Thursday, April 16, 2015

Workshop Espresso, Sydney

I realize that I don't often review coffee.  But I sometimes make exceptions, particularly when I can do double duty, reviewing both coffee AND the baked goods a cafe offers.  And in this case, Workshop Espresso just holds a special place in my heart.

As you've likely gleaned, I've spent a fair amount of time in Sydney, including a 3 month stint a few years ago.  My recent visit was only 3 weeks, and I was determined to hit up as many of my favorites from previous trips as possible.  While this mostly focused on dining, I also needed to re-visit my favorite coffee shops!

Workshop Espresso, on my previous trip to Sydney, was the first place I ever found good coffee.  I was coming from San Francisco, and was a complete coffee snob at the time.  I drank only Blue Bottle.  I had a specific single origin blend that I liked from a region in Ethiopia.  I had exactly 3 baristas I trusted to make my coffee.  Um, yes.  I was a serious snob.  When I arrived in Sydney, I really struggled with the coffee.  Until I found Workshop Espresso!  I was eager to return.

Of course, many things have changed since then, mostly because I mostly stopped drinking caffeinated coffee for health reasons.  But ... I had to give Workshop Espresso a chance at decaf!

Workshop Espresso is located right in the CBD, and is easy to find: just look for a long line stretching out onto the street outside the Galleries on George St.  Chances are, that is Workshop Espresso.  The queue always looks intimidating, but moves quickly.
The Seating Area.
There isn't much seating, just several stools along a counter that are not really used.  Most people just grab their coffee and treats for takeaway.
Busy Baristas.
The menu is written on a chalkboard.  Along with a listing of drink options and a few sandwiches, they highlight the single origins being offered that day.

The line of beverages queued up ahead of me was daunting, but these guys are pros.  I was seriously impressed with the speed at which they churned out drinks.  Another staff member handled the register, efficiently moving the line along.
Decaf Long Black. $4.50.
So, I tried a decaf long black.  Not a single origin.  Not a piccolo like I did on all my previous trips.  It was ... fine.  A bit sweet tasting, but not decaf "funky" at least.  It was not particularly notable though.

$4.50 seemed high for a simple long black.  A regular long black at Workshop Espresso is $4, the extra $0.50 was for decaf.  Most other places I visited were a full $1 cheaper.

Update 2016: I got another, forgetting to read my post first.  It was ... again, just kinda meh.  Not awful, but certainly not worth $4.50.
Baked Goods!
Sitting next to the register is a display case of pastries.  You know me and baked goods.  I managed to resist the donuts on my first visit, but the next time around ... I just couldn't do it.  They had massive, and I mean massive, sugar coated donuts right there in my face.  And slightly smaller jelly filled ones.  Baked fresh on site.  How could I resist?

I was powerless.
Regular Long Black. $4. Sugar Donut. $4.
It was also earlier in the day, so I went for a regular long black, rather than decaf.  I wanted to really give them a chance to show their stuff.  It was better than the decaf for sure, no strange sweetness, and it was quite strong.  But again, it really wasn't that special, and $4 was higher than most of their competition for a simple long black.

The donut was a serious donut.  Fried, very fried.  Greasy, oily, in all the best ways.  And totally coated in sugar.  It reminded me of the old school donuts that I grew up with.
Oh So Greasy.
Did I mention it was greasy?  Within moments the bag was soaked through in oil.

The donut was good, but given its massive girth, and high level of oil, it really should not have been consumed by one person.  I had about 70% of mine, and pretty soon regretted it.  It was good, and the sugary goodness went perfectly with my black coffee, but man, I felt this in my gut.  A bomb for sure.

I probably would have enjoyed it more as a small donut hole, or if I had someone with me to take the other half and make sure I didn't have more.  I'm glad I tried it, as I would have been tempted on every subsequent visit, but, ugh, oily bomb!
Workshop Espresso Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Related Posts with Thumbnails