Let’s call Edition Coffee Roasters in Darlinghurst my favourite new cafe right now.
Small in scale, but big on brilliance, this place offers immediate relief against all the samey establishments where eggs on toast is a protected species and every menu looks like a carbon copy of any other caffeine-dispensing joint.
As you’d guess from the name, this cafe is pretty serious about its (rather excellent) coffee – from Japanese drip to batch brew and beyond, Edition helps you fuel up as you like. And while it’s run by proper bean aficionados (who are focused on single-origin, single-estate offerings), the cafe’s employees are not gonna sneer at you if you just want a plain flat white, either. The staff members are, thankfully, friendly and welcoming with their knowledge.
At Edition Coffee Roasters, you hit payload with the tea selection, too – a relief for anyone used to the usual sadsack list of generic teabags left to sit in pots with no thought or care. A Cold Brew Tea ($5) of pear and jasmine by Cara Chen/Altitude Tea – served in a glass with an epic ice cube (or wannabe iceberg) as tastebud-cooling accomplice – is such a triple-blast of refreshment. The hint of sweet fruit and the floral jasmine flourish make for a lively combination; let the temperature plunge with the ice, and you get an all-bracing drink that’ll help you settle scores with the summer heat.
And as Theresa of The Kawaii Kitchen points out, Edition Coffee Roasters does green tea the proper way, with top-grade Gyokuro ($7.50) on offer, and served so that you get three flushes of refreshed tea (instead of a pot that collects bitterness as time goes on). There are also house-made sodas ($3 each), such as Blueberry and Lingonberry. The latter ingredient points to the Scandinavian direction of Edition Coffee Roasters; tag-team this with the strong Japanese influences throughout (from the ornate cutlery and refined timber furniture to what appears on the table), and you’ll see how this cafe has crafted such a unique food and beverage list.
The menu here is short, but it’s so inventive that it may inspire a migratory campaign from wherever you originally planned to have breakfast or lunch. One highlight is the Black Rice ($15), which is banked up with coconut yogurt so thick and substantial that you could use it as a building material. (Instead of applying it to the foundations of your house, though, the yogurt makes an excellent base camp for a scattering of earthy grains, seeds, adzuki beans and an Instagram-friendly serving of flowers and fruit.) The first time, we had the Black Rice topped with berries and coconut shavings; this instance, it was showered with freeze-dried fruit that turned the dish into a multi-texture jackpot (the citrus punch of the crinkled-up yuzu was a real score). Both versions were excellent.
The Tofu Salad ($14) might sound like it would be boring or worthy, but it proves to be both nutritionally solid and totally ace. Served with miso soup, this Mount-Fuji-like pile of ingredients includes hefty blocks of tofu, clusters of shiitake and enoki mushrooms and ribbons of wakame and cabbage. What gives this Japanese-style salad real lift? Unexpected shreds of nashi pear, which unlock a flourish of sweetness throughout.
For something driven by pure refreshment, try the Red Garden ($8), which plants a bed of berries and rhubarb into a shallow jasmine broth. A custard-like, pungent tea jelly adds real punch to this light scattering of fruit. Twig-like folds of dried pear complete the forest-floor look.
You can detect a big Scandi influence through the savoury items (think Smørrebrød with smoked salmon and gräddfil and Skagen with knäckebröd); and should this have you reaching for the nearest Google search window, don’t worry; Edition Coffee Roasters has a pretty solid glossary to help you navigate the menu. No translation necessary, I hear that the Brioche ($14) with loganberry and elderflower cream is damn good, but sadly it was sold out (udsolgt/slutsålda) when were there, so strike that up for the ‘next time’ list. The house-made Umeboshi and Berry Danish ($4.50) served as a pretty fine consolation prize, though.
Coffee Edition Roasters is run by brothers Daniel Jackson and Corie Sutherland, which explains the ultra-worldly menu and why the brews are top-notch. Corie has racked up many passport stamps to Japan (he knows how to hunt out a seriously good green tea) and his Nordic approach to food is partly inspired by Rene Redzepi. Dan’s been a miracle worker to Sydney’s caffeine-deprived population for years now, having been involved with Clipper, Clover, Room 10 and, most recently, Black Star Pastry in Rosebery – where I remember him first telling me about this cafe “like no other” that he had planned.
Mission accomplished – Coffee Edition Roasters is a one-of-a-kind cafe that this city is lucky to have.
Who needs eggs on toast?