Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Klink Handmade Espresso Cafe - Sydney Australia

Sydney has never stop to amaze me. As I write each blog, i'm starting to worry on my next blog because I am not sure if I can constantly find gem like this every fortnight.

This fortnight blog is a request from my colleagues as a result of their curiosity. I worked in the Sydney CBD area and I attempt to go to as many cafes as possible just to try the cafe out. What really caught my colleagues and my attention for this cafe is the word "handmade" stamped on the takeaway cup. We were wondering what does the word handmade mean? Was the coffee hand roasted or was it this or was it that?

So here we go.

The above picture shows you the view of the cafe when you are walking towards it from Druitt Street. No signage, no tables or chairs, nothing... Now let me show you why it is called hole in the wall cafe

There you go, if you are planning to buy your takeaway coffee, that's the window where you can order your coffee. Prior to this interview, Klink to me was really just a "hole in the wall" type cafe. Never did I realize how wrong I was and that there is so much more character to this cafe than I thought.

Starting with the building, did you know that this building was built in 1891? It was originally constructed for the Clarence Street Police Station. When you visit the place today, you can still see the word "police" on the facade of the building.

Working with Gaffa which is an artist run space, Klink established himself in this historical site. As you would have expected a site of this historical value is also one of the listed site on the Sydney Heritage List.

Now for those of you that has only gone to this cafe for its takeaway, give yourself a chance to enjoy the space within! It is such an amazing spot, with so many choices to enjoy depending on your mood. You can choose to sit within the limited space near the espresso machine

Or perhaps you have some important matters to discuss and would like a bit of a hideaway spot

If you just feel like sitting around and have a chat, why not pick the area along the corridor and on a good day, you will get the sun shinning through the skylight. At the same time enjoy a glass of water, complimentary of Sydney Water (just kidding).

There are so much more to this area that I can go on and on about it, but I think is time to move on to the cafe after these final few photos of Gaffa.

Exhibits of the ground floor at the moment consist of a meeting room and a table tennis/ping pong room. According to the staff, these are all temporary and it will change, so if you want to play a game of table tennis, go before they remove it. The cost of the game is a gold coin donation to Gaffa.


Now let's move on to the interview
Cafe Name: Klink Handmade Espresso

What's the idea behind the cafe name?
There are 2 parts to the name
1. Klink (technically spelled as Clink according to dictionary.com) is  the sound of glass hitting one another making a light, sharp, ringing sound.

2. As introduced earlier, this cafe was built in a police station building. Klink is also a slang for jailhouse/prison. The only slight evidence in the interior of the building that might have gave an impression of a prison will be the bars.

Now to the word handmade. According to James, this is to illustrate the labor effort that is required in making a cup of coffee. Each cup of coffee is "handmade" by the barista at the machine. To push this concept further, even the logo on the takeaway cup is also hand stamp.

Coffee beans: Golden Cobra

Why this location?
Firstly, it was a collaboration with Gaffa and while it is in Sydney center, but the location is still slightly off trek, away from the main street (George Street) which also add some character to the location.

Secondly, there is already a cafe scene happening on this street, as I walked towards Klink, I saw at least 5 other cafes including a roaster on the same street within 2 blocks.

281 Clarence Street

Operating Hours
Monday to Friday: 7.00am to 4.00pm

Owner name: James Humphreys

James had been working in this industry for the last 10 years in various Sydney cafes. He used to run a cocktail bar in New Zealand before he venture across the Tasman Sea to Australia.

What do you like about working in a cafe?
The love for coffee was an obvious start but is the quest for the perfect cup each time and the social aspect of seeing different people everyday which made the job interesting even though making coffee can be a very repetitive task.

But James highlighted that while it is repetitive it is different to that of a factory, the handmade component of making a cup of coffee require skilled repetition and is not just a simple matter of pressing a button.

What are your plans for the future?
Perhaps a second cafe but only when he is sure that Klink has attained the level of quality in product and service before he would contemplate a second cafe.

What is your favourite coffee?
Got to put an interesting note here, for James it is not about the type of coffee (ie Cappuccino or latte) but is deeper than that.

So the answer to this question from James is: current favourite is El Topacio beans

Cappuccino Price Index: AUD $3.40

So next time, take a moment to enjoy the ambience while you sipped your way through your coffee in a shopping arcade of a different kind.

That's all from me this fortnight, next time, I will be venturing out of Sydney to a suburb (Engadine) which is about 37 kms south of Sydney City.


  1. Great post! I've been to gaffa before for an exhibition but didn't have a chance to experience the coffee, so looking forward to experiencing this sometime.

    Plenty of history behind it too :)

  2. Thank coffeejunkie, isn't it amazing that we still have all these hidden heritage sites.

  3. I loved reading this post. Will surely pay a visit to gaffa some day.

    Espresso Machines

    1. Thanks Vivian David for the compliment, I hope you had enjoyed reading my blog on the other cafes too.

  4. Awesome work - it's always great to get an insider's view of a coffee house - I can almost smell the coffee from here!


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