Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 32/40
Friday: My walking’s lead me to Coffee Alchemy on Addison Road in the top of Marrickville, it’s an unusual street to find one of Sydney’s best coffee shops, but I can say, it’s totally worth the walk through industrial gloom on the way there.
More of a house of worship (or maybe an industrial cleaners) then a coffee shop, you’ll notice one clear thing when you walk in, coffee is all that is happening here. There is no food, there very limited tables, seating is strange (church benches!) and everyone faces the coffee machine. Heaven help you if you order deaf or a hot chocolate (not sure if they do either).
I walk in and find the café is unsurprisingly full. In going up to the counter, I do my best not to be overwhelmed and order a long black.
If you know your coffee stuff you have a bean option here. What I mean by option is that there are typically a few different beans on the run at the same time. For instance, today, for my long black, I had the option to pick from three origins or blends. Although if you’re like me, and enjoy the surprise, you don’t have to express an opinion.
It’s all mechanics here after my order, so I find my way onto one of the benches and wait. There is little chat happening here, but this is not a bad thing.
Before you come here, you may suspect that Alchemy is the home of the hipster (I did), but you would be wrong, Alchemy is a home to a coffee lover. While there are the usual high cut, tight, pastel short types here, there are equally as many older more in touch with society types who are equally enjoying the experience.
The coffee comes out reasonably quickly and, as you can see, it looks wonderful for a long black.
I take a smell of the coffee and it is an experience in it self. Dirty, sweet, flowerily, and a little spicy the smell of the bean just lingers in your nose. It’s not for the fait hearted, but it is a simply wonderful experience (it’s also fun trying to guess what blend/origin you ended up with!).
In tasting the coffee, the drink must be one of the best-balanced espressos I have ever had. Those smells, I described above, are far more distinguishable when drinking it. You initially taste a wonderful (tropical?) fruit taste, followed by an earthy dirty, but yet slightly spicy taste, which tends to linger nicely in your mouth. While I mention a dirty flavour the overall effect is very smooth.
Letting the coffee cool, the spiciness of the drink becomes far more acute. It’s almost a whole new experience. The long black becomes a drink with more of a bite, yet still remains a black coffee without that unpleasant aftertaste that one so often experiences with this level of acidity.
On a side note, there is just so much amazing coffee things happening here, the espresso machine aside, I can see 3 other forms of coffee making magic in just glancing at the bar, a place of science indeed.
Overall, there is just so little and far too much to say about Alchemy. It’s just a wonderful coffee house, but so far from being a place to relax, Alchemy is only about the coffee. If you want to experience the bean at it’s best, come here. If you want a place to sit, grab a bite and take in the world, don’t.
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 9/10
Coffee total: 19/20
2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): industrial cleaner meets coffee house of worship
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 32/40