From a venue that matches coffee and sneakers, to a shipping container reliving beloved school-tuckshop days, these are the Brisbane cafes everyone is talking about.
Does a slow brew make for better coffee? Eva Shao thinks so. At her specialty cafe in East Brisbane, Shao guides her customers through the intricacies of making quality coffee – particularly the filtered variety. Filter drinkers can choose between Kochere (Ethiopia) and Santa Isabel (Guatemala) beans, which are both roasted in-house. Espresso lovers aren’t ignored: a La Marzocco espresso machine pumps through Asobombo single-origin beans from Colombia. The light menu features croissants from Danny’s Bread and baked goods from Torta Bella. The cafe’s interior is Scandi-style with a retro twist.
2A 89 Lytton Road, East Brisbane
Brothers Taskeen and Tasfeen Hassan decided to take advantage of their time working at Contra, the CBD menswear store, and opened Café Contra in the site of the old Gramercy in the Wintergarden. The cafe has a minimalist design and follows a similar ethos to the menswear store: do a few things really well rather than many things satisfactorily. The brothers are pouring Clandestino coffee and tea, the Noosa-based roastery notoriously picky about who it works with. To suit Brisbane’s climate, Contra is also serving ca phe da (Vietnamese iced-coffee with condensed milk); cold-brew coffee; iced matcha lattes; and HRVST cold-pressed juices. There’s no food just yet, though candles, incense and ceramics are on hand for impulse buys.
200 Edward Street, Brisbane CBD
0477 625 639
We all have fond memories of the school tuckshop. Imagine you can experience it all over again, this time as an adult. That’s the idea behind Milk Box Coffee and Tuckshop, which serves Gabriel espresso and comfort food for grown-ups from a small shipping container on Alfred Street. Owner Daniel Quinn serves a range of house-made goods (sandwiches, salads and treats) which change daily. The smart design can be credited to Quinn’s partner, Sarah Vize, who jazzed up the black container with timber elements, flashes of white and a smattering of greenery.
170 Alfred Street, Fortitude Valley
0422 781 370
Mylk + Ko
Born in Chile to a Belgian father and a half-Indian mother, Ines Scholtes gave up a career in law to pursue her passion for food. In February she opened a cafe in New Farm, shifting into Vespa Pizza’s old premises. Charcoal, wood and white features decorate the space, with a few touches of green breaking up the monochromatic tones. The menu features an elaborate selection of acai bowls including the Lamington and the Golden Gaytime. There are also sweet and savoury dishes such as red-velvet waffles and open-faced toasties. Allpress coffee, Mayde Teas and a number of house-made drinks are also on offer.
1/148 Merthyr Road, New Farm
0412 214 647
Street Lab Specialty Coffee
Coffee and sneakers. It’s an unlikely combination but one that’s so far proven a winner for the trio behind Emporium’s Street Lab Specialty Coffee. The rotating menu of beans – roasted off-site by Street Lab and sourced from Brazil, Ethiopia, Costa Rica and other coffee hotspots – is matched to a simple selection of pastries from Crust & Co. But great coffee is just the beginning. It’s the high-tops and sneakers gracing the walls (one collection is worth $15,000), all of which are for sale, that people drop in every day just to check out. Light and airy, it’s the kind of space that invites both quiet solo coffee breakfasts and cheery morning-after debriefs.