Velluto Nero café, Sydney CBD

Velluto Nero coffee. 259 Clarence St, Sydney. Rated just yesterday by the SMH’s good living section as the best coffee in sydney (though it was an odd set of places, to be sure), I couldn’t resist having a look at this place. The outside is nothing special – there’s a lot of construction work taking place on clarence st at the moment, and the bins were out this morning too, hence this interior shot.

Once you’re inside, though, it’s the kind of place that good living tends to wax lyrical about. Polished concrete, clean lines, a roaster on display as you walk in, all manner of coffee-making gear on sale – even the $2,000+ variety of home espresso machines! Order and pay at the counter: the staff are very friendly and efficient, and the barista even apologises – twice – at how long it’s taking, but hey – it’s the morning rush!

The large, takeaway decaf is very large: about the size of a venti at starbucks, which is surprising for a place that roasts its own coffee: normally drowning the espresso with milk. The cups – like the whole place – excel in their branding: refined and elegant.

The decaf itself is quite good, though it’s hard to tell with all the milk. The more you drink it, the better it gets: the milk is thick and hot at first, but calms down during the course of consuming the beverage, letting the flavour of the coffee shine through. I wouldn’t say the best decaf in sydney, but for a café in the heart of the cbd, it’s worth adding to a list of places that are worth a visit.

Update: As a commenter rightly points out, they roast their own coffee, and it has indeed won awards at the Sydney Easter Show.

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  1. Dave, you didn’t mention that Velluto Nero blends and roasts its own coffee and has won awards for it at the Easter Show.

    Rating coffee on its decaf is liking rating a winery on its non-alcohol wines. Serious coffee tasting should be based on espresso in a standard cup size. If rating decaf is what you do, then perhaps you should mentiojn this in your intro. But, hey, it’s your website/blog.

    I’ve tried around 20 or so different cafes in the CBD, including highly rated ones, and Velluto Nero tops them all.


  2. Steve,

    Thanks for your comment: I should probably mention the decaf more strongly in the text surrounding the site, but I keep thinking that the decaf drinking is a phase.

    I think there’s still some measure of a cafe to be had in the way they treat their decaf, but granted, it’s not the final word.

  3. In a taste-off a few of us had, Mecca topped Velluto Nero consistently, and………bluntly, from the was the SMH Good Living people went about choosing, it seemed to be a bit of a wash-out award. The easter show coffee was………..dire to say the least, at least Aromafest will be better.

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