Concrete cafe, Pyrmont

Concrete cafe, Pyrmont

Karmee coffee. 224 Harris St, Pyrmont. I read about someone having a good meeting here on twitter, and it was about the right distance from work to make it there and back in a lunchtime walk.

Don’t be put off by the seemingly high prices, and the stylish furniture: this is still just an appealing place to pause for a cup of coffee. Various open windows and doors, and a high ceiling make this a really breezy space, and the polished concrete floor (and liquor licence) give the place a feeling somewhere between a cafe and an upmarket pub.

Arriving as late in the day as I do (mid afternoon), the staff levels are minimal, but the service is friendly and efficient. The food order is called out to an unseen kitchen, and the coffee is prepared immediately, giving me a few moments to sit and wait for my takeaway lunch.

When I see the decaf retrieved pre-ground from a plastic container, I’m briefly grateful that at least the container was sealed. To make up for the lack of coffee flavour, the coffee is really milky, with a slightly sweet note to it. It’s as good as one might hope given the state of the initial coffee it springs from.

Simmone Logue, Double Bay

Karmee Coffee. 2 Cross St, Double Bay. A combination of a deli and bakery, this place too is crowded on a Sunday. Queuing at the counter gives you a chance to watch the staff interact: even when the pressure is on, they’re professional, and handle the varying temperaments of their customers.

Coffee takes a few minutes to come together, it’s well made and slightly sweet.

On the grind café, North Sydney

Karmee coffee. 50 Berry st, north sydney. Next door to a pub, in the lobby of an office building, this glass-walled space is well lit, and staffed with a friendly barista. A small menu with some classic items, and plenty of space to pause and think.

The decaf is pre-ground, and yet it tastes okay; a bit thin, but eminently drinkable.

Update (1-Aug-2008): the ever-energetic Tony has now bought a small grinder just for decaf. A decaf macchiato that I tried out shows a marked improvement. Not to mention that this man knows how to make a toasted sandwich: the perfect balance of crusty bread and just the right amount of topping.

Apartment café, Sydney

Karmee coffee. 155 Macquarie St, Sydney. Lots of glass, and lots of natural light in this upmarket city cafe at the base of an apartment complex. There are four staff behind the “kitchen in the round”, and another two or three waiting tables.

Coffee takes a while, but it’s worth it: sweet on first sip, hot, perhaps a little thin. Pleasant lingering aftertaste. The toast was really slow, but I suspect that this was a new staff member’s first day.

As a place to write, this would be good, I think. Lots of space and light, and close to the State Library if you suddenly need a complete change of pace.

Vanilla bean and lime café, Padstow.

Karmee coffee. Opposite the train station. Lots of green in the décor inside:a slight breeze drifts through the shaded outdoor area, and a couple of fans do their best to create some airflow inside. Seating for about 40 people overall.

Tomorrow’s classic rock music is piped in quite loudly, and the staff seem friendly enough, able to deal with special requests cheerfully.

Coffee is good. Not too hot, a pleasant texture, and neither too strong nor too weak.

Tea is brought out in a Bodum plunger, for the tea drinkers.

Ripples, Milsons Point

Karmee coffee. North Sydney Olympic Pool, Olympic Drive, Milsons Point. Immediate views of the Sydney Opera House, and the underneath of the Harbour Bridge: to order a takeaway coffee is to stand at the “please wait to be seated” sign, and a polite, formal, yet friendly waiter is business casual attire takes the order and the money.

A gentle breeze takes the heat out of a summer’s day, and the diners enjoy the benefit of big umbrellas. There are seats and – for those on the outside of the tables, cushions on a sandstone wall. The food is strictly restaurant-grade: mains are mostly in the upper twenties, even at lunch!

Coffee is neither fast nor particularly slow in its arrival, a little thin, fairly strong, but for some reason the flavour doesn’t leap out at me: it’s not an unpleasant cup, but not an immediate favourite.