The filter and espresso brews here are some of Sydney’s best, sourced, roasted and brewed with the care and attention that only the best specialty cafes give their coffee.
The setting is a classic Surry Hills terrace: behind the street door is a long, narrow space with lots of bare concrete and raw brick; the roasting operation happens on the mezzanine above, while the best seats in the house are at a low communal table near the open rear roller door.The roaster works with beans sourced by owner Russell Beard on trips to Africa, Central and South America, with the daily menu featuring beans from several origins. Coffee of the day might be a Fetco batch brew of an Ethiopia Guji Shakiso served in a custom-made ceramic mug – tasting notes of citrus, rhubarb and jasmine – that’s heavily perfumed with jasmine and is clean and rich with stewed fruit sweetness and juicy citrus acidity.
The Reuben Hills filter brews match well with the chilli heat of a lot of the food on a menu that’s heavy with dishes inspired by coffee-buying trips: maybe a delicious plate of huevos divorciados (soft fried eggs, red and green salsa, charro bean, smoked tetilla, tostada), feijoada (a Brazilian stew of chorizo and morcilla) or the justly famous and aptly named Really Fucking Great Fried Chicken.
The espresso brews are just as good as the filter, of course: a short black of the daily espresso – another Ethiopian, this time a Chelelektu, was a little jasmine/floral in aroma, with a nice fruity tang and raspberry sweetness. There’s a milky mouthfeel in the gentle extraction that really lets the coffee sing.
Where 61 Albion Street, Surry Hills
When Mon–Fri 7am–3pm, Sat 7am–3.30pm, Sun 7.30am–4pm