Lid & Jar (Chatswood)

Coffee: 16/20
Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 29.5/40

Chatswood, from the look of all the construction has gone through a bit of an evolution. Once a rubbish North Sydney with a Westfield (e.g. a prime example of Sydney suburb with no heart), it seems to have embraced its multicultural population and with a few million dollars to make it over today it feels a lot more like a town centre (at least on a sunny weekend). This is the second café in my Chatswood adventure, Lid & Jar.

Walking down Victoria Ave., you’d be hard pressed not to see what looks like a sliver of a café, Lid & Jar. If you’re like me when you see it your cynical coffee senses will be tingling. While looking like hyper compact and modern coffee shop, there is a lot of ‘fun factual information’ on coffee on the chalkboards outside. Typically this is a flag of a rubbish coffee shop trying to be cool. But hey I’m not in Chatswood that much…

Walking in I found not a sliver of a café trying to make the residents of Chatswood feel they were in the Surry Hills with only a few square meters to sit in, but a expansive space, Lower North Shore kind of space, spilling out onto the town square. The cafe looks like the owners walked into a junk shop and said “we’ll take the lot” including old ladders, oil drums and those plastic grape vine, but it works.

Also, my cynicism decreased when I saw the Slayer, so I grabbed a seat in the sun.

The staff were quickly all over me once I had sat down asking what I was looking for – a piccolo latte. They also brought me a glass of water.

While waiting for my coffee, I asked myself what is the one item, according to the patrons of Lid & Jar, that I could not be without? The answer is an electronic gadget of some sort. Couples, solos and even large groups of people were all on their phones, computers and tablets. Oh 2015.

The coffee, from first impressions, looked fantastic, heat reasonable, art top notch (if a barista can crank out this sort of art constantly, she/he is clearly exhausted at the end of the shift but a legend) and with an interesting punchy sweet aroma. I thought it would be hard to match Steam Engine in looks for the area, but there you go.

Sipping on it I found a slightly bitter, earthy, nutty espresso with some nice dark chocolate-like notes to balance both flavours. I’d say, being a total wanker about it, that it feels a little gritty in the mouth but the flavours are full of fight and tend to linger pleasantly in the mouth.

If you’re letting your drink linger and steep it’s likely you’ll find that it becomes far more earthy at the expense of both the nutty and dark chocolate flavours, but imo it’s not a negative.

In case you’re wondering, Lid & Jar use Coffee Brothers Roasters, which are a local roaster from up the NSW coast a little.

Overall, it’s a new take on the Lower North Shore cafe. Yes I hear you say, this is the second Lid & Jar and it’s actually a Western Sydney(ish) chain in the making, but the place feels very Lower North Shore rather than very generic could be anywhere Coffee Club. The coffee, via the roaster, espresso machine and clearly a lot of help by solid barista, is great. A very worthwhile stop in a coffee tour of Chatswood.

1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 7/10
Experience (taste and smell): 9/10
Coffee total: 16/20

2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like):
Cool?: 7/10
Service: 6.5/10
Cafe: 13.5/20
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 29.5/40

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