We usually use the home shower method and the French press method during camping. We love the rich and bold taste. When we travel, I can’t start without a cup or two. Any town, town or camping, coffee is an important consideration in the morning. New York has things like pizza and Paris has fresh croissants and baguette, Melbourne, Australia has coffee. For people who have not yet been to the country, coffee culture is an absolutely important part of Australian culture. So much so that other cities around the world advertise baristas and brewing techniques from Australia. And while the country as a whole loves its coffee, the center of everything that loves coffee is Melbourne.
While coffee culture existed in major European cities in the 18th and 19th centuries, it was not until the 1980s and 1990s that Australian coffee became as big as it is today. After World War II, Australia saw a massive influx of Italian immigrants, and with them came their sophisticated brewing techniques for coffee. The “espresso” and “mocha” things quickly became in the Australian zeitgeist and in the 1950s Italian coffee shops and cafes became a staple of major Australian cities. This is not to say that coffee did not exist before, but it was simply redefined from the 1950s.
What makes Australian coffee so different from its other counterparts? While North American coffee generally turns to South America for its beans, Australian coffee invests more in beans of African and even Asian origin, with Ethiopia being one of the largest bean producers for the Australian market. Not only that, but while North Americans will usually have drip coffee, rarely in Australia, everyone will just order “a coffee”. Coffee styles such as the “flat white” or “long black” ironically Aussie ways of drinking coffee. With that in mind, here are some of the best places in Melbourne to have a cup.
Midtown Daily Cafe
Located in the middle of downtown, daily cafe Midtown may seem like the destination for many Melbourne businessmen, but that doesn’t mean they don’t brew a big cup of coffee. The store is minimally designed, ideal for those looking for a cup of coffee and going out on the street (or to the office), but there’s also a lounge available for those who want to wrap their fingers around their classic restaurant-style cups. What sets the Daily Coffee Midtown apart from others is that they roast their own beans in their Melbourne warehouse, so their product is roasted fresh every day. They also offer a 50¢ discount if you have your own cup. On top of all this, even their most expensive coffee will bring you only 5 5.
In The Armpit Of The Roaster
Coffee is consumed forever, but only in recent years will serious coffee lovers make great efforts to get the best ethically produced grains. The people of Axil Café Roaster are all over this. The staff here is friendly and knowledgeable with a priority for ecologically sustainable single origin coffee. This means that the coffee selection is done on a daily rotation basis, which means that there is always something new and seasonal and they even roast their own hawthorn coffee. Axil Coffee Roaster has a few places in the city, but they all serve great coffee.
The coffee game in Melbourne is a big problem and the competition is fierce, so coffee suppliers are always trying to find new and innovative ways to harvest, roast and prepare coffee. On the surface, Gold Drops is a classic Italian-style cafe, but it’s also one of the most original cafes in town offering something other places don’t; “natural coffee.” What is “natural coffee” you might ask for? Well, while other coffee shops can buy the pre-roasted or harvested bean and roast it yourself, what Gold Drop does is they buy the bean with the coffee glaze still on them.
What you get is a totally different coffee experience with the more fruity flavors and adding milk to their espressos only changes the taste even more. Their “natural coffee” isn’t necessarily for everyone and can be an intoxicating experience, but for big coffee lovers looking for something new to try, that’s it. They are the only place in the city that offers “natural coffee”.
Coffee And Tea Machine
It’s trendy, it’s cool, and it’s in the middle of the city. Serving simple, simple food and espresso, Degraves Espresso Bar is the place to go to have a good coffee, a freshly made breakfast and get a little people watching. The place can get crowded and with its little space, it’s not uncommon to see guests spilling onto the street outside. Degraves Espresso Bar has been around for decades and vaguely resembles the type of coffee you might find in Paris. Nestled between giant skyscrapers and people in business suits mingling, you can find respite at the Degraves Espresso Bar.
Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar
No list of Melbourne’s best coffees would be complete without mentioning the iconic Pellegrini espresso bar. The cafe is practically home to Australian coffee and is even included in the National Trust of Australia. The cafe is located on Bourke Street, and the destination is iconic for coffee lovers, and even the average Melbournian. The cafe was opened in 1954 by the brothers Leo and Vildo Pellegrini, Italian migrants. The two brothers, upon arrival in Australia, worked in a nearby restaurant, Florentino (which is iconic in itself), and soon after they opened their own cafe.
Pellegrini’s Espresso bar, claiming that it is the first site in Australia with an Italian espresso machine, espresso coffee. Although it was originally a small facility, the cafe is rich, and in the 1970s, and was bought by Nino Pangrazio, and Sisto Malaspina, who was also Italian immigrants, was. Sadly, Sisto Malaspina was finished in the Melbourne stabbing attack in 2018, resulting in an outpouring of grief from locals who considered Sisto a Victorian icon. Malaspina received a state funeral and for more than 60 years since Pellegrini’s espresso bar opened, the menu has hardly changed.
ST ALi is one of the coffee suppliers of the third wave Melbourne originals. While other places still bought pre-roasted coffee grounds, ST ALi roasted beans himself. Now all the WHO’s who of the coffee landscape in town are doing it. ST ALi is an all-day hot spot, and it’s one of the best cafes in town, even when it comes to their own licensed merchandise. While the space itself may seem a bit barebones, you’re really here for coffee first and atmosphere second. The warehouse looking dining room hosts private and community tables so you can sit alone and people or try to make new friends.
Their coffee blends come from organic producers and they serve hot and cold pressed coffee. For a true taste of the best of ST ALi, try their “coffee adventure” which serves six different types of coffee. Think of it as a theft of beer or whiskey, only you will be awake forever.
Located in the eclectic and bohemian-art district of Fitzroy, Black Cat is another true Melbournian cafe. Black Cat has been a staple here since 1985 and opened by three friends and coffee lovers. Black Cat is one of those places where as soon as you enter, you know that the people here know their coffee. The fresh and relaxed atmosphere of the dining room is set with hanging vines, green plants and neon lights. While their outdoor seating area is a perfect stopover and a place to relax. Black cat also turns into a bar at night, so while you can grab a cup of coffee for your mornings or afternoons, come back in the evening and sample local craft beers.