Sydney Cafe Review: Coffee Alchemy, Marickville

Coffee Alchemy is closed on Sundays. This is very important information. Important information that I forgot to look up before walking the 1.4km from where we were staying, desperately seeking caffeine, on Sunday morning. They also don’t do food. It’s a coffee bar. Attached to a roastery.

What they do do is mighty fine coffee. I counted 10 different single origin coffee varieties on offer, as espresso (with or without milk), cold drip (with or without sparkling mineral water), and pourover. And there were blends. None in the hopper today, but plenty available to take home.

A beautiful La Marzocco machine. Very shiny. Is the first thing that catches the eye on the way in the door. The fitout is elegant, and simple, and lets you know this is a place where the focus is on the coffee. And the focus pays off.

First up was the double shot flat white on the Brasil Canta Galo. Delicious up front, it was incredibly chocolaty and smooth with an odd aftertaste. One of the tasting notes at Bean Drinking yesterday suggested “leather” was a possible taste – and I’d say this was the closest thing to leather I’ve tasted short of chewing on a belt. It wasn’t unpleasant. That’s just the only description I can come up with. And it was only in the aftertaste, which pretty quickly disappeared.

My wife had a picolo on a Bolivia Caranavi Eleuteria Villca. In milk some of its acidity was lost and in its place was a smooth, thick, deliciously balanced drop with a hint of nuttiness. It’s at times like this that I start to question whether I should be tasting coffee in milk, because the milk masks some of the different flavours.

And I finished my trip off with a Tanzanian Blackburn Estate “Pick of the Harvest”, as a picolo – the same I enjoyed yesterday as a sparkling cold press at Bean Drinking. This bean packs a punch. It was earthy up front, with a touch of caramel, or maybe even burnt sugar, and then, as I sat savouring the aftertaste – a hint of strong red wine, or port, or something. It was fruity, but very fleeting.

These guys take their coffee seriously and it reaps benefits. I’d go there again in an instant.


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