Ideally, we’d always have the time- and space- for a relaxed sit-down coffee in the morning sun. But in the fast-paced Sydney CBD where space is at a premium, it’s just not always possible. Luckily, limitations often breed great ideas and with these three teensy espresso bars, there’s definitely no need to compromise on quality. Here, in no particular order, are my picks for the three best Sydney CBD hole-in-the-wall coffee spots.

1. Joe Black X, 70 King Street
Not to be confused with Joe Black, Joe Black X is housed in a teensy alcove, squished up against the new Louise Vuitton store. There’s only one seat so it’s takeaway only, with menus scrawled on cardboard signs and delicious Little Pudding cakes peeking out of the display fridge. When I order my macch the barista has me watch him pour it and say ‘when’. Always a good sign.
Bean: Their own blend, roasted by Toby’s estate.
Price: $3
Food: Sandwiches, cakes and breakky treats abound. These guys are very diy, poaching chicken and making meusli and yogurt onsite.

Joe Black X
70 King Street
Sydney, NSW 2000

Joe Black X on Urbanspoon

2. The Lab Cafe, 109 Pitt Street
The Lab is situated at the Pitt Street end of the Hunter Connection. They now have five stores in total. Their cakes and muffins are housed in bell jars with a bunch bagged up to go. My friend (not as much of a caffeine head as I) wanted something sweet so grabbed a muffin, which she said was delicious. And the staff are friendly too.
Bean: Di Lorenzo.
Price: $3 for a small, $3.60 for a large.
Food: Muffins, friands and biscuits.

The Lab Cafe
9/109 Pitt Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
0451 038 795

The Lab Cafe on Urbanspoon

3. Workshop Espresso, 500 George Street
Workshop has been doing a roaring trade since it opened in 2009, and it’s easy to see why. There’s always a glut of people outside – I was there early one Thursday morning and all seats were taken, with 6 people waiting for takeaways ahead of me. But never fear, these guys are efficient, friendly and know their stuff. You can also purchase their signature blend to take home.
Bean: Workshop blend by Toby’s estate, a variety of single origins.
Price: My takeaway macch was $3
Food: Word on the street is they have great breakky and lunch selections – they use Sonoma bread, a lot of toast-based things, sambos and cakes.

Workshop Espresso
Shop RG01A, 500 George Street, (The Galleries Victoria)
Sydney, NSW 200
02 9264 8836

Workshop Espresso on Urbanspoon

Do you have a favourite hole-in-the-wall coffe place?

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19 Responses to 3 great hole-in-the-wall CBD Cafes

  1. Howard says:

    Would def throw Klink Espresso up there!
    Howard recently posted…Food Friends, Parramatta

  2. I’ve been meaning to go to 1 and 3 forever – last time I was at 1, the queue would have been ~10 people so it didn’t happen. Which of the three do you think has the best coffee?
    Tina@foodboozeshoes recently posted…All about regionality: De Bortoli Wines Windy Peak launch at Chiswick

    • Lau says:

      At this point I’d have to go with Workshop or Joe Black X, although the Joe Black X macch was a tad more concentrated than I like, almost syrupy, which some people may prefer.

      That said I have only been to Workshop twice and Joe Black X once, I’ve been to The Lab 5 or 6 times. I’ve visited the Lab around lunch time and the other two before 8:00am.

  3. Out of thise three, Workshop is by far my favourite.
    john@heneedsfood recently posted…Yakitoritei – Tin Hau, HK

  4. Miss Piggy says:

    I’ve not been to any of these places…sometimes I do miss working in the CBD.
    Miss Piggy recently posted…Ragamuffin, Leichhardt

  5. SarahKate says:

    Great coffee (and good choices for lunch!) is one of the biggest benefits of working in the CBD. Sadly, I’m not working in the CBD right now! Do you know if any of these are open on the weekend?
    SarahKate recently posted…“The heat is on in Saigon!”

    • Lau says:

      None of these unfortunately! Le Grand Café on Kent St and Joe Black on Commonwealth St are though. Or try the Cental/Surry Hills border?

  6. Gotta love finding little gems. Likin the look of The Lab Cafe! I’ll be hitting one of these up during my trip to Sydney!
    Adrian (Food Rehab) recently posted…MY COOKBOOK IS OUT! What The Heck Is Filipino Food? A Beginner’s Guide to Filipino Cooking

  7. Joe Black X is my saviour on the long walk to work on a Monday morning. Would love to try Workshop soon.
    Do you ever get Northside? I love your cafe reviews and would be interested in what you make of the cafes over this side…
    Anna @The Littlest Anchovy recently posted…Sweet Adventures Blog Hop – Lemons

    • Lau says:

      North of the bridge? I’d gladly welcome suggestions. Have you been to St Malo?

      • No! Where is that? I’ll send you some names via gmail tomorrow! :)

        • Rui says:

          Have you tried Cafe Pheonix in Tower Square next to the MLC building on Miller Street? It was the best I could find near my work at the time.

          Most consistent and clearly passionate about what they were doing. The amount of people you could see they had converted to drinking espresso at the bar rather than t/a was quite telling.

          I think it’s only open on week days though.

  8. great post – i walk past all these places regularly and have never bothered to stop and try their coffee! now i know it’s worth the time :)

  9. Great post! I always walk past these places but never stop to try their coffee – now I know that they’re worth the time :)
    excusemewaiter recently posted…A day of eating in Cabramatta and Canley Vale

  10. snackingathome says:

    If you ever feel like adding to this list, Sample (Holt St, Surry Hills) is a tiny and awesome.

  11. EKougi says:

    Went to The Lab Cafe this morning as I need a quick bite The Raspberry friand was the best I’ve ever had, it tasted like raspberry lemonade.

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