It’s true that coffee permeates through every aspect of Melbourne life. Deals are struck over coffee, interviews are conducted over coffee, mothers meet after school drop off for coffee, some people can’t start their day or get through lunch without coffee.
There are over 2000 cafes and restaurants in the centre of Melbourne alone and boutique coffee roasters are so plentiful there are top ten lists of the best.
However, if you’re a tourist in the centre of Melbourne it’s easy to drink mediocre coffee without ever finding out why it tops the list of coffee cities.
So, where do you find the best coffee in Melbourne?
Where to find the best coffee in Melbourne
You could try googling best coffee in Melbourne, which will take you from South Melbourne to Collingwood to Carlton to Hawthorn in a very long list.
You could ask a couple of Melbournians: Where’s the best coffee in the city centre near my hotel? Just for the fun of the argument that ensues:
M1: “The best coffee near the city centre is Patricia Coffee Brewers. It’s standing room only but the coffee is amazing and the atmosphere is upbeat – you know latin music, friendly staff, people leaning against the window sills chatting.”
M2: “Oh I’ve been there, it’s close to where I work. No, you’ll find the the best coffee around the corner.”
M1: “Mmm, Patricia sells 1500 coffees a day – if people vote with their feet, that’s a lot of votes. You get a glass of sparkling water while you wait for your coffee and there’s newspapers on the back wall.”
M2: “No I much prefer my cafe – the barista knows what I like, the queue isn’t as long and the coffee is always great.”
And that’s how it rolls in a city obsessed with coffee – my favourite is the best. End of conversation.
So, I stopped asking friends and started walking the streets and came to the conclusion that if you’re looking for the best coffee in the city centre, you go to the cafes serving just coffee – usually standing room only, or with a few seats.
As the google hits suggest, there are plenty of good coffees to be found in the inner suburbs and they’re often owned by coffee roasters or roast their own coffee beans in communal roasting houses.
This is definitely true of the four city centre coffee shops I suggest you try: Brother Baba Budan, and Patricia Coffee Brewers in Little Bourke Street; and Axil Coffee Roasters and Dukes Coffee Roasters in Flinders Lane.
Little Bourke Street is not far from the shopping streets of Melbourne and will also lead you onto some great laneways, such as Rankins, Hardware and Guildford. While Flinders Lane is home to some of the best restaurants in Melbourne and close to the street art of Hosier Lane.
Full disclosure: there will be queues. But good coffee takes time, care and attention from selecting and roasting the ideal beans to the skilled precision of making the coffee, pouring the perfectly frothed milk and serving it to you at just the right temperature. Savour every sip!