Single Origin Roasters on Reservoir street, Surry Hills, is not what you’d call a big space. Inside the café, coffee jostles for elbow room with the food, while the customers cosy-up with the baristas, chefs and floor staff.
However, Single Origin Roasters recently gained a few more much needed square metres to bring to life a coffee vision it had been harbouring for some time.
The Single Origin team notes that they’ve have always taken the view that good hospitality begins with the sharing of the things that you love and so from its earliest beginnings has been exploring the world of coffee, food and service.
The focus is on creating a hub for locals and visitors alike to gather in a convivial environment, somewhere that people know your name and how you like your coffee as the neighbourhood grew, so too did the demands on the tiny space. The need for more room and new tools to help express their desire to explore became apparent. “Sideshow” was born.
The new Sideshow Bar is not only the result of a need to deliver fast, made to order, top quality espresso to its takeaway customers. It also serves as a dedicated space to lift the veil on slow brew extraction methods, to educate without preaching. (The single Origin Roasters crew like to have some fun with it).
The space itself, design led in-house by Ross Nicholls, has been finished in concrete, steel girders and rust, and is a reflection of the heritage of the streetscape. Takeaway espressos are dispensed from the right, while syphon and pour-overs are tended to on the left. In the centre, the Oji cold drip filter is slowly, drop by drop, producing two distinct extractions. Six Mazzer Major grinders line the back wall, sitting atop their industrial pedestals patiently waiting to dispense their beans. along with their “House Origins” blend as a staple, at any given time you’ll find on offer four single origins that change on a monthly basis.
These single origins include reserve coffees such as micro-lots, cup of excellence and specialty-process beans. Coffee is roasted lighter than espresso for these low-pressure extraction methods, casting the spotlight on the flavour nuances of each single origin coffee.
Further inspection reveals still more evidence that this is a hole in the wall punching well above its’ weight. On one hand there’s the glassware, hand blown in-house by Eliot Brand in an attempt to explore the effects of form over taste, (think Reidel and the wine market). Then there’s the milk pump, again designed in-house by Ross Nicholls. It’s a stainless steel font that automatically fills the baristas’ jugs, saving on workload, but this is only part of the appeal. The rest occurs behind the scene where the group eliminated the wastage of approximately ten thousand plastic bottles per annum by enlisting the support of their dairy farmer, country Valley, to deliver the milk in barrels, which are recycled back to the dairy. The guys say the system is working so well, it may have applications in the wider café community.
The baristas also say that Sideshow has been a great platform from which to share their coffee discoveries. Whether it’s a visit from one of their wholesale accounts like cronulla’s “Grind”, Palm Beach’s “Boathouse” or Haymarket’s “Coffee Trails”. Or, with their peers in the industry like “Le Monde” or the “Shenken” boys. Here, it seems the overall philosophy is one of inclusivity and that an open coffee forum is the order of the day, (and it’s not just the coffee elite that are invited).