The end of one-way communication between you and your barista is nigh! After ruling out their native Hong Kong for high rents and fledgling coffee culture, this triumvirate of owners – Roy Yu, Kit Tran and Bruno Koo – selected Sydney for their first customer-focused coffee concept. The spacious Chalmers Street setting sits opposite Central Station, and is drowned in afternoon light. A star-shaped flavour chart invites you to direct the barista using aroma, sweetness, acidity, body and aftertaste. It’s translated into adjustments in time, temperature, grind size and single origin bean, producing your customised Latte ($4), accompanied by palate-cleansing dried currants. While sugar is offered, it comes with a plea: taste your coffee first! (You were given the opportunity to enhance the natural sweetness of the brew.) After dabbling in Filter Coffee ($6) – not my cup of ‘tea’ – I’m convinced the best expression of the work of world champion Taiwanese coffee roaster, Jake Hu, is the 8-Hour Cold Brew ($6). Now while the focus is coffee, Chef Thomas Taylor ensures food isn’t neglected. His Pork Belly Kimcheese Burger ($19) shines from bold use of the healthy Korean staple, tangled with coriander, grated apple, radish and sesame-dotted omelette. And if you’re not completely over-caffeinated; the Masfogato ($13) updates the affogato with a brownie and frozen mascarpone.
30-34 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills
Ph: (02) 9281 9300 havenspecialtycoffee.com.au