In the Annex is the product of Edrick Santos’ long and enlightening journey into the coffee industry, but it’s been well worth the wait. This cafe is the culmination of knowledge from a decade in the hospitality industry, the ups and downs, failures and successes and the endless lessons learned along the way.
After diving in the deep end a little early and buying a cafe with his brother, Ed soon realised he needed more experience and walked away. He took his time to gain some invaluable experience through hard work and dedication at some of the best cafes in Sydney. He also travelled to the USA, New Zealand and Europe, where he experienced different brew methods and different ways to extract espresso.
After the learning came the all-important venue choice. It took almost a year for co-owner, Theo Hlorotiris (the man behind the successful Fish on Fire franchise), and Ed to transform the space from its previous life as a chemist into what is now, a relaxed, well-lived-in space. The recycled and repurposed materials are evident throughout the entire venue. The fence paling on the front counter is from a neighbour’s house, the ladders on the walls come from Theo’s father and the artwork featured is from local artists. It definitely creates a relaxed and homely setting to enjoy a highly sought after cup of coffee.
The house blend is roasted by Umami Coffee Roasters and is comprised of four origins: Ethiopia, Brazil, Sumatra and India. Ed and Theo tried many variations, but the Indian Mysore gave it a dimension they couldn’t predict or pass up. The Brazilian gives the body and taste you’d expect and the Sumatran cups offer something very floral, akin to bergamot.
Also on offer are alternating single origins and filter coffees from a host of different roasters, including Reuben Hills, Sample, Sensory Lab and Golden Cobra. There are even samples from around the world, like drip coffee from Sweden, and US coffee, Stumptown, Ritual, Sightglass and Heart.
In the kitchen you’ll find chefs from two and three Hat restaurants and Michelin starred European venues, so you know your tastebuds are going to be pleased.
People come from all over to try out In The Annex on the weekends. During the week you’ll find a strong local contingent – professionals on their way into the city, staff from the nearby hospital and Sydney uni students. There’s also a good representation of local musicians that come to hang out here, too.