The Reformatory Caffeine LAB, winner of the SMH Good Cafe Guide’s 2014 ‘best brew bar’ award, is Simon Jaramillo’s hyper-focused brewhouse. Born on a Colombian coffee farm, he has a depth of knowledge and passion for coffee that would be hard to match. Simon is a fourth generation farmer turned coffee roaster and has been supplying some of the biggest names in Australia for the past decade. The Reformatory Caffeine Lab, housed in a former garage on Foveaux Street, features an enormous comic-strip mural by Melbourne artist Heesco along one wall with all manner of serious coffee equipment opposite.
It’s an Italian style seating-free zone with benches along one wall upon which to rest your coffee. This means that takeaway orders dominate. However, drinking-in has its own set of pleasures. Aesthetics were a big consideration with custom-made ceramic cups and personalised boards supporting the well designed interior and artwork. You can choose from cold drip, filter brews or espresso, just don’t ask for a mocha or for extra chocolate sprinkles on your cappuccino. Coffee beans change weekly so there is always something interesting on offer including a range of Ninety Plus Coffee’s rare, slow growing, low yielding coffee varieties at $20 (pour over/filter).
Note: Simon recently took out the Regional ‘Brewers Cup’ award for NSW/ACT Australian Specialty Coffee Association’s annual competition using a V60 pour-over device. Reformatory Caffeine Lab is also one of the few serious coffee operators in Sydney to offer plunger coffee to customers in addition to espresso, cold drip, V60 pour over, CCD and Aeropress. You can see Simon’s tips on making the perfect cup of plunger coffee here.