Black Coffee Pop-up: Outré Gallery, Sydney

Sydney has a love affair with pop-ups and enjoys a good coffee. But is our fair city ready to give up its fixation with latte, cappuccino, even the humble espresso?

Black Coffee pop-up is exactly what it means – a pop-up “café” serving brewed pour-over, Aeropress and siphon coffees at Outré Gallery in Surry Hills. With a mantra of “no milk, no sugar, no espresso, no bullshit”, the experience is as much an education as an appreciation of the bean.

Black Coffee Pop-up Sydney
L-R: Nico Alary and Mark W Free

“Milk and sugar are a mask,” says Mark W Free, the Melbourne-based talent behind the pop-up project. ”Coffee is this amazing, very complex drink that a lot of people put a lot of work in to make it taste great.”

The concept is to encourage people to use simple methods to make the coffee at home, removing as many of the middle people between the grower and the consumer. The difference between the two techniques is that the Aeropress gives the coffee a little more body and mouthfeel while the pour-over makes it makes a cleaner and more delicate cup.

Seven roasters are available on taste, Seven Seeds, Market Lane and Small Batch (Melbourne), Reuben Hills, Single Origin, Mecca and Coffee Alchemy (Sydney).

Black Coffee Pop-up Sydney
Pour-over method

Using the pour-over method, 13 grams of Rainha coffee beans from Brazil weighed for consistency then freshly ground. The filter is rinsed with hot water out of a boiler (97 ºC ) to remove the paper taste. People are often fearful of the water being too hot which probably comes from using an espresso machine, Mark explains. By taking it from the boiler and moving it over, it brews at 92 to 93 degrees. Enough hot water is poured to cover the coffee, allowing it to soak it up and for the coffee to expand and release all these gases. After about a minute, the rest of the water is slowly poured through in order to avoid turbulence.

The result is a brew with nutty notes, a soft acidity and a silky mouthfeel without any hint of bitterness. Sugar and milk would only mask the purity of the taste.

Black Coffee Pop-up Sydney
Aeropress method

The second coffee is Seven Seeds and made through the Aeropress. Again 13g of coffee are used with 200 ml water, and the trick is to ensure it is all pressed down to extract the maximum flavour. The result is a coffee with a little more aroma and a lingering taste.

Mark believes that roasters should to be treated the same way as winemakers. “You wouldn’t put milk a couple of sugars in your wine,” he explains. As for the espresso, he likens coffee to a rainbow with a spectrum of flavours which is put in a vice until you get a brown nugget in the end.

The equipment on use retails around $50 and is available from Aeropress Australia website, Bean Drinking in Crows Nest and Hario as well as the Black Coffee website.

Black Coffee Pop-up Sydney

As for the verdict, the proof is in the taste. For die-hard espresso and one sugar aficionados, the purity of the coffee bean wins hands down.

Black Coffee pop-up runs from 19 to 22 April, 2012 at Outré Gallery in Surry Hills so be quick. And while you’re there, check out some amazing art work by artists such as Shag, Sailor Jerry flash art and books and the newly-released Hori Smoku DVD.

Black Coffee Pop-up Sydney

Outré Gallery
7/285A Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010


This article is posted on - All rights reserved - Copyright © 2018.

About the author

Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of popular online magazine Gourmantic and Cocktails & Bars, a website dedicated to cocktail culture and the discerning drinker. She is named in Australian Bartender Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The Academy responsible for judging the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the inaugural Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions.


  • @Katie it’s different to a Cappuccino. People often describe it as more like akin to tea. They tend to use lighter roasts which are more dynamic in flavour, naturally sweet and much less bitter. More caffeine too! I would highly recommend being adventurous and having a go!!

    • That’s a good analogy, David. The natural sweetness of the beans we tried came through. Definitely opens your palate to different possibilities. Thank you for your comment.