Food & Drink

The Sydney Uni Students Guide To The Best Coffee Near Campus

By Jessica Best
11th Apr 2017

best coffee sydney

There’s only one thing sleep-deprived-backpack-slackin kids need to survive the (endless) peril of uni—Coffee. And lots of it.

Once you find yourself in the glorious life chapter of tertiarry education, caffeine-loading isn’t a choice, it’s a lifestyle. Don’t expect uni parties to be conveniently organised on the weekend so you can have that awesome sleep-in. Uni parties are always midweek and the night before a major assignment is due.

Which means more often than not, you’ll be rocking up to your 8am tutorial for a subject you don’t even remember choosing, completely and undeniably still intoxicated, with a coffee in hand. But at least it’ll be damn tasty.

Welcome to uni, where you start taking cost-effective responsibility for yourself, one shot at a time. Here’s your guide to the best coffee spots around universities in Sydney.

Australian Catholic University | North Sydney

Underground Espresso

No doubt, if you’re getting your studies done at ACU you’re also caffeine-loading to the max (thank-god there’s no such thing as having too much coffee) at Underground Espresso. This little hole-in-the-wall serves up delicious cups of energy at lightning speed. Read that as: it’s a totally viable coffee-run between your two-hour lecture interval. Also, they serve up matcha lattes. We can confirm they’re dangerously addictive.

Where: off campus, Greenwood Plaza.

The Roots

Serving up all kinds of coffee goodness for all the sleep-deprived young things of North Sydney, The Roots is your go-to for a caffeine-hit or two. If you’re studying physiotherapy, maybe four? Yep, these guys churn out espresso, pour over and siphon coffee, because if you’re going to energy up for an all-nighter, you may as well do it in style. And on a side, there are wine specials on Fridays. Coincidence? We think not.

Where: off campus, Shop 7, Elizabeth Plaza.

Macquarie University | North Ryde

Piccolo Me

“People sleeping at Macquarie Uni” is a thing. Google it. And don’t let it happen to you. Thankfully, the coffee game has levelled up which means if you’re going to sleep anywhere, it’s probably on the bus along Epping Road in peak hour when the traffic is at a complete standstill. But for when you’re actually on campus (rarely) you’ll want to hit up the classic Piccolo Me. Because when you’re too hungover to remember your order, at least the hella awesome staff will.

Where: On campus, 16 University Ave Macquarie Park.

Marxine’s Coffee

Marxine has been fuelling Mac students since 1972 and it’s the ultimate caffeine top-up for when you’re already late for class and don’t have time to wait in the never-ending Coffee Cart line. But let’s be honest, you’ll probably skip class entirely to enjoy your coffee out in the sun to “catch up on all those readings” you haven’t (and will never) do. Think Pablo and Rusty’s and a side of tasty Sonoma bread—just because everyone else is living off mi-goreng doesn’t mean you have to.

Where: On campus, Level 1, Campus Hub Building.

Sydney University | Camperdown


Conveniently located in (what feels like) the middle of campus, Ralph’s is the major institution (opening at 6:20am for anyone that’s keen to hit up Fisher Library basically before life starts) saving you from your forever-long walk to Bosche. Plus it’s well away from campus protests and the stupol groups that congregate around Eastern Avenue. So that’s an automatic win. And FYI there’s a heap of Usyd love letters dedicated to this place. Probably because they host the best ice chocolates on campus, no biggie.

Where: On campus, The Arena Sports Centre, Western Avenue.

Runcible Spoon

Known as “The Spoon”, if you’ve got an hour or two between lectures, an early tute, or want to laze about but the Law Lawns are packed out, Runcible Spoon is the perfect little hideaway a few minutes from campus boasting delicious snacks and tasty coffee. And let’s just say, the coffee here is super student friendly ie. You’ll be able to shout everybody in your group assignment a good old cup of golden happiness.

Where: Off campus, 27 Bar Street Camperdown.

University of Technology Sydney | Ultimo

Mecca Espresso

Yep, if you’re an ABC employee or a UTS student, you’ve definitely been surviving off the roast at Mecca Espresso. Located on Harris Street, this joint is the perfect for coffee-addicts. The coffee beans are roasted at their roastery in Chippendale and there’s a selection of single origin roasts as well as a standard house blends but let’s be honest, so long as it’s caffeine, we’re happy.

Where: Off campus, 646 Harris Street.

Cornerstone Cafe

If you’ve done that marvellous thing of binge watching Netflix until 4am, these guys make a mean bacon and egg sambo and coffee to help get you through a full day of lectures. But if you’re in need of a serious caffeine kick, fortify your energy levels with “the bucket”. Think all the coffee shots.

Where: On campus, ground floor, Building 7, corner of Thomas Street and Jones Street.

University of New South Wales | Kensington

The White House

Ah, the White House. The good old weatherboard bar saving our souls one coffee shot at a time. This is where you bring all your uni mates to swig down taro lattes, coconut hot chocolates and matcha green tea. There’s regular coffee too but like… taro lattes guys. We guarantee that’ll make the fact that you’re four assignments behind totally fine. Kind of.

Where: On campus, Fig Tree precinct, Gate 4 High Street.

Coffee Cart

Yep, the best thing about UNSW is still the epic Coffee Cart. Also known as Cafe Brioso, there’s no question that the fastest and most buzzed up caffeine on campus can be found right here. Plus, this caffeination bar is conveniently located right outside the library so it’s perfect for a pre-study fuelling, or to top a post-group assignment come down. And you’ll want to get amongst the loyalty program, you’re going to be on you tenth free coffee before you know it.

Where: On campus, library lawn.

Western Sydney University | Parramatta


It’s only natural that you completely over do it on the caffeine and Circa will definitely help you get there. Here, you’ll score speciality brews (because while you’re at uni it’s essential you’re a coffee snob too) with a killer vibe, think painted murals, flower vines and… well the whole joint is basically a garage. And we have no doubt you’ll get a little caught up with the seriously delicious menu. Their peanut butter cookies are the perfect lecture snack.

Where: Off campus, 21 Wentworth Street.

Darcy St Project

Along with serving up delicious shots of coffee, Darcy St Project is a brew bar doing some serious good in the world including providing coffee education and barista training for indigenous, youth at risk, recent migrants and non-English speaking backgrounds or mature aged workers. This one is always packed out with people, so it’s the ultimate student spot for a bit of essential procrasti-chat.

Where: Off campus, 4/71 George Street.

Here are 41 things you'll understand if you're a uni student.

Image credit: Nancy Hanna

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