Getting Caffeinated in Melbourne and Sydney

June 6, 2014

in cafes, coffee, New South Wales, Victoria

It seems that tourists and new expats throughout the world usually have a similar question on their minds when first arriving at their destination: Where on Earth do I find a good coffee here (often followed, later in the day, with where to find a good beer)? Luckily, for those blessed enough to find themselves in Australia, there are abundant top cafes to keep you well-fed, watered and caffeinated.

When in Australia’s culture and shopping capital of Melbourne, head straight to Lygon Street, where you’ll feel like you just stepped into a stylish Roman quarter. Melbourne’s celebrated Little Italy is the place to find a top espresso, coupled with some fine Italian pastries for that little bit of indulgence — though be warned, long queues can be found outside Brunetti’s, a popular place for all things sweet and delicious. If you want to linger a little longer, take your pick of any of Lygon’s famed eateries where you can enjoy some mouth-watering pasta and pizza. Good choices include Café Trevi and the Lygon Street Food Store.

Dessert at a cafe

Other options in Melbourne proper include Patricia Coffee Brewers, Dukes and Brother Baba Budan. The various Melbourne suburbs also boast good brews. Traditionalists will like Sila Espresso Bar on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy while the experimental types will dig Industry Beans, also in Fitzroy (a great place to grab a full-scale brunch as well). Everyday Coffee in Collingwood and Hanna Coffee in St Albans are other choices to consider.

For those who find themselves a little further north in Sydney, you can make your coffee drinking hipster-chic in Surry Hills, which boasts a buzzing cafe scene. One of the most popular spots is Single Origin Roasters, which has been in the coffee house game a while and offers its own house blend, Reservoir, which is sweet, light and a perfect milk-based morning pick-me-up. If you’re after a really stiff coffee, you might want to try Sly, which serves Artamon’s Roastworks Coffee — served short and black, it’s bitter and nutty; served white, it’s flat. Sly is also the place to go for a pressed-sandwich, not to mention a smoothie from an adult sippy cup rather than a regular glass.

Cup of Australian coffee

The bordering Inner West suburbs of Balmain and Rozelle are home to great cafes in addition to some of the best known Australian actors, such as Cate Blanchett, in addition to artists, writers, musicians and film directors. Darling Street is the main drag running through both suburbs and boasts an array of fine restaurants, pubs and shops. In Balmain, try the small, dimly lit Little Marionette — sit in, or grab a blanket and sip your cuppa across the street on the grass of Gladstone Park. The bustling Le Cafeier serves top coffee prepared by friendly staff and has a Turkish-inspired menu with highlights such as char-grilled chicken souvlaki and goat cheese, ricotta-stuffed zucchini flowers with Turkish honey. 

Maybe you’d like to take some dessert from Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie to go with your coffee. This celebrated patissier believes that, besides tasting incredible, food should be fun, textural and visually appealing. If the queue is too long on Darling Street for your takeaway skim cap and macaroon, try his normally less busy location down the road on Terry Street in Rozelle. Other Rozelle spots for good coffee and meals or treats include Rosebud, Piccolo’s and The Bean.

What are your top coffee spots in Australia?

This is a contributed post.

Images by Leslie and richardwinchell

3 Comments - Add Yours!

  1. rebecca

    I always miss being able to so easily get a good coffee when im away from Oz. I have to say Bourke Street Bakery is a must but also my favourite and by far top 10 coffees I have ever had resides in Marrickville, Sydney… A Hidden gem called Alchemy.

  2. iliana

    OMG! Melbourne coffee…Yum! I never thought I’d develop a palate for coffee, but I did 🙂 Seven Seeds and Atomica Coffee were really good, but often too busy, so I found new favorites – Manchester Press, Beans & Bagels and Le Miel Et La Lune. I discovered Industry Beans only shortly before I left Oz. My first going out for coffee in the States was a big disapointment. But right around the corner from my new flat, in a narrow lane (very Melbourne-like), I found La Colombe – my piece of Oz, at least in terms of good coffee.

  3. Aquila Salta

    I find myself unable to leave your blog! I can’t stop reading it! I must say you have a very unique voice in writing, which I personally appreciate. Thanks again Lauren!


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