Ye Olde, Bicycle Shop, Bundanoon

Ye olde bicycle shop cafe, bundanoon

Lavazza coffee. 11 Church St, Bundanoon. Disappointingly, there’s no Vodafone coverage in all of the town, which slowed down my progress on blogging this one. Part bicycle shop, but mostly cafe, this is a place where you can hire a bike to ride in the nearby Morton national park. There’s some effort made to accommodate children – some patrons are here with strollers, others can grab a high chair, and there are table-cloths made of butchers’ paper, with coloured pencils provided for drawing on the table.

A range of food options are around: – on the counter there are options of savoury muffins, and – being Bundanoon – there are water bottles to purchase. The town is completely free of bottled water, and has water bottle refill stations near the shops.

No decaf grinder. They serve up an ultra hot (hard to pick up for the first few minutes), milky coffee. Drinkable.

JD’s Patisserie, Broadway

JD's Patisserie, Broadway

Di Lorenzo coffee. 64 Mountain St, Ultimo (in quadrant). A small amount of seating outside, and then inside there’s some space to choose pastries, and watch them creating in the back of the store. There’s a great range of pastries.

The decaf is pre-ground but very pleasant, and the barista is chatty: he seems to be genuinely reaching out to the people in the neighbourhood.

website: Just Desserts

Cafe Q, Ultimo

Cafe Q, Ultimo

Espresso Di manfredi coffee. 68 Mountain St (in the quadrant), Ultimo. Sit outside in the sun, or inside, listening to some old French music being piped in and enjoying the sport on TV.

With its prices, mains mostly above $12, it is trying to attract the more – well-to-do from the surrounding units and offices.

Hot, thin coffee with no decaf grinder. Tastes quite okay, but not spectacular.

Pablo and Rusty’s, Gordon

Pablo and Rusty's, Gordon.

Pablo and Rusty’s coffee. 1/1 St John’s Ave, Gordon. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from Gordon train station. A miniature art gallery of a space: it’s a relaxed, creative space – interesting people gather around – one patron seems to be carrying a whole Apple store with him – iPhone, iPad, MacBook.

They have a decaf grinder, and they’re using it! The coffee is really good. Smooth, almost chocolatey with an earthy aftertaste.

Vanilla Bean and Lime Cafe, Padstow

Vanilla Bean and Lime cafe, Padstow

Karmee coffee. 61 Howard Rd, Padstow. A small number of people can sit outside, but the majority of seating is inside, where the green and black theme is continued to good effect. There’s an elaborate breakfast menu, including a breakfast parfait (muesli, fruit salad, yoghurt) served in a milkshake glass.

They are also working hard to provide options for kids – there are highchairs, and a broad kids menu that’s served in all kinds of child-friendly ways.

Coffee is quite good for the suburbs; no decaf grinder. It’s thin but drinkable.

Cafe 10, Ultimo

Cafe 10, Ultimo

Fix coffee. 235 jones St, Ultimo. The 10 here is a reference to UTS building 10: this on-campus outlet has recently had a change of management and a refit, creating a pleasant, well-lit space with a consistent hum of conversations and rattling plates.

There’s a selection of pre-made sandwiches, fruit and snacks on sale, and a choice of Vietnamese and Chinese soup options too from the busy kitchen.

Though there’s no decaf grinder, I’m assured that the decaf is in high turnover and doesn’t get a chance to become too stale.

And it shows: the coffee is pretty good: much better than a year ago, and above average for uni campus coffee.

Coffee Box, Jannali

Coffee Box, Jannali

Campos coffee. 72 Railway Cres, Jannali. On one wall, there’s a cushioned sofa and a low coffee tables for those who don’t need a traditional height table to work at (or eat at). There was a fire across the road a few months back, so they’re currently hosting the neighbouring chicken shop’s sandwich bar. At $10.50, the sandwiches are expensive: maybe this is standard for the suburb.

If it’s a cold day, you can pick up some warming sun by sitting in the window on a cushion.

Running multiple grinders gives an indication that they’re serious about their coffee. Pay the 50c decaf tax and you’ll experience a well-made campos decaf, full-bodied, great temperature and texture. A good spot to call in for a recharging brew.

Bar Tosca, Surry Hills

Bar Tosca, Surry Hills

Vittoria coffee. 300 Elizabeth St, Surry Hills. In the plaza next to the old RTA building. It has a mix of indoor and outdoor seating for about 50 people. Inside, there’s a sandwich bar and a range of pastries sweet and savoury.

On duty is a chatty, engaging barista who knows his customers by name and order. This would be a pleasant spot to wait for someone you were meeting at Central station.

They have a decaf grinder, but the coffee is not ground to order. Coffee is hot and thin, with an odd flavour at first, but settles down to be a better-than-feared drop (I’ve had some bad experiences with Vittoria in the past).

True Religion espresso bar, Balmain

True Religion espresso bar, Balmain

Own blend of coffee, Tease teas. 2/415 Darling St, Balmain. It’s a friendly, cosy space: in one corner there’s a chess and backgammon board – the very definition of asking your customers to stay for a long while.

The decor is cheery – there are coffee sacks on the walls. It was here that Puff had his first marshmallow!

They take their coffee seriously – there are several grinders in use. The decaf is well-made, but not to my taste.