24 Cadogan St Marrickville, NSW 2204
|Opening hours||Mon-Sat 7am-1pm, closed Sunday|
In cold winds and pouring rain, Black Market Coffee's co-owner Angus Nicol hands coffee, drinks and food in a big brown paper bag through the driver's window of our car.
He's been running cheerfully into the winter sleet since 7am, armed with flat whites, cold brews, espressos, bagels, doughnuts and more, all made in the Marrickville warehouse roastery and cafe behind him, and all given to people sitting behind steering wheels. He is completely unfazed by our pyjamas and bed-hair.
"Lots of people are wearing their pyjamas," he says of customers using Black Market Coffee's two-month-old drive-through and takeaway coffee service. "They do get a bit embarrassed sometimes but, really, it is so COVID-safe and so easy for us to do."
Black Market Coffee opened on July 1, the first day of Sydney's recent lockdown. That put a dampener on Nicol and his wife, Jess Hol's long-planned launch of the coffee tasting and pairing bar we glimpse in a remodelled, black-painted warehouse. But they soon realised the appeal of ordering pick-up via drive-through.
"It works well on this industrial back street," he says. "And, we've got kids so we know it's hard to get out of the car sometimes."
So far it's been a spirited success. Online orders are made to a designated pick-up time and BMC's broad, carefully curated coffee tasting and pairing menu is all there, right down to the desired temperature, strength, sugar amount, milk type and whether you want the latter hot, cold and on the side. Coffee-devotees with refined tastes are as welcome as those after a flat white with one.
"Coffee shops and baristas can be intimidating," Nicol says. "This is about not being too snobby about it and allowing people to experience specialty coffee in whichever way suits them."
Nicole and Hol have been in the coffee business for years. Originally beginning in Hol's parents' garage, they've opened a roaster in Botany, run cafes in Clovelly and Rockdale and now supply beans to more than 30 cafes. They established Black Market Roasters on Enmore Road six years ago and call the new Marrickville space their headquarters. It's home to a treasured Geisen roaster from The Netherlands, a cafe bar and a coffee tasting and training facility they will begin as lockdown eases.
For now, our four-wheeled pyjama'd experience is a lockdown novelty. It starts with a short black, a strong, fragrant and fruity brew, which we've paired with a bare berry and coconut smoothie, a dark and moist nut cake and a big jam-filled doughnut glistening with sugar.
Breakfast includes an okon roll, Black Market Coffee's twist on the classic egg and bacon roll, which is inspired by the Japanese savoury pancake okonomiyaki, okonomi meaning "as you like" and yaki, "grilled". Served on a crunchy seeded flatbread, it's an eggy, chubby fritter-like slab made with zucchini and carrot, and layered with good chewy maple bacon.
There's also a smokey hummus bagel, which seems like a lunchtime meal, but is diverting enough to block out two reversing delivery trucks manoeuvring towards us. Seed-crusted, and filled with with charred cauliflower, fresh herbs and blushingly red and orange in-house pickled vegetables, it is lush and tangy.
In coming days Nicol and Hol are releasing a lockdown pack, titled Saturdays with BMC, offering bottles of cold brew, ground coffee from different countries, a V60 filter and a recipe guide. They also have Father's Day packs at the ready, which include coffee and vouchers for coffee training.
So, sling on your dressing gown, click on a specialty coffee and toastie and motor over for breakfast before you've wiped the sleep from your eyes.
Black Market Coffee
Where 24 Cadogan Street, Marrickville, blackmarketcoffee.com.au
Main attraction A broad, beautifully brewed menu of hot and cold coffee varieties, using beans roasted in-house, served with a click-and-collect drive-through option.
Must-try dish Okon roll, BMC's tweaked egg-and-bacon roll, inspired by Japanese savoury pancake okonomiyaki (meaning "as you like" and "grilled") and made with zucchini, carrot, egg and maple bacon.
Insta-worthy dish Smokey hummus bagel, seed-crusted with charred cauliflower, fresh herbs and blushingly red and orange in-house pickled vegetables.