Artificer is not about cake. It's not about sandwiches or even a nice cup of tea. Artificer is about one thing: coffee. That's all they sell. Co-owners Shoji Sasa and Dan Yee are sourcing the beans themselves and roasting them onsite, and what they don't know about beans isn't worth knowing.
When you go in they'll ask you "What do you feel like?". Turn that shit around and ask them what's good – you might be surprised. We try a Bolivian iced coffee cherry brew. The cherries are the fruit that sits around the bean usually roasted, and here they're stored in the fridge to keep them fresh (they are fruit after all). They're steeped "like tea" and the result is totally delicious. It comes in elegant glassware, amber-hued with a spherical ice cube bobbing about. It smells like honeyed lemonade but tastes fruity and slightly tannic, with a gentle sweetness that lingers on the palate. The caffeine kick is slow and gentle. It must be the most refreshing drink Sydney has ever known; like a tisane, but boosted.
Go a flat white if you want to keep things traditional. They roast on Wednesdays and change up the blend, but the day we're in it's Colombian and Brazilian. It smells like chocolate and tastes rich and sweet with a complex acidic punch at the end, alongside a clean, fruit-driven bitterness. It's bloody glorious, and is one of the best coffees in Sydney right now. Plus, you always get a glass of water on the side (major plus points from us).
The interior has those Japanese-Nordic feels championed in other (similarly excellent) venues like Edition Coffee Roasters and Cho Cho San – lots of white, plywood, brass and miniature glow stick-like neon lights. They've got hip-hop on rotation, reflecting the vibe of this place which is very chilled. It's already damn popular – full on a Tuesday lunch, and remember, these guys only do coffee.
Rather than a venue doing lots of things to an average degree, it's nice to see a café doing one thing well. And they're doing coffee very, very well indeed.