Good coffee is art.
And I’m not talking about a picture of Elvis frothed out in milk and creama on top of your vanilla hazelnut half strength decaffeinated mocha-frappa-soy- cinno either.
To make a good coffee requires a delicate balancing act of beans, barista and machine. So many variables come into play when you discuss these three major aspects that coffee making has become. It is really a scientific art form of the highest level.
Lest we forget the other important and vital aspects that go into a decent cuppa Joe, like location, consistency, service and price.
Does such a place exist that can tick all the magical boxes? Thank fully yes.
Sydney folks and visitors alike can be assured in the knowledge that our caffeine needs are being well catered for in the heart of the Sydney corporate and shopping district.
In a tiny street side kiosk behind the majestic Queen Victoria Building in the Sydney CBD sits a gem of a coffee joint, that is so small you can’t even swing an analogue in it.
Espresso on York sits on the windward corner of York and Market street, and is owned and operated by Tony with the skilful assistance of Barista Roberto.
Roberto’s ability to turn out consistently top quality espresso is only matched by Tonys foresight to keep prices at the most reasonable I’ve seen in Australia to date which is, wait for it… $2.00. Could this be the best coffee in Sydney? I’m convinced it is.
This is a no nonsense purists establishment who require their coffee the way god intended it. Freshly roasted and expertly crafted. There are no tables here, no magazines to linger over and no chance of a free refill. You stand, you order and you inhale.
Never one to waste an opportunity, I like to order myself a doppio which comes first, followed by a flat white. I enjoy the doppio whilst waiting for my flat white to be created. And Tony knows exactly what I order and how I like it despite seeing hundreds and hundreds of faces everyday at his kiosk.
I shot the breeze with Roberto as he deftly twists and turns with hand movements so precise and exact. He doesn’t waste a millimetre of energy as the ground coffee gets tampered with a flick of the wrist and milk jugs are tossed into position with the ease of an acrobat.
“It’s all in the Extraction Bridge,” he tells me with a smile as I watch mouse tails cascading from the silver espresso machine.
Having worked in restaurants all my life and having access to many wonderful espresso machines and skilful baristas, I know it’s more than just extraction which produces such masterpieces. It requires love and care for your craft and a commitment to producing the best product whether it’s your first cup of the day or the 600th.
And if you want to talk about skill, Roberto tells me he has a passion for photography as well. So I ask him if he would like to take a few photos for the article I want to do on Espresso on York. The results are the stunning shots that you see here amongst this post. Coffee porn anyone?
Want to see more of Roberto’s work? Check out his Flickr photostream and follow him on Twitter and to taste Roberto and Tony’s handiwork, just one small gold coin will get you the best coffee in Sydney.
Tony and Roberto of Espresso on York
So tell me, have you had your caffeine fix today?