Melbourne might be Australia's original coffee capital, but, these days, it's facing some fierce competition from cities all over the country, Parramatta included. In secretive laneways and sun-dappled courtyards everywhere, locals are sipping on dynamic house blends and unique single origins. Whether it's a smooth, balanced cappuccino or a rich, dark espresso that gets you out of bed and into the office in the morning, it's within reach here in Parramatta.
Among Circa's penny-farthing wall hangings, charcoal sketches and pendant light bulbs, some of Parramatta's most flavoursome brews are served. Owner Aykut Sayan set up this fun, cosy cafe in 2010, out of a desire to share his unadulterated passion for coffee and food with the rest of the world. And he sure has attracted its interest. Queues are the norm, especially on weekend mornings, with one of the most coveted spots being the Chesterfield couch in Circa's mini-library. Sayan and his team select and roast the coffee beans in small batches, sourcing them from from Costa Rica to Kenya.
21 Wentworth Street Parramatta 2150; Open Tuesday - Saturday 8:00am - 2:00pm.
Images: Carla Dibbs
Lil' Miss Collins
As Paul Kelly sings, "From little things, big things grow", and Lil' Miss Collins is an example of his wisdom. This lovely cafe made its mark with two pop-ups before setting up permanent digs near Parramatta Station. Slipping through the recycled wooden fence into the courtyard feels like stepping into an alternative, rural world—and the clucking chickens confirm the notion. What's more, visitors are welcome to bring their own pets. As if running a mini-farm didn't give the Lil' Miss Collins folks enough to do, they roast their own beans, too. The house blend, dubbed Orthodox, is always on-the-go and there's usually an origin-driven alternative, too.
13 Wentworth Street Parramatta 2150; Open every day Monday - Sunday from 7:30am to 3:00pm.
Coffee connoisseurs are enjoying the Allpress Espresso beans at Jackson's Cafes all over the world, from Auckland, to Tokyo, from London to Singapore. Now recently opened in Parramatta, Jackson's Cafe is a great pit-stop on Church Street. The friendly, genuine staff will always give you a warm welcome, bringing that beautiful human-connection-pick-me-up that the greatest coffee shops always have with their customers. The Hot Air roasting method is the secret behind the success of the Allpress Espresso coffee as it elevates natural sweetness to achieve a smooth taste and lasting flavour. You'll find your brekkie comfort food favourites made to perfection here including vegemite toast, bacon and egg rolls, banana breads, muffins and croissants. The egg, halloumi, spinach and mushroom wrap, range of sandwiches, fresh fruits and salads of the day will give you the nutrient burst you need to succeed.
1/470-474 Church Street, Parramatta, NSW 2150. View on Google Maps.
White Henry Espresso Bar
It's in Parramatta's laneways that some of the City's most interesting businesses are to be found and one of them is White Henry. Since 2014, this espresso bar has been serving its house blend, Blue Stag, in which three types of Arabica beans combine to create a smooth, chocolatey flavour profile with spicy, fruity notes. There's also a single origin, which changes weekly. Metal stools and black benches give an industrial feel, softened by splashes with greenery. Despite the hidden away location, plenty of light streams in on sunny days.
Fire Horse Lane; Open Monday - Friday 6:00am - 2:30pm.
Matt Elbayeh, who co-owns Cafe El’s with his mother, Ezmerelda, trained as a chef at El Phoenician, his father’s Lebanese restaurant in Parramatta. Now, he puts his years of experience into creating cafe fare driven by bold flavours and fresh produce. Corn fritters come as a towering stack, with avocado, bacon, tomato chutney, fetta, zataar, chilli labne and poached eggs, while the American brekkie is a double waffle topped with bacon, hash brown, fried eggs and maple syrup. Cafe El’s occupies a porch at the entrance of Winston Hills Shopping Centre, with expansive sliding windows that overlook Caroline Chisholm Park.
Winston Hills Mall, 64/180 Caroline Chisholm Dr, Winston Hills, NSW 2153. Open Monday - Sunday 7am - 4pm (Kitchen Closes 3:30pm). Visit their Facebook page.