The Reformatory Caffeine Lab

The Reformatory

Review of The Reformatory Caffeine Lab


Coffee shop owners in Surry Hills should be afraid.  Very afraid.  You see, there’s a new kid in town.  A place where chemistry rules and comic books are cool, a laboratory of sorts and they’re bringing coffee to a whole new level, the likes of which has never been seen in Surry Hills before.

We’re talking about The Reformatory Caffeine Lab.

Owner Simon Jaramillo, aka The Mad Professor is a coffee fanatic.  What he doesn’t know about coffee isn’t worth knowing.  Growing up in a coffee farming family in Colombia, developing a passion for coffee was inevitable for Simon.  He is obsessive about every aspect of the perfect cup – from the farm, to import, roasting and serving.  Naturally, Simon also owns a coffee import business and a roasting house.  This guy lives and breathes (and drinks) coffee.

You will find The Reformatory Caffeine Lab in a converted drive-way in competitive coffee territory in Surry Hills.  Simon’s love of comics, particularly the Joker is evident in the industrial fit out, with a comic mural painted on one wall and some pretty serious pieces of steel adorning the space.  The narrow interior is dim, with small side-tables bolted to the wall and no seats.  It’s not hard to picture the Joker sipping his ristretto here.  One look at the equipment sitting on the bar and you know, this is not your cookie cutter coffee shop.

The Reformatory Caffeine Lab

Once you enter the space, it is impossible not to notice Simon and his team are genuinely warm and engaging.  Their enthusiasm is infectious and they love nothing more than chatting with you about their coffee.  Whether that be explaining where that coffee is sourced, how that coffee is roasted, or the flavours you should expect to taste in your cup.

Two signature blends are served, ‘The Joker’ and ‘SQAB’.  We try both as a Piccolo and we can’t fault them.  The presentation is unexpected with your coffee served sitting alongside a pot of ground beans.  You are encouraged to smell the beans before drinking your coffee.   Nice .

Feeling adventurous, we venture into their ‘filtered’ selection, not our usual style.  Surprisingly, the coffee is delicate and almost more like tea than coffee, but apparently it contains more caffeine than espresso!  We could easily be converted.

But the piece de resistance is the Signature Cold Drip.  It takes 16 hours to make 1 litre of this liquid gold.  Oh, and it’s served in two matching test tubes.  In fact every coffee has a unique presentation here.

Should you be feeling peckish, they offer a range of artisan cakes and pastries but we love the house made Chorizo Empanadas.

The Reformatory Caffeine Lab pushes the boundaries of coffee as we know it.  Simon is continually experimenting and developing new and unique coffee concepts.  We can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.  Just don’t ask for sugar or flavoured syrup – that’s for Starbucks.

Address:  Shop 7B, 17-51 Foveaux Street, Surry Hills
Hours:  Mon – Fri – 6.30am – 4pm, Sat – 8am – 2pm
Website:  The Reformatory Caffeine Lab

* Urban Chic Guides was invited to dine on this visit as guests of The Reformatory Caffeine Lab.  All thoughts and words are the authors own and reflect their true and honest opinion.  For more information about our Editorial Policy, click here.

The Reformatory Caffeine Lab

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