Melbourne is the coffee capital of Australia. It has a rich history in both art and culture and an eclectic mix of cafes to explore. With so many great cafes and roasters to choose from, it can be hard to know where to go for that perfect cup. Fear not! This blog post will give you some tips for finding Melbourne's best coffee spots.
It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that Melbourne has some of the best cafés in the world. Australians know that their beans and food are unlike anything else, so whether you reside in South Yarra or you're dropping by the CBD, why not grab something extraordinary?
The city's coffee entrepreneurs trawl the world's great coffee regions to search for single-origin coffees to entice their sophisticated customers. And it's not just about espressos and flat whites (similar to lattes), but also pour-over, siphon and cold-drip coffee styles.
Melbourne's roasters and baristas are some of the most accomplished, inventive and technical on earth. So it seems with each passing month, there's a new brewing technique, new gadgets or a shift in the idea of what good coffee means. What we do, the rest of the world often follows.
Location: 12-18 Yarra Pl, South Melbourne
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, 7 am to 5 pm.
ST ALi is an entire precinct dedicated to coffee and the engine room of renaissance coffee guy Salvatore Malatesta. With its dumpster-chic decor down a graffiti daubed laneway, ST Ali is Melbourne's leading experimental coffee brewers, micro-roasters, green bean traders and country of origin specialists. It is one of the best places to try subtle cold-drip coffee, with its low acidity and bitterness, which goes down a treat with a tasty breakfast or lunch.
In an out-of-the-way converted warehouse in the back streets of South Melbourne is St Ali, the headquarters of an ambitious coffee operation with plans for world domination (almost). Mark Dundon opened St Ali in 2005 and began roasting coffee to supply the cafe and a handful of retail customers. He sold it all in 2008 and has since gone on to open the exceptional Seven Seeds.
The buyer was Salvatore Malatesta, who has since positioned St Ali as the flagship of his growing cafe empire. The other notable cafes under the St Ali brand are Sensory Lab, Auction Rooms and Clement. There's also a St Ali in Jakarta now.
Malatesta has cleverly developed a team of energetic coffee enthusiasts. Its hard work and passion are evident, and St Ali has an atmosphere that comes from people getting excited about the product they're offering.
ST ALi helped popularise locally roasted beans in Melbourne, and today it remains one of the city's best-known caffeine purveyors (there's even licensed merch). For coffee friends, a visit to this mothership in South Melbourne is mandatory. The cafe uses a proprietary blend for its milk-based coffees and its organic blend for espresso-based black coffee. There's also a hot and cold filter. For an extended experience, the so-called "Coffee Adventure" serves up six different coffees.
Location: 383 chapel st, south Yarra
Opening Hours: Mon-Wed: 7am - 4pm, Thurs - Fri: 7am - late, Sat - Sun: 8am - late
Contact: 03 9824 1026
What do you get when you combine fresh food, a stunning location, and delicious espresso? Abacus Café. This Prahran coffee shop offers locally sourced dishes and tempting brunch favourites. Abacus sets the bar pretty high for other Melbourne destinations. So whether you're after a hearty meal or you'd prefer to try their homemade honeycomb, you've come to the right place!
Proud Mary Cafe - Melbourne
Location: 172 Oxford St, Collingwood
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 8 am to 3 pm, Saturday – Sunday 8 am to 3 pm
Contact: 03 9417 1444
Specialty coffee roaster, café, coffee educator and retailer, Proud Mary also serves a terrific all-day breakfast, fresh juices and smoothies, single estate tea, homemade cakes and original lunch fare. Coffee comes via cold drip, V60, Aeropress and espresso.
The nearby two-storey state-of-the-art coffee cellar door Aunty Peg's is part roasting house, part coffee bar, part retail shop, and serves only black coffee as well as an ale-like coffee brew and offers free cupping sessions.
After selling Liar Liar in early 2009, Nolan Hirte opened this buzzing cafe in the backstreets of Collingwood.
It's laid out according to his love for specialty coffee. A long L-shaped, speckled stone counter serves as an outer shell for the small kitchen and a considerable brew bar, where three or more baristas enjoy an uninterrupted workflow.
An army of grinders hold various Proud Mary's blends and single origins, roasted a block away at Aunty Peg's. These can be enjoyed via cold drip, V60, AeroPress and espresso.
At Liar Liar, Hirte was frustrated with only having three group heads to extract espresso, causing cross-contamination between different varieties of coffee.
At Proud's, he remedied that by welding together two three-group Synesso machines to create a custom six-group monster. Every single-origin has its extractor, ensuring it tastes like nothing but itself.
In the kitchen, chef Vicky Symington (ex-Attica) avoids well-worn classics in favour of original takes. Braised beef cheek is spiced with Balkan pepper paste. Avocado on toast is made crunchy with sprouts. The ricotta hotcakes are dabbed with aromatic, cardamom-spiked sour cream.
This top-flight coffee and food combination means the raw-brick space is rarely quiet, regardless of what day or time you visit. Accordingly, don't expect to get your takeaway coffee right away. There's almost always a few local residents or workers hanging around the entrance waiting to score.
Location: 438 Lygon St, Brunswick East
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 7 am-3 pm, Sunday 8 am-3 pm
Contact: 03 9381 1881
The Brunswick East Project is the roasting headquarters of Padre Coffee, which sources green coffee from 30 estates worldwide.
Marinus Jansen had a background in just about everything but coffee. So the software engineer started Padre, a coffee roaster with a down-to-earth approach, in 2008.
Since then, Jansen has collected a number of like-minded business partners. Together they've opened many successful stores at Queen Vic Market, South Melbourne Market, and Royal Arcade.
The East Brunswick Project (Padre's original name) is where it all began. The stark, white-tiled roaster and cafe is responsible for about half of Padre's roasting efforts. The rest happens at a warehouse around the corner.
The team sources green coffee from up to 30 different estates all over the coffee-growing world, including Indonesia. The cafe typically carries a number of single origins and the house blends – Daddy's Girl for espresso and Hey Buddy for the filter.
The experience is designed to be accessible and friendly. Questions and experimentation are encouraged. When in doubt, just ask one of the exceptionally well-trained staff. They'll walk you through the whole process from field to cup. Their only distractions from the coffee are some takeaway sweets and savouries (we can recommend the bacon and egg tarts).
Over at a separate counter, there's a wall of take-home brewing equipment and beans to match. The East Brunswick store also offers barista, roasting and cupping (tasting) courses.
Check out the huge range of coffee gadgets while you sip your specialty brew and sign up for a barista course. Padre also has the League of Honest Coffee in the city centre and cafés in the Royal Arcade, South Melbourne Market and Queen Victoria Market.
Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters
Location: 114 Berkeley St, Carlton
Opening Hours: 7 am-4 pm Weekdays / 8 am–4 pm Weekends
Contact: 03 9347 8664
Seven Seeds (which takes its name from the seven fertile seeds of coffee that the Sufi Baba Budan smuggled out of Yemen and into India during the 17th century) is a small micro-roaster in Carlton that sources seasonal coffee from around the world. It is owned by coffee visionaries Mark Dundon and Bridget Amor, the original owners of ST ALi. Its quirky on-site café still makes some of Melbourne's best coffee and offers a small simple food menu.
At a time when Melbourne was dominated by dark-roasted, untraceable, commodity-grade beans made solely for espresso, the duo began pushing quality, provenance and lighter roasts to suit filter, cold drip and other brewing styles.
The company's roasting operation outgrew Carlton in 2017. It imports green beans from the Americas, Africa and Asia and roasts them on a monstrous 60-kilogram Probat machine and two smaller models in Fairfield wholesale headquarters.
Stop in at Carlton for an exactingly brewed cup of the Golden Gate espresso blend with notes of cocoa and toffee, or try a single rotating origin made with the method of your choice.
The place is regularly busy and always humming with energy. It's not uncommon to have to wait for a table. Melbourne University is only a block away, so students often drop by to kill time between classes.
Seven Seeds, located in a warehouse just north of downtown in an area frequented by students and creative young professionals, is the new venture from Mark Dundon, the godfather of Melbourne's coffee scene. And so far, it's a smash hit. The Seven Seeds Espresso Blend has a touch of fruit, the Golden Gate Blend is caramel-y, and the single origins rotate regularly. There are batch and single-serve filter options, too, plus home-brewed lemonade and iced tea. Don't miss the decadent, espresso-infused French toast served with espresso crumbs, chocolate soil, and berry coulis.
Market Lane Coffee
Location: Shop 13, Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Rd, South Yarra
Opening Hours: Mon: 7 am–3 pm
Tue: 7 am–5 pm
Wed: 7 am–3 pm
Thu - Sat: 7am–5pm
Contact: 03 9804 7434
Market Lane's roastery and café at Prahran Market is proud of its distinctive single-origin coffees. Espresso and pour-over coffee are served alongside cakes, pastries, muesli and more. It sells single estate coffee beans and brewing equipment and offers free public cuppings (tastings) and brewing classes covering pour-over, aeropress and plunger coffee. Other outlets are at Queen Victoria Market, Carlton and two in the city centre.
While most Melbourne roasters focus on proprietary coffee blends, Market Lane is primarily about single-origin coffee roasted in small batches within bustling Prahran Market. For coffee nerds, it's a must-visit. If you're in a rush, you can grab a flat white made with the Seasonal Espresso blend. But it's more satisfying to chat with the staff and identify a single origin that best suits your tastes. The pour-over filter options are revelatory.
Wide Open Road Coffee
Location: 274 Barkly St, Brunswick
Open Hours: Monday - Sunday 7 am to 4 pm
Contact: 03 9010 9298
The hipster chic Wide Open Road roaster, coffee lab and café have a chic industrial fit-out inside a converted 1950s warehouse plastered with paste-up street art. So very Melbourne. Its Bathysphere house blend is designed to be drunk black. Enjoy some of the most inspired café food in Melbourne as you watch the roasters in action through plexiglass windows.
Wide Open Road is a true all-rounder in Brunswick. Yes, the roastery churns out one of Melbourne's best blends, but the baristas also brew exquisite tea, and the kitchen serves up terrific cafe meals that defy any one genre. Espresso drinkers can choose from the signature Bathysphere Blend, another blend tailored to milky drinks, and rotating single-origin coffees. There are also loose-leaf teas by Larsen & Thompson; brewing for these is carefully timed and temperature controlled.
Location: 30 Sackville St, Collingwood 3066, VIC
Opening Hour: Monday — Friday 7 am—4 pm
Saturday — Sunday 8 am — 4 pm
Contact: 03 9042 8746
Boutique coffee roastery based in Melbourne, Australia. We source premium raw coffee beans and thoughtfully roast them in small batches to reflect their origins and distinctive characteristics. Our commitment is to reveal each bean's unique qualities and natural flavours by highlighting the stories they have to tell.
ACOFFEE beans are selected and sourced fresh seasonally. Our careful roasting process reveals clear natural flavours and transparency to the origin. We roast using two different processes to suit your preferred brewing method, helping you experience the most authentic flavours.
If the blindingly white, ultra-sparse cafe space in Collingwood didn't make it clear, ACOFFEE's co-owners prize simplicity. A drink here is an invitation to focus on what's in the cup—and nothing else. Options are limited: There's a house blend (roasted nearby) for black and white espresso drinks, a pour-over option, cold brew, matcha, and juice. ACOFFEE opts for a lighter roast than most other cafes in Melbourne, all to preserve the flavour complexity.
Auction Rooms Coffee
Location: 103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne
Opening Hours: MON-FRI 7 AM - 5 PM, SAT/SUN 7.30 AM - 5 PM
Contact: (03) 9326 7749
In the sprawling, post-industrial space of the former WB Ellis auction house, the Auction Rooms boutique coffee roaster and café ticks all the boxes. There are great espressos, a separate coffee bar for drip and siphon coffees (all sourced from their beans roasted at the off-site Small Batch Roasting Company) and funky food, including excellent breakfast eggs. Plus, there's outdoor seating for a dose of fresh air on warm Melbourne mornings.
Read more about Auction Room.
Location: 3/62 Rose St, Fitzroy
Opening Hours: Weekdays 7am - 3pm | Weekends 8am - 3pm
Contact: 03 9417 1034
Housed in an open plan, award-winning warehouse conversion among Fitzroy's edgy street art, Industry Beans is a coffee roastery, restaurant and brew bar. The inspired seasonal brunch menu sports almost-too-pretty-to-eat dishes, such as rosewater compressed watermelon with lemon myrtle panna cotta, bee pollen curd and wattleseed granola designed to showcase the roastery's beans.
More coffee laboratory than a traditional cafe, Industry Beans leaves caffeine addicts wide-eyed. The warehouse complex in Fitzroy houses a dining area, a roastery, an upstairs "tasting lab," and training spaces for baristas. For drinks, the options are dazzling:
Two espresso blends plus single-origin espressos.
- Three single origins for filter coffee.
- One cold coffee that comprises two single origins that are prepared separately before being combined in the glass.
Food includes breakfast faves like avocado smash.
Gold Drops Coffee
Location: 183 Little Collins Street Melbourne, VIC, Australia 3000
Open Hours: Monday to Friday 7 am to 4:30 pm
Contact: 09770 03
Gold Drops appears to be a standard Italian-style espresso bar downtown but Melbourne's sole purveyor of "natural" coffee. The key difference with natural coffee is its enhanced fruitiness, which considerably alters the milk-based espresso drinks profile. The cafe also offers batch-brewed filter—the staff will help you decide which option is likely to suit you best. Owner Ari Abad is an evangelist for natural coffee and will always find time to chat. It's innovative places like this that make the city truly exciting for coffee devotees.
As you've seen, there are a lot of great options for coffee shops in Melbourne. Though the best option will depend on your personal preferences and needs, we hope this list has been helpful to those who want to explore more about Melbourne's coffee culture without getting overwhelmed by the city itself.
If it has helped you find some new places to try out or even just give you an idea of where else is worth checking out in the town, then our work here is done! So get up off that couch (or desk!) and go experience these cafes for yourself today! So, where did you end up finding your favourite place?