Felix Cafe, Surry Hills

Felix cafe, surry hills

Calima Colombian coffee. 114 Devonshire St, Surry Hills. Outdoor seating is the only option here. A table off to the side provides a choice of newspapers to read, but it’s too far out of eyeline on approach, especially with the waiting customers queueing in front of it.

The menu is clearly presented, and it’s easy to tell how to order: a staff member at the counter is ready to record the details.

Pre-ground decaf – first sip is a little odd, but settles down to be drinkable.

Gungho Cafe, Haymarket

Gungho cafe, haymarket.

Calima Coffee. Shop 9, 107-121 Quay Street, Haymarket. I’d walked past this place a few times without realising that coffee could be sold here: the bright colours and pictures of food makes it hard to concentrate on any one visual.

As a result, I had fairly low expectations of the coffee, but I thought I should try it out. I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a well-balanced cup with a hint of sweetness to it. First impressions can be deceptive.

Bite Cafe, Eveleigh Markets

Bite cafe, eveleigh markets

Calima coffee. Eveleigh Markets – Saturday mornings 8am-1pm, 243 Wilson St, Eveleigh NSW. Until only a couple of weeks ago, this was a coffee cart, and was serving Allpress coffee. Imagine my surprise to see it transformed: a new coffee machine, and a new blend of coffee await. I take the risk, and order a decaf latte. There’s quite a crowd waiting, and it’s awkward making smalltalk with the other visitors to the stall. Parents juggle their children: locals in search of their groceries wait silently.

Finally my coffee is ready, and it’s good: the flavour is not strong, but the pre-ground decaf hasn’t been completely drowned out by the milk: it’s safe to say that this is worth grabbing as you walk around the other stalls and look at – and sample – some fresh produce.

A tip: arrive early in the day (the market opens at 8am) to make sure this stall doesn’t run out of coffee: by lunchtime, it’s quite possible that there will be nothing left!

Bambini Espresso, Sydney

Calima Coffee. 299 Elizabeth St, Sydney. Just back from Elizabeth St at the south end of Hyde Park, this place is only open on weekdays, 6:30am-4:30pm. There’s outdoor seating for 12, and indoor seating (along the window) for another 4, where you can sit and read some complimentary magazines.

The name of the cafe is up against the wall in a mosaic, just above the coffee machine. One man stands behind the machine, another two people shift between taking orders and making the food: amazingly, in this small space there’s a full kitchen.

The decaf, though not fresh ground, tastes really good: it’s not a complex cup, but has a slight sweetness, and ends up being very drinkable indeed.

Tart Café, Erskineville

Calima coffee. 106 Erskineville Rd, Erskineville. Growing up, Erskineville was always the place that the trains wouldn’t stop, but these days it’s a fairly quiet village-style suburb. This café is on the main street (last time I was here it was called big boys cafe), so the quiet is broken up by the regular sound of cars passing.

Not many people are here for breakfast midweek on a school holiday, which could explain the low staff numbers, and slow arrival of the coffee. Water seems to be self-serve, or request-only too.

Coffee is very smooth; thick, drinkable immediately. This isn’t a blend that improves as the coffee cools, though, so best to drink it fast, if possible.