I admit, I judge a city by the accessibility and quality of its coffee. Based on availability alone, this place beats any other city where I’ve drank coffee. Walk down the street and it seems that every other door is a cafe and espresso bar.
These guys are serious about their coffee. You will not find brewed coffee; in fact, they like to make fun of the (American) diner style restaurants with their never-ending pours. They go on and on about the “nasty stuff, sitting on the burner for hours.”
The coffee here is entirely based on espresso. I’ve made it my personal mission to try every coffee drink available, and to drink coffee in as many spots as possible, without becoming overly caffeinated.
The problem with drinking coffee in cafes is they always have so many pastries to tempt as well! This is a flat white, a drink that was developed right here in Australia. It starts with espresso and adds steamed milk with very little foam. It’s similar to a cappuccino, but smaller, with a higher proportion of coffee to milk. This one came from Sappho Books Cafe & Wine bar.
This lovely, little cup is a piccolo latte from Glebe Deli Cafe. This begins with a ristretto shot, ristretto being the first extraction of the espresso, to which is added the steamed and textured milk, and served in a tiny little glass.
We’ve returned again and again to Twenty8Acres for their coffee, not only because they’re next door, but because we are guaranteed a superb cup of coffee, delicious food, and fun conversation from the staff and owners. This petite cup, with a cute little face, is a macchiato, similar to the flat white, but with less milk.
Chef Brendan Nolan talked to me a little about Sydney coffee culture. He said that it began as early as the 1970s, and over the years more and more cafes were popping up. Sydney coffee drinkers were keen for a European style coffee drink.
Latte Art, the pretty hearts, flowers, and faces drawn in the milk, also began to gain popularity, with the most passionate baristas attending specialized schools to learn the art. At Twenty8Acres they are proud of their baristas and the coffee they serve. They use only beans from Numero Uno, a boutique roaster in Sydney.
I’ve come close to trying all the coffees on their menu. I branched out one day and had a Dirty Chai, hot chai with a shot of espresso added. It did not disappoint!
Today, I decided it was time to try the technically challenging ristretto. It takes a talented barista to get the right pour on this. It is the first half of an espresso extraction, using the same amount of coffee, but half as much water. The flavor is richer, nuttier, and sweeter than an espresso.
I seriously did not go there to get pastry. It just showed up on my table. Thank you, Chef Brendan:)
The gluten-free orange poppy seed cake is to die for. Just look at the attention they pay to detail, the board dusted with sugar and the shadow of the fork.
I should probably stop thinking about coffee now and start thinking about what I’m making for tea. That’s dinner:)