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The best coffee in Sydney

Time Out's top coffee spots that are roasting their own beans

Photograph: Anna Kucera

We are a city in love with coffee. And we’re damn good at it too. Here’s our list of where to go and what you’ll get. For more coffee inspo, check out our guides to Sydney's best coffee cocktails, unusual coffee experiences, cycling cafés and the best Sydney CBD coffee.

Coffee Alchemy

Every coffee type is tasted fresh daily before the doors swing open at seven, and the vigilance doesn't cease until the doors are closed. That’s dedication. They are also the folks behind Gumption in the Stand.

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Marrickville

Cabrito Coffee Traders

They're roasting their own beans right there in Circular Quay, as well as at their outpost in Roseberry. The Milk Man house blend is super smooth and rich and you can take your own bag home for just $12.50.

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Circular Quay

Skittle Lane

The café space is beautiful but Skittle Lane ain’t just about Instagram-worthy interiors – these guys are dishing out full-bodied brews and roasting their own beans. 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. 

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Sydney
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Campos Coffee

At Campos, a cramped corner of coffee-crazed Sydney, the baristas are as much a part of the action as the black magic elixirs that draw connoisseur crowds from all over Sydney. Three men in black - half man, half machine - move as one to background jazz, arms thrusting, wrists snapping, hands thwacking like trip hammers and torsos twisting with the effort of finding and grinding, tamping and clamping. "Speed, calm, passion, power," says owner Will Young, who founded Campos seven years back. Young is a believer that the perfect coffee is "40 per cent bean, 40 per cent barista and 20 per cent machine - the ultimate aim for all baristas is to make coffee taste as good as it smells." 

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Newtown

Toby's Estate Woolloomooloo

Roaster Toby Smith is a Sydney coffee alchemist. On top of the café, there's also a coffee school, teaching Sydney how to make the perfect coffee. You'll also find cafés in Chippendale and Barangaroo and interstate. Their Woolloomooloo blend is a go-to for many cafés across the city. 

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Wooloomooloo

Mecca Alexandria

Mecca have long been the kingpins of the Sydney coffee game and you'll find their beans in their own café outposts and a handful of other excellent coffee spots dotted across the city. The beans are roasted in Alexandria in their vintage German roaster born in 1957 that produces a rich, deep, melodic flavour.

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Alexandria
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Single O Surry Hills

There's a reason this roastery/café on Reservoir Street is still one of lower Surry Hills' most popular spot for a pre-work brekky meeting. For starters, there's the coffee – no surprise, given the spot is HQ for the roasters supplying some of Sydney's top cafés. The team here serve a house blend they call Reservoir and it's a doozy: sweet, clean and light – perfect for a milk-based morning cup.

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Surry Hills

The Little Marionette - Annandale

This Annandale café is the size of a shoebox. At first glance, it’s nought but a couple of tables and a banquette lining big open windows, and a coffee machine in the corner. Out the back there’s a room taken up with a massive roaster – the heart of the business. In a city where coffee is almost as important as breathing, this is pretty much a must in any good café.

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Annandale

Gypsy Espresso

Sydney is a coffee town. People here love to throw themselves about declaring they cannot possibly function without a shot each morning, worshipping their daily dose with the kind of breathless reverence usually reserved for their gods and Radiohead. And this is just for your run-o-the-mill cup of joe. We cannot begin to imagine the hyperbole that will be unleashed when people get a taste of the coffee at Gypsy Espresso in Potts Point. Seasoned caffeinators will be wrapping their feet in barbed wire to crawl on hands and knees, across deserts, in eight feet of snow for the kind of spine-tinglingly good coffee they are dishing up here. You might remember the little side street café from its former stint as a Toby’s Estate satellite, but now the beans are produced in house and boy, are they onto a winner. Here the coffee reaches that mythical union where scent and flavour come together as one, the temperature maintained under beautifully worked milk with a touch of latte art that indicates skill more than flair.

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Potts Point
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The best breakfasts in Sydney

Aussie breakfasts are legendary the world over, and we damn well know how to do them right here in Sydney. From the best cheese toastie around to that liquorice bread, here's our list of where to go and what to order at the best cafés in Sydney.

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By: Time Out editors