Sydney is a beautiful city with plenty to see and do, but sometimes it's nice just to relax and enjoy a good cup of coffee. Luckily, there are plenty of great cafes in Sydney where you can find the perfect cuppa. So whether you're looking for somewhere quiet and peaceful to work or study, or a bustling cafe with a great atmosphere, Sydney has something for everyone. Here are some of the best places to find coffee in Sydney!
If you're looking for the best coffee in Sydney, you don't have to look any further. We've compiled a list of the best cafes and coffee shops in the city, so you can enjoy a delicious cup of Java wherever you are. Whether you're downtown or in one of the suburbs, we've got you covered. So check out our list and start exploring!
Best Coffee in Sydney
Australia's claim to the flat white may be contentious, but our love affair with coffee is hardly up for debate. Our roasters and baristas are some of the most accomplished, inventive, and technical. It seems with each passing month, there’s a new brewing technique, new gadgets or a shift in the idea of what good coffee actually means.
These are the cafes defining the future and, at the same time, giving us the basics at their very best. The only thing left for you to do is decide how you like your coffee.
Single O (formerly Single Origin Roasters) was one of the pioneers in Sydney’s third wave coffee movement when it opened in 2003. And it's still at the forefront. In April 2019, it debuted Sydney's first self-serve batch brew bar. The bar’s taps look a bit like what you’d see at a craft beer brewery (in fact, that’s what they were inspired by), and mean, the cafe can serve four different brews at any one time.
The rest of owners' Dion and Emma Cohen, the focus is on single origins, espresso and meticulously crafted blends. As a result, educating Sydneysiders about flavour profiles, brewing methods and growing regions has been something of a side-effect.
Quite a few years down the track, and the cafe may no longer have an on-site roaster (that’s all taking place at the Botany Roast Works), but the coffee has only gotten better.
Comfortably compact inside, the tiny cafe has wall art by Brett Chan and a long stretch of street-side wooden seating. You’ll get your coffee, a thoughtful seasonal feed and all the details about your brew in one sitting. Don’t forget to ask some coffee-related questions or check out the current roasts on offer for take-home and DIY.
For more science or a coffee-to-go, head next door to their new addition, Sideshow coffee bar (designed and built by Ross Nicholls), for a theatrical display of V60s, cold drips and general gadgetry.
Ona Coffee’s Sydney outpost in Marrickville is unlike its popular Canberra venues – The Cupping Room, Ona Fyshwick, Ona Manuka, and Highroad. Those are brunch first, coffee second; here, it’s all about the coffee.
Whether you enjoy your coffee white, black or filtered, there’s multiple coffee blends of various styles and origins. Ona Marrickville also has a working list of premium-reserve coffees, available to taste by the glass. These have also been roasted and aged to a point where the coffee essence is at its best before being vacuum-sealed into individual doses and frozen.
The minimalist but warm space – aided by matcha-green paint and a healthy dose of natural sunlight – ensures the coffee does all the talking.
The only things standing between you and the baristas are a long plywood island table – which doubles up as a seated bar – and the baristas’ workbench where their tools are lined in a row, including a striking black San Remo coffee machine, coffee bean dispensers and Hario V60 coffee makers.
Given coffee is the focus, the food menu is short, but that’s not to say it hasn’t been carefully considered. There are dishes such as a citrus house-cured kingfish smorrebrod with lemon aioli, pickles, capers, boiled egg and rye; and avocado with a poached egg activated-charcoal labneh and a house-made togarashi (spice blend) on rye.
For something on the sweeter side, there’s the rye waffle with rhubarb, orange mascarpone, walnuts and maple, as well as Short Stop doughnuts and Butterbing cookies.
While the cafe operates as a daytime espresso bar out front, out back, there’s a dedicated barista training room. It’s used mostly for wholesale training but is also open to anyone wanting to learn barista skills – from basic to advanced – and even latte art.
The Fine Food Store
Starting with probably the best coffee in Sydney is the Fine Food Store, located in the corner of Mill Lane and Kendall lane. Their single-origin home-brewed coffee has been serving visitors for the past decade, be it for a coffee enthusiast or for someone looking to grab one on the go.
Offering rotating seasonal blends, such as the ‘Sweet lady’ along with Melbourne’s own Sensory Lab roast, they pride themselves in serving the highest standard of coffee and one of the best cafes in Sydney CBD.
Apart from the coffee, there are also plenty of options for specialty Teas – from China-the Red Mystic, Green Genmaicha from Japan, and breakfast serves from India and Sri Lanka.
The food menu here is a mouthwatering treat too! Filled with wraps, chicken sandwiches, lamb quesadilla, and burgers. My personal favourite to go along with a cup of espresso is the Belgian waffle with caramelised banana and spicy chorizo on the side. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and spice while at the same time an appetising breakfast.
If you are after a vegetarian option, then give it a go with the cultured mushrooms on potato hash.
At Industry Beans, the focus has always been on innovative approaches to coffee making. These pioneers, who began their cafe chain in Melbourne over a decade ago, were the first-ever in Australia to introduce the new under-the-counter espresso machine – Modbar Espresso AV by La Marzocco.
While all other cafes in Sydney have their coffees made behind the massive espresso machines, this one of a kind under the counter machines allows customers to have a better look at the amount of detail and process it takes to make and pour the perfect cup, making it one of the best coffee roasters in Sydney.
The classy white coffee dispensers with machines hidden under it is quite an appealing and unique sight to see and feels like coffee-on-tap. The speciality coffee that you get to choose from starts with their Signature espresso blend, the ‘Fitzroy Street’ blend with new single origins for espresso and filter introduced every fortnight. So if you are looking to explore coffee, this is the best place to start!
Expect minimalistic & sleek white interiors, which is the signature design of all the Industry Beans’ cafes. The IB fried chicken burger here with beet and carrot slaw and jalapeno mayo is the perfect bite you need to lift your spirits during a busy work week.
This is an excellent cafe in Sydney CBD, making it a perfect spot for a quick business meet or just a well-deserved break. Oh, and don’t forget to sign up on their official app to order coffee ahead to skip the queue and earn points for each cup you grab.
Gumption by Coffee Alchemy
Gumption brings in the coffee from the award-winning coffee roasters, Coffee Alchemy, to the city.
The Marrickville based coffee roaster has received many accolades, such as the Australian Barista Champion title, the Australian Cupping Champion title, and also is the winner of many other coffee bean awards.
The Gumption cafe is located in the busy but beautiful Strand Arcade in Pitt Street Mall, with only standing room inside but plenty of seats outside in the arcade itself. In addition to offering a great single-origin and other meticulously sourced selections of coffees, one may also buy coffee brewing accessories, cups and many other goodies for enthusiasts.
Make sure you grab a bag of beans from the many options available to take home. This place is all about serving a good cup of coffee for the visitors shopping in the heritage arcade and the office goers in the city who is after a moment of escape from their desk hours.
Unlike their candy counterpart, Skittle Lane’s interiors stick to a more muted palette of blonde wood, black marble coffee bar and high, white ceilings. Sunlight streams in from the long windows, and a vase of fresh cotton balls and paint tins provide the minimal adornment of the space. It's all very Nordic and elegant.
The space is beautiful, but Skittle Lane ain’t just about Instagram-worthy interiors – these guys are dishing out full-bodied brews. Two large steely silver La Marzocco coffee machines pump out espressi, which are the exact right way to kick start your morning: rich, gentle and very well made. CBD workers know this too, so there's a small line snaking out into the adjacent lobby.
Their pourover is worth an order too – on our visit, it's an Ethiopia Abaya that's got soft, fruity notes. Much like their block buddies PS40, it's a slick but friendly operation here, and service is snappy but delivered with plenty of smiles. They take care of the daytime drinks, and PS40 sorts out the after-hours booze.
They don’t have much by the way of kitchen space, but they are still able to whip up things on (and in between) toasted sourdough bread. The sliced egg, parmesan and truffle oil is just a touch under seasoned (and we can't find salt and pepper), but it's a pretty tasty way to start the day. Next, opt for some breakfast dessert and try the brioche bun with mascarpone. It’s like a less intense cinnamon bun, which is a perfect Fri-Yay morning treat.
If you're after a big breakfast to cure a hangover, maybe save Skittle Lane for later on. Go here when you're in need of a killer coffee with an ace hip hop soundtrack and good vibes.
Kingswood Coffee in Sydney is your everyday grab-and-go coffee spot, located right in the heart of the CBD. A wooden Victorian-style facade of a La Marzocco coffee machine surrounded by a couple of coffee drinkers, this place offers hot and cold drinks, a signature hot chocolate, chai, tea and a couple of sweet bites from the ever-changing selection.
They roast their own speciality coffee and for enthusiast home coffee makers, make sure you pick up a bag of Kingswood specialty coffee beans. They use the ‘Steadfast Espresso blend’ from Sensory labs, and this is one coffee that you will definitely want to come back whether you are working in the city or just strolling through, and your heart yearns for a coffee.
If your heart also tricks you into having a snack, then they have pastries, croissants and cronuts!
Edition Coffee Roasters
Darling Square has quickly grown to be one of the weekend favourites for Sydneysiders. The bustling precinct – just a few minutes of walk away from Darling Harbour – is popular for its architectural landmark, The Exchange and the wide range of restaurants and bars.
At the very end of Steam Lane, Edition Coffee Roasters is an award-winning Japanese and Scandinavian fusion cafe with matt black chic interiors with beautiful strokes of tradition. The seating with sunken floors, also known as Horigotatsu, a fine dining inspired menu with Scandinavian sandwiches and Japanese pancakes and a smooth, creamy coffee, makes Edition coffee roaster a unique cafe experience.
The coffee comes in all forms from all across the world – Columbia, Costa Rica, San Francisco, Minas Gerais and the recent limited offering ‘Ethiopian – Diamond’ all roasted for batch brew, pour-over and Japanese brew!
Now, if not in the mood for coffee, there is Chai, Japanese Tea and a Chung Feng Jasmine Tea from China. The food menu here comprises of Scandinavian style open sandwiches, Japanese burgers and one of the best selling ones right now from what the staff told me is the ‘Udon with Poor Man’s XO and korsuobushi’ which is a serve of juicy pipis with delicate flavouring and topped with soft noodles. If you have a sweet tooth, then the go-to option on the menu is the Japanese scuffle pancake with salted caramel mousse.
When Russell Beard sold The Source in Mosman and opened Reuben Hills in 2012, he wanted to make coffee approachable to anyone who was interested in learning.
Downstairs, among exposed cement walls and long tables, various filters and brewing tools litter the benchtops. Each waits patiently for curious customers to start a conversation about what it actually does.
On the mezzanine level, beans are roasted for use downstairs and sold wholesale throughout Sydney. And those customers who are truly keen to learn about the process are invited to a public cupping (tasting) session every Saturday morning.
Beard and head roaster Nick Theodore have travelled all over the world, developing relationships with coffee farmers. These partnerships allow them to constantly bring new beans to Sydney but also to give back to the communities, developing infrastructure and educational programs overseas.
The menu is made up of dishes adapted from the regions where the beans are grown. That means mostly South American fare, with a twist to better satiate the Australian palate, including the famous fried chicken and the NOT Reuben sandwich (Wagyu brisket, pickled slaw, manchego and horseradish mayo on rye).
As beans from new regions make their way to the roaster upstairs, flavours inspired by these same regions make their way onto the menu, including dishes from all over Central and South America and Africa.
Primary Coffee Roasters
Primary, his first solo venture, is more showroom than cafe. Blonde oak and Hamptons-vibe wall panelling bring warmth to the stark white concrete interior, which Jake Brainerd designed.
Expect to find the highest quality single origins offered as filter and espresso. The seasonal blend is half Ethiopian, half Colombian, and when combined with Sungold Jersey milk from Warrnambool in Victoria, it exudes caramel, chocolate, and nougat notes.
Apart from the odd house-made madeleine or a croissant from Pennyfours, distractions like breakfast and lunch have been entirely stripped away.
The low down: One of Sydney's most influential roasters and coffee shops has multiple sites, but the re-furbished site where the beans are roasted is king. High ceilings, a mezzanine level, and even a penthouse where a select few can perch and look over the entire room is not only a coffee mecca, it's a great café in its own right.
And when it comes to coffee, they’ve got all the bases covered – espresso, pour-over and more.
Paramount Coffee Project
The low down: From the team that smashed our café perceptions with Reuben Hills (damn great coffee too), this brewed awakening in the former Paramount Pictures building is coffee nerd central. This is a showcase of the latest global beans and brews, with a rotating menu and their very own brew bar where they experiment with the best applications for each varietal.
Oh, and the Southern American-style food is cracking too.
The low down: Filling St Peters' industrial Precinct vibe with the smell of roasting coffee every day is Sample, who have grown into one of the city's most prolific roasters with an obsessive devotion to ethically sourced beans and obscure single origins.
One of Alexandria's most acclaimed roasterys and run by Brewtown alumni Nawar Adra, Stitch Coffee has spent the last few years supplying beans to some of the city's best-loved coffee spots, including Cavalier 2.0 and Marrickville's two chaps. Now, the roaster has branched out into its first dedicated retail space, taking up residence in the student hotspot of Broadway, just walking distance from Glebe, where they will be selling ethically-sourced espressos, a selection of home brew equipment and merch designed by Evi-O studios.
White Horse Coffee
The low down: The Shire may have the highest concentration of coffee snobs per capita anywhere in Sydney, and local roaster White Horse are thriving in the city's south as a result, with cafes from Sutherland to Cronulla and all along the south coast slinging their beans. The only catch? Their own cafes aren't open on Sundays. The absolute madmen.
Frequently Asked Questions About Coffee
Red beans have a nicer smell and are less acidic. Red beans are used to produce lighter coffees. The longer that coffee beans have been roasted – the healthier they are. Decaffeinated coffee comes from a chemical process where the caffeine is taken out of the beans.
Finland — 12 kg/26 lbs — Finland is the world's biggest consumer of coffee on a per-person basis. The average Finn drinks nearly four cups a day.
Arabica is the most popular type of coffee, hands down. Depending on who you ask, many coffee enthusiasts prefer using Arabica beans due to its taste. Typically used for black coffee, Arabica beans have a sweeter, more complex flavor that you can drink straight.