Sydney CBD’s Coffee Shops


It’s mid-afternoon on a weekday and whatever energy your lunch had injected into you is starting to dissipate. Whether you’re a tourist visiting the sites of our fair city, a suit-clad professional in desperate need of a pick-me-up before their final meeting of the day, or a student who’s preparing to pull an allnighter to cram for tomorrow’s midterm, a coffee around 3.00PM is sometimes a necessity.

With Australia having a reputation for having one of the best coffee cultures in the world, here’s where one might find such a kick in various areas of the Sydney CBD. 

Starbucks doesn’t count. Ever.


1. Mecca Espresso



A force to be reckoned with in the Sydney coffee scene, Mecca’s original store on King Street is a sight for tired eyes and weary souls with its dark and sleek interiors and the sweet sweet sound of coffee bean grinders and milk frothers.

Well known for their ultra scientific approach to coffee brewing (let’s not get into that right now), their Dark Horse house blend tastes of rich dark chocolate with peach and winey notes. You can also buy their beans by the bag.

Locations and Trading Hours:

67 King Street, Sydney CBD
Weekdays 6am to 4.30pm

1 Alfred Street, Circular Quay
Weekdays 7am to 3.30pm 

646 Harris Street, Ultimo
Weekdays 7am to 4pm
Saturday 8am to 3pm


2. Ground Control



Circular Quay; home to Sydney’s most famous tourist attractions the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. It’s also balls deep with restaurants and cafes that cater purely to the visitor crowd; pretty views, but high cost and questionable quality.

Walk towards the train station, however, and you’ll find Ground Control, where you can get your coffee made with Single Origin beans efficiently and with a smile. No attitude from a super hip and busy loft-style cafe, now there’s something to be happy about.

Locations and Trading Hours:

Shop W4 Alfred St, Sydney (next to Circular Quay station)
Open daily


3. Cabrito Coffee Traders



Tucked away in Bulletin Place among heritage listed buildings, keep an eye peeled for Cabrito Coffee Traders. The space is minimal and the best tables are outside al fresco style in the laneway, probably not the best choice for a client breakfast meeting, but coffee is smooth and you get pretty cool Melbourne laneway vibes.

Cabrito is Spanish for “little goat”, a homage to the legend of how coffee was first discovered (Google it).

Locations and Trading Hours:

10-14 Bulletin Place, Sydney
Weekdays 7am to 4.30pm


4. The Brewery Espresso Bar



This tiny shopfront on Erskine Street has developed a bit of a cult following over the past five years it’s been open, and tasting a cup of their offerings you’ll understand why.

All press beans are smooth in taste and service is friendly with smiles all ‘round. There’s also a concise food menu of toasted sandwiches and assorted breads that you can takeaway or have in and chill upstairs if you need time out from the corporate hussle.

Locations and Trading Hours:

64 Erskine Street
Weekdays 6am to 4.30pm


5. Brooklands Coffee Co.



A blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kiosk on the corner of Pitt Street and Martin Place will catch your eye with a big sign with their price – $3 per coffee or $5 for two (second coffee can be redeemed at a later time), or filter coffee for $2 if that’s what tickles your fancy. We all love a bargain, right?

Lactose intolerant friends never fear, Brooklands have got you covered by using Inside Out almond milk, and those who know it ain’t easy being green can breathe a sigh of relief when I say they also stock cold pressed green juices from The Botanica Juice Company.

Locations and Trading Hours:

Cnr of Martin Place & Pitt St
Weekdays 6am to 4pm


6. Workshop Espresso



If you ever thought it was impossible to find a good cup along a busy main road in the middle of the CBD, think again. Walk along George Street opposite the Queen Victoria Building and you’ll come across a literal hole-in-the-wall coffee shop with wafting espresso aromas and lines of queues snaking out the front.

Do what the Singaporeans do and join that queue, there is gold at the end of that rainbow. The baristas are efficient and friendly, but as space is as limited as my patience on a 43 degree day, your best bet would probably be to get your Toby’s Estate coffee to go.

Locations and Trading Hours:

500 George St, The Galleries Shop RG01A 500
Monday to Wednesday, Friday 6am to 5pm
Thursday 6am to 7pm
Saturday 8am to 4.30pm


7. Pablo & Rusty’s



Toned down industrial chic is what initially draws your eyes into the CBD branch of Pablo & Rusty on Castlereagh Street; you quickly glance at the warm timber fittings and hanging green baskets and suddenly you find yourself ordering a cappucino made with their seasonal espresso blend and a sandwich. Enjoy your post-lunchtime ethically-sourced coffee hit in style.

Also, not a bad place for a casual lunch date. Just sayin’.

Locations and Trading Hours:

161 Castlereagh St
Weekdays 6.30am to 5pm
Saturday 8am to 3pm


8. Kingswood Coffee



Armed with a vintage Victorian-era fitout, the boys from Kingswood bring the hipster artisanal coffee movement to an area of the CBD where decent coffee within walking distance is sorely lacking. Newly opened last year, Kingswood use mostly beans from Sensory Lab in Bondi for their espresso drinks and Melbourne’s Proud Mary beans for pour overs. If you’re looking for a hot drink that’s less caffeinated though, they also do the best hot chocolate for miles.

Don’t forget to take a photo with the sign below your feet and tag #kingswoodkicks

Locations and Trading Hours:

World Square Shopping Centre, Shop 10, 644-680 George St
Monday to Wednesday, Friday 6am to 6pm
Thursday 6am to 7.30pm
Weekends 8am to 4pm


9. Corner Coffee Co



UTS and TAFE Ultimo students, this one’s for you – have you ever needed to cram for an exam or nearing a deadline and your standard coffee just won’t cut it? Then you might already be familiar with Corner Coffee Co in the Railway Square underpass which stocks a variety of beans with varying intensities, from your pleasant Single Origin to one they dub “Midnight Oil” that I don’t even want to touch in fear of not being able to sleep until my not-yet-conceived children graduate from high school. You could, though.

Locations and Trading Hours:

Shop 7 Devonshire St Tunnel, Railway Square
Trading hours unavailable


10. Gumption by Coffee Alchemy



Hailed by coffee connoisseurs Australia-wide as one of the best roasters in the country, Coffee Alchemy opened Gumption in December 2013 in The Strand arcade among the Pitt Street shopping precinct. Winner of Good Food 2014’s Best Coffee award, Gumption’s menu is purely coffee only; the house blend is consistently smooth, sweet, and strong (also how I like my men HAH) with rich chocolate notes.

Pay an extra $0.50 to have there and sit in the provided seating in the aisle of The Strand’s Victorian-style architecture while you ponder over whether to buy those boots or how to ask your boss for that raise.

Locations and Trading Hours:

Strand Arcade, Shop 11, 412-414 George St, Sydney
Weekdays 7am to 6.30pm
Saturday 7am to 6.30pm


11. Piccolo Me



Nutella lovers rejoice, Piccolo Me understand your obsession and caters to your wants, nay, needs. Aside from their $2 piccolo happy hour specials, they do Nutella based desserts like their Nutellagato and Nerdtella Bomb.

Also, you will see heaven when you try their hazelnut iced coffee (no, it does not taste like a mere mocha) – Nutella, milk, and a double ristretto shot from their house blend of organic Arabica. It’s bottled for your convenience and its secret ingredient is love, apparently.

Locations and Trading Hours:

10 Bridge St
Weekdays 7am to 4pm

1 Castlereagh St
Weekdays 7am to 4pm

50 King St
Weekdays 7am to 4pm

9 Hunter St
Weekdays 7am to 4pm


Beat post-lunch lethargy with Sydney CBD coffee


CBD workers now no longer have any excuse for that post-lunch drop in productivity. With this list of 10 coffee places you can now enjoy quality coffee from various places around the CBD. Which one’s your favourite? Drop us a comment below!


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