also helping to save the world, and doing it in a way that still allows for a wonderful coffee experience. In my opinion, these guys make the best coffee in Bondi, hands down.
My coffee rating 4.5/5


Mark Henderson is a special contributor to The Daily Meal.