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Thread: Surry Hills

  1. #1
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    Jul 2010
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    Surry Hills

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Can't believe there isn't a Surry Hills thread already. There are so many spots in there it needs its own too.

    Anyway, I just wanted to plug my new favourite cafe. It's called Sample on Holt St, just back from the corner of Devonshire. They use a blend (Pacemaker) made by Mecca which is superb. I used to rotate beans from Alchemy, Mecca, Campos and Little Marionette but I pretty much just by the Sample blend now. Their coffee is as consistently good as the really top-level places like Alchemy and Mecca. Well worth a try if you're in the area.
    JKM and GrecoRoman like this.

  2. #2
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    I haven't had leisure time to check out cafes in Sydney for a long time, and Surry Hills seems to be quite the hub for plausible sounding coffee roasteries, so I checked out a few with a friend. New crop Kenyans are in, so we tried to hunt them down wherever we could.

    Reuben Hills - Two kenyans on batch brew and filter. One quite green/grassy/vegetal/vegetable stock. Batch brew tasted pretty dull, but some berries and grass/grapefruit came out as it cooled. Feels like slightly underdeveloped roasts. Filter brewed Guatemalan washed geisha was quite good; very clean, classic washed geisha. Have had great coffee from Reuben Hills in the past, so somewhat surprised at this result.

    Single O - No kenyans on offer, but the barista tells us that we have to try two indonesian coffees on offer - a P88 and a longberry, both as batch brews. Barista describes the longberry exactly as a classic yirgacheffe. We get the batch brews, plus an espresso. I ask the barista if the indonesians are wet hulled (because I wonder if they are going to taste rubbery); he swears they are "washed". Friend and I agree the batch brews both taste very ashy and burnt; friend observes they sort of have a burnt plastic character to them. Longberry has a sort of hard, sour edge to it; maybe some lemon, which I think the barista mentioned. Espresso similarly has a long, ashy aftertaste. Hadn't been to Single O for a long time and cannot remember having had better experiences there. Perhaps they have a consistent house roast style that I really don't like.

    Paramount Coffee Project - They have a kenyan on batch, so we get that, plus the colombian that is also on batch. Kenyan tastes sort of dull, a little astringent, some citrus and some dried fig. Colombian taste similarly dull; remember it had some fruit to it, but unexceptional. Feels like coffee might have sat in an airpot for a bit too long. These were from a guest roastery. Would normally expect better results from these guys; have had great SP9 brews from them at PCP Los Angeles.

    Artificer - We actually went here first, but I wanted to save the best for last for this review. They have a new crop Kenyan on and are using a filter roast for both espresso and filter. It is properly developed; no grass, no vegetable stock, no astringency. We have a bunch of espresso; shots are on the longer side, almost no bitterness, very sweet, fair bit of crisp, juicy acidity. Stonefruit flavours, rather than the classic deep berries. Reminds me of Tim Wendelboe's roast levels and is pretty much the style that I'm gravitating to at home. People who want nutty/roasty flavours and low acid of a classic cup won't like it, nor will people who want a massive body punch like a ristretto, but I have no doubt that there will be any number of people who think that they like dark roasts who will be pleasantly surprised by the sweetness and flavour of a properly developed light roast. We grab the last dregs of their batch brew; it's still good; same roast as they put through the espresso machine and tastes equally of stonefruits and is equally sweet and balanced. Would go there all the time if they were near me.

    Was keen to check out Reformatory, since the guys at 90+ in Panama told me that the guy from Reformatory visited them the week after I did last year, but they were closed on Sunday.

    Fun day; kind of exhausting. I think my hot tip is if you're going to try batch brew somewhere, do ask the barista how long it has been sitting there!
    Steve82, AlexG, LeroyC and 2 others like this.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by luca View Post
    Was keen to check out Reformatory, since the guys at 90+ in Panama told me that the guy from Reformatory visited them the week after I did last year, but they were closed on Sunday.
    Visited this week.

    Top end brew and super cool coffee only (with a little token sweet stuff) fitout.

    I had a doppio: Colombia Natural- pretty good shot, good (prominent) acid and florals. Ever so slightly sour.

    It's the place to go to if you have $2800 burning a hole in your pocket earmarked for conversion into a kilo of 90+ microlot brown. Browns do start at $50/kg but move very rapidly up from there.

    Also had a surprisingly good milky breakfast coffee at the big V.



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