You may have heard a rumor that Australians are coffee snobs. I am here to tell you that rumor is an actual fact. Spurred by the arrival of Greek, Italian, and Lebanese immigrants from the 1950s onward, the national coffee culture was transformed; it’s possible you won’t find any people on the planet (save maybe the Turkish) so insistent that they make the best coffee in the world. Ordering can take a bit of getting used to here. If you want a plain ol’ American coffee, order like me and ask for a “long black with a dash of cold milk.” You’ll get a funny look, but they’ll make it for you with pride. Another thing to remember: Iced coffee isn’t really a ‘thing’ in Oz. You can find it, but it won’t be easy; you can try to order it, but it won’t go over well with the barista. Let them guide you, and suddenly you’ll wonder how you can ever drink drip coffee again.
Cubicle dwellers line up at all hours of the workday at this shoebox-sized shopfront at the foot of the gorgeous Galeries Victoria shopping center in the heart of the city. It’s also across from the Queen Victoria Building, convenient for a pre- or post-shopping jolt. This is your fail-safe choice.
This teeny-tiny flagship in Newtown is ground zero for some of the city’s most celebrated beans. It’s always crowded and you’ll have to fight for a seat, but it’s worth it for the delectable creations they’re making here. And at 200 cups served per hour, it’s clear they’ve got the whole operation down to a science.
The baristas take their coffee very, very seriously at this Bondi outpost, where the beans are prepared on a state-of-the-art Probat Coffee Roaster. The staff has even been known to toss out an extra serving of brewed beans just so customers can compare and contrast. You’ll be buzzing by the time you leave.
Barefoot Coffee Traders
This modest shopfront near the Manly Beach Wharf is an efficient choice for pavement pounders scurrying off to the area’s golden sands. Head here for a strong, satisfying sip, but don’t expect much food—the menu is limited to waffles. Oh, and it doesn’t do decafs.
The Grounds of Alexandria
This buzzing joint located in a heritage-listed warehouse on Sydney’s south side draws in customers on any day of the week thanks to a laidback atmosphere and one of the city’s best cups of joe. Order yours and take a seat in the courtyard, located just next to an organic garden. Feeling peckish? Their three-cheese toastie is a breakfast must.