Cold drip coffee is starting to seep into Sydney. Here’s everything you need to know about cold drip coffee.
A smoother alternative to your traditional filter or espresso, cold drip coffee takes anywhere between three and thirty hours to make. The trick here? Find a barista you trust – and never let them go.
What is cold drip coffee?
Cold drip coffee is like the smoother, less acidic and definitely colder cousin of your regular espresso. Using a machine that looks like something out of Walter White’s chemistry set, high quality coarse ground beans are soaked in water (room temperature or chilled) for a long period of time, often overnight. While the beans are soaking, the water constantly drips into a container below, usually at a rate of one drip per second, although serious coffee fiends might slow it even further.
Once the process is complete, it’s bottled, stored in the fridge and awaits your arrival. The beauty of cold drip coffee is that it retains its flavour for long periods of time, which is why the Dutch sailors starting drinking it in the first place.
Unlike your regular iced coffee, which is simply coffee that’s been chilled, cold drip isn’t served with loads of milk and a whipped cream topping. The process makes it a little sweeter than your regular cup, so most people are happy to drink it straight, although you can always add a little cold milk if you like.
It can be served over ice or straight, depending on who’s making it for you. It’s still a something of a cult drink in Sydney, but it won’t be long before cold drip contraptions start popping up in every coffee house around town.
After all, for the coffee aficionado, there’s no better drink on a warm Sydney day.
Where to find cold drip coffee in Sydney
Reformatory Caffeine LAB
Address: Shop 7B, 17-51 Foveaux St, Surry Hills
This chemistry lab meets ode to Gotham city cleverly disguises itself as a coffee place Monday to Saturday. Simon Jaramillo is the mad scientist experimenting behind the bar. Unlike most other coffee houses in Sydney, his carefully created cold drip is a blend of two Costa Rican coffees: Geisha (brewed for 16 hours) and Perla Negra (brewed for 30 hours). He’s even sourced a kevlar filter, as opposed to the standard ceramic one, because it expands the extraction to the walls of the container, creating a clearer balance of coffee. The final product is the result of a lot of experimentation and it’s served, fittingly, in a glass test tube. Bottoms up.
Read more: Reformatory Caffeine LAB
Single Origin Roasters
Address:60-64 Reservoir St, Surry Hills
Each month, these guys get four different single origins in and each week they’ll pick one to try out. They start the cold dripping process at 6am, giving it eight hours to work its magic before bottling it and storing it in a fridge overnight. Single Origin Roasters go through four to six litres of the stuff a day, so you could say they’re doing something right.
Find them on Facebook: Single Origin Roasters
Salvage Specialty Coffee
Address: 5 Wilkes Ave, Artarmon
These guys are a little local favourite. Coffee is supplied by Mecca before it’s lovingly turned into cold drip for your consumption. Monday to Friday they have a light food menu, but pop back on weekends to brunch the morning away.
Find them on Facebook: Salvage Specialty Coffee
Address: 352 Bourke St, Surry Hills
These guys definitely get points for presentation: their cold drip (over ice) comes served with a macaron on a timber board. The Stables combines two things that make Sydney great: excellent coffee and boutique shopping. Whichever way you choose to attack both fronts is entirely up to you.
Find them on Facebook: The Stables
Address: 1a / 118 Devonshire St, Surry Hills
Three hours of cold dripping a single origin Kenyan bean results in a cold drip with slight hints of raspberry – it almost tastes like Ribena. Sample has a rep for some of the best coffee in Sydney and their cold drip is no exception. Unlike other places however, they go for the more refreshing, less rich side of cold drip, which may just be what you need on a warm day.
Find them on Facebook: Sample Coffee
Address: 212 Australia St, Newtown
Down a side street in Newtown awaits a venture from the guys behind The Stables, with similar themes of bright white and warm wood. Their cold drip takes three hours to make and is best consumed on a warm day. Why? Because after you’ve drunk it, you can take one of 212 Blu’s picnic packs down to Camperdown Memorial Park. And then swing by afterwards to drop the basket home and have one last coffee.
Read more: 212 Blu
Address: Shop 1, 13 Ernest Pl, Crows Nest
When a little coffee haunt in Crows Nest starts winning awards and convincing half of Sydney to trek over the bridge, you start taking notice. Here you have two options with your cold drip: served the regular way over ice, or floating on top of low sodium carbonated water (it opens up the coffee flavours). They produce a slightly more syrupy cold drip than others, so it almost feels like you’re drinking a liqueur. Could someone start making an Espresso Martini with this, please?
Find them on Facebook: Bean Drinking
The Grounds of Alexandria
Address: Building 7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria
Everyone’s favourite cafe / petting zoo is also killing it in another field: cold drip coffee. They start the dripping process the night before, so it’s ready for your 7am caffeine hit (or the far more reasonable time of mid-morning). Their single origin beans change regularly, so you might as well stop by each week to try them all.
Find them on Facebook: The Grounds of Alexandria
Address:284A Willoughby Rd, Naremburn
One of the North Shore’s favourite coffee haunts is getting in on the cold drip thing. Theirs takes between two to six hours, under the careful eye of the house baristas. They use their own roasted beans and, like any good barista knows, it’s all about the beans.
Find them on Facebook: Forsyth
Address: 455 George St, QVB, Lower Ground Floor
Nestled on the ground floor of the Queen Victoria Building is Home Cafe. As well as your regular espressos, bagels and ciabattas, they do a mean cold drip coffee. The process starts in the morning (six hours, one drop every five seconds), before the bottles are refrigerated overnight. It’s cold, caffeinated and waiting for your morning commute through Town Hall station.
Find them on Facebook: Home Cafe
Foundry Fifty Three
Address:53 Pittwater Rd, Manly
These guys take their cold drip coffee seriously. They put the beans (from local supplier, Barrel One Coffee Roasters) through the 12-14 hour dripping process, before storing them for a further 24 hours. They adjust their cold drips depending on the weather; on warmer days you’ll find flavours of fruit and citrus in your coffee, while on cooler days it’s likely to be chocolate or cigar.
Find them on Facebook: Foundry Fifty Three
Bread & Butter
Address:89 Parraween St, Cremorne
The newest kid on the Cremorne block, Bread & Butter is already getting in on the cold drip coffee thing. That, however, is only one of several reasons you want to pay these guys a visit. As well as (gasp) other coffees and yummy nibbles, there’s Sweeney’s Barber Shop and The Pop Up Shop upstairs. When their courtyard’s finished, you may never want to leave.
Find them on Facebook: Bread & Butter
Paradiso Espresso Bar
Address: Shop 4, 202-212 Military Rd, Neutral Bay
North Shore locals heading to Neutral Bay Woolworths for the weekly shop: stop by Paradiso Espresso Bar first to prepare yourself for the ordeal. What could be better than a fantastically brewed cold drip coffee on the patio on a sunny day? You can pick up a bottle of their cold drip, make with San Pelligrino sparkling water, to drink throughout the week, bringing the bottle back seven days later for a refill. Just think: you might never have to battle with your coffee machine ever again.
Find them on Facebook: Paradiso Espresso Bar
Address: 1 Transvaal Ave, Double Bay
These guys have a strong rep in Double Bay for doing an excellent brunch… in the middle of the street. Yes, you read that correctly. Well, you gotta have your alfresco dining somewhere! Either grab one of their popular cold drips, or try a syphon coffee: a warm version of a cold drip, kind of like coffee-flavoured tea. The brew is heated over a Bunsen burner and the resultant air pressure sucks the coffee out, producing a heated coffee that has the smoothness and lack of acidity of cold drip.
Find them on Facebook: Indigo
Address: 3/259-261 Clarence St, Sydney
These guys do their cold drip three ways: short, long and sparkling. They’re also some of the only people switching up their cold drip beans between a single origin, single estate and a blend, so you’ll just have to swing by a few times to try them all out. Plus, they do some incredible looking sweet treats, so really, there’s no excuse to stay away.
Find them on Facebook: Vella Nero