Apothecary Coffee (Chatswood NSW)


I have a friend who has recently moved to Sydney and so I trekked up to see him this weekend. His main complaint about his new home city is the fact that the general state of coffee is nothing like as good as you’ll generally find south of the Murray. According to his observations, there are a number of cafes who use run of the mill beans and see coffee as just one of the things that they sell along with food, soft drinks, etc, etc. The likelihood of finding a dedicated coffee outlet, using speciality branded beans is significantly lower than in Melbourne and Geelong.

I made it to Chatswood (on the northern side of the harbour) just in time to visit Apothecary Coffee and I’m really glad I did. Whilst they sell the occasional pre-made sandwich and cake, the primary focus is their coffee.

Using the increasing well-known and well-liked Sensory Lab beans, the coffee is really, really good and according to my friend, the best he has found in Sydney so far. Conveniently, the shop is directly over the road from his office!

To get to Chatswood, you’ll need to cross the harbour from the city and get off the train at the sixth station past the bridge. Once you get there, it is a walk of around 400m to Apothecary Coffee

Yes it is a fair way out of the CBD but from what I’m told and what I tasted – it is well worth the effort if you are looking for coffee in Sydney!


Address: 6 McIntosh Street
Suburb: Chatswood NSW
Web Site: www.apothecarycoffee.com.au/
Telephone: 0419 011 291
Open: Five days per week (closed Saturday and Sunday)
Price: $4.00
Coffee Suppliers: Sensory Lab
Headline: A Melbourne quality coffee in the suburbs of Sydney – a rare find. Well worth checking out if you find yourself a few railway stations north of the bridge.

Capeside Coffee (Heidelberg)


For those of you who took my advice and visited Ora Cafe in Kew, you may well have met Parv and Hannah who were employees there. They had a dream to set up their own establishment and that establishment has opened as Capeside Coffee in Heidelberg – the north-eastern suburb of Melbourne, not the city on the River Neckar in south-west Germany.

The first thing you notice when you walk in the door is a clean, fresh and open feeling with a big front window and light coloured decor. There’s a better than reasonable chance that you’ll be met by Parv, who variously greets customers with handshakes, smiles and bear hugs, while Hannah works studiously behind the coffee machine. The whole vibe is friendly and family-like – not kids running berserk and falling over tables, more like you have walked in on a family party. There is one large table, one counter corner and a bench seat in the window which encourages people to chat to each other and underlines that warmth and inclusiveness.

As indicated elsewhere on the web site / app, my coffee experiences at Ora were always very, very good and so, the obvious question to people like me who have experienced both is this – will Capeside be able to deliver coffee that is comparable to Ora’s?

The answer, I am very pleased to say is an emphatic “yes”

Trying to describe the flavour of a great cup coffee is like trying to explain a great piece of music – you can probably produce some adjectives but that’s about as close as you can get. So here you go – smooth, flavoursome, intense, really, really good.

It is unfortunate for those of us who live in the Geelong area that Capeside Coffee is around 90kms away. That said, any trip to Melbourne will be enhanced by a visit to this great new cafe.


Address: 119 Cape Street
Suburb: Heidelberg VIC 3084
Web Site: www.capesidecoffee.com
Telephone: 03 9942 2536
Open: Six days per week (closed Sunday)
Price: $3.50
Coffee Suppliers: Small Batch / Wood and Co / 7 Seeds
Headline: When you think about the great coffee destinations of Melbourne, Heidelberg is not one that immediately jumps to mind. With what Parv and Hannah and their team are doing at Capeside, that is about to change. Well worth making a special trip!

Patricia Coffee Brewers (Melbourne CBD)


Patricia Coffee Brewers was recommended to me by one of Geelong’s leading baristas when I mentioned that I was heading off to Melbourne. He suggested that their coffee was pretty special and I have to say, he was on the money.

That said, whilst their coffee was really, really good, there are a couple of things you need to understand before you head off to Patricia for coffee.

First up, it’s not that easy to find. The address that is given on web sites (including this one) is 493 Little Bourke Street. When you are standing in front of that address, it looks like an office building. The entrance to the cafe is behind that building off the laneway called “Little William Street”.

The second thing to know is that it is literally standing room only. There is no seating – which while it is something of a gimmick for the business, I felt was a negative. I had spent most of the morning walking around the streets of the CBD and was ready to sit down and enjoy a coffee.

Clearly, neither of these observations have created a problem for Patricia as there are regularly queues outside waiting to get in and order coffee. One thing that I did like (apart from the coffee itself) was the fact that a black coffee was $3.70 and a white coffee was $4.00 – given the extra ingredients and the time it takes to froth the milk, I think that more cafes should do that.


Address: 493 Little Bourke Street
Suburb: Melbourne 3000
Web Site: www.patriciacoffee.com.au
Telephone: 03 9642 2237
Open: Five days per week (closed Saturday and Sunday)
Price: $3.70
Coffee Suppliers: Seven Seeds Specialty Coffee
Headline: Great coffee but be aware that you’ll be standing throughout your visit.

Ora Cafe (Kew)


Ora is located in a tucked away location in Kew, in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, away from High Street. In fact, it has something in common with our local cafe, Warren and Hutch – both are located at 156 Pakington Street in their respective suburbs.

I was fortunate to live directly opposite Ora for a couple of years when it was still owned by John and Steph – now proprietors of Maker Fine Coffee in Richmond – and I still make it a priority to go and visit the team at Ora whenever I get the chance.

The cafe has won awards for its food, its coffee and its staff in various reputable awards during the past few years (including The Age Good Food Guide). Their coffee has always been exceptional in my opinion and so it was with some trepidation that visited today to see how things have changed under new management.

The very good news is that the coffee is still exceptional! They have chosen to continue with the Maker Fine Coffee brand, serving the coffee in the correct cups with a great crema (see Instagram for the photo). And the flavour was outstanding, as it always seems to be when I visit Ora. Today I was treated to the “La Perla” blend from Guatemala.

If you are in located in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, make sure you drop in for a coffee at Ora. If you are NOT located in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, it really is worth the trip. Tell them Chris the Coffee Drinker from Geelong sent you, particularly if you are served by Parv or Mim!


Address: 156 Pakington Street
Suburb: Kew 3101
Web Site: www.facebook.com/Ora-Specialty-Coffee-177745305624651/
Telephone: 03 9855 2002
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $3.80
Coffee Suppliers: Maker Fine Coffee
Headline: Really, really good coffee. Great atmosphere. Can get a little cramped on weekends but it is well worth the wait to get in! If all cafes were this good, the world would be a better place!

Three Beans – Wynyard (Sydney CBD)


Three Beans are a chain of twenty-two coffee stores across Sydney and its suburbs. The one I visited today is located in the Met Centre which I believe is home to the public transport organisations here in NSW and attached to the Wynyard railway station.

Apart from coffee, they also do a range of breakfast rolls and sandwiches that enables a visitor to town to refresh themselves before a big day in the big smoke. They are very big on free range this and organic that which even if it doesn’t improve or take away from the flavour, its probably better for you and for the planet. as it happens, the toasted egg and bacon roll was rather splendid.

But what about Three Beans’ coffee, I hear you say (or, probably more accurately, I imagine you are saying). Well, it’s pretty fantastic as a matter of fact.

Served in the correct cup, really good crema and a rich, smooth flavour. What more could I want. And reasonably priced, too – $3.80 per cup.

I obviously can’t vouch for the quality of the coffee in any of their other stores but, based on the evidence presented to me this morning, you could do a lot, lot worse in Sydney.


Address: Met Centre (off George Street)
Suburb: Sydney 2000
Web Site: www.threebeans.com.au
Telephone: Not applicable
Open: Seven days per week
Price: $3.80
Coffee Suppliers: Three Beans
Headline: Don’t be put off by the fact that this a food court outlet. One of 22 across Sydney and, I have to say, very, very good.