Anointing a best coffee in Sydney is like choosing a favoured friend. In truth, I’m mighty fond of most.
That’s one of the greatest selling points about my birth city. You’ve got as good a chance of getting a decent cup of caffeine as you do getting a smile if you trip over your shoelaces (the Australian sense of humour can be a little dark).
But if I had to choose a superior specimen; this is it.
Don Campos is the Sydney headquarters of Campos. Campos make serious coffee.
The brainchild of Will Young, originating in in a Newtown warehouse in 2002, Campos provide beans to a carefully curated (and ever growing) list of Sydney cafes. There’s even an app these days which can tell you how close you are to something to sip from one of their pea green cups.
In 2006 the New York times posed that a visit to Campos was worth the 22-hour flight from New York alone. That’s a lot of pressure to put on a cup of joe; particularly when you’re hard pressed to twirl in the small space of their Newtown store. These days they’ve got a big shiny new headquarters in Alexandria.
Here are some reasons why I love Don Campos.
It’s not just because it’s around the corner from my sister’s house, and after a morning helping shuffle three under four out the door I would probably suck caffeine from a muddy foot print if it helped me move a little faster.
It’s not only because one morning I walked in wearing a track suit and promptly dropped my take away flat white on the floor outside while trying to answer my phone and take a sip at the same time. When I returned to order another, the kindly staff refused to let me pay. “It looks like your day is crummy enough already” they joked.
Lesson learned not to take coffee away. At the Alexandria outpost of Campos there’s plenty of room to sit, both inside and out. Inside they’re the sole occupants in an cordoned off section of an airy warehouse complex. Outside there are stools and small tables that catch the sun (and space for local cyclists to park their carbon fiber pride and joys).
Unlike Newtown, in Alexandria there’s room to park a car (even if it’s just sneakily in the open air carpark of the Dan Murphys liquor mart across the street).
Their baristas are stampingly good, communicating to each other in a sly sign language of cup position and teaspoon arrangements what kind of coffee is up next. Here they’re working on a shiny Slayer espresso machine. And Campos’ commitment to sourcing quality green beans and nurturing them all the way from the roast to the grind is pretty much second to none.
There are daily made muffins, danishes and macarons. There are daily blends of beans. There are flat whites, macchiatos; your choice of milk (with bonsoy for soy), affogatos and even their signature ‘sparkling long black’ – combining sparkling water with a long black.
So go. Go often. And let me get a taste of the good stuff vicariously through you.
21 Fountain Street, Alexandria NSW 2015