There are more than two dozen specialty-coffee roasters in Melbourne. While crowning “the best” of such a large, skilful bunch is a fruitless task, we can help you find a roaster that suits your taste, style and budget.
Most of the names on this list offer subscriptions, which means that after you’ve ordered coffee from a few different roasters and found your perfect match, you can arrange for regular, set-and-forget deliveries to your home or workplace.
Patricia Coffee Brewers
This tiny CBD cafe is a favourite of many office workers. It roasts its own beans at Bureaux Collective, a communal roaster in Abbotsford favoured by several other leading coffee shops. (Bureaux also delivers its own beans to the public.) Until recently, you could only buy Patricia’s beans in person, but the business has opened an online store with subscriptions sent weekly, fortnightly, three-weekly, monthly or bimonthly (you can also buy a la carte if you prefer). Shipping is just $5 Australia-wide. In the name of consistency, Patricia tends to offer just two espresso blends and/or two single-origin filter roasts at a time.
Since opening Everyday Coffee on Johnston Street, Collingwood in 2012, the company has become a Melbourne institution, with a second location in the CBD. In addition to seasonal filter roasts, the online store sells two espresso blends. All Day is the balanced blend served as standard at Everyday’s cafes, while Mucho Gusto is a bolder, darker roast that pays homage to Italian coffee. Everyday Express, the company’s subscription service, is notably flexible. You can choose to pay upfront or ongoing, opt for whole or ground beans, and specify what quantity of coffee you’d like to receive each month.
Originally opened as a small space focusing solely on tea and filter coffee, Assembly in Carlton has since expanded to incorporate a neat espresso bar and an offsite roastery. If you’re looking to score brewing equipment alongside the beans, there are some good options here. And if you’re a tea enthusiast, look no further: Assembly imports outstanding teas from around the world, which are compelling enough to make coffee-lovers think about brewing something different next time.
This small, relatively new roastery belongs to Angus Gibbs. He’s a veteran of the industry, having spent time at well-respected coffee businesses, including Seven Seeds, Workshop and St Ali. It shows with his skilful approach to roasting, brewing and packaging. With Blume you get thoughtful, personal touches: hand-painted bags, handwritten labels, and quite a lot of love. Subscriptions are available and go out on the first Tuesday of each month.
Market Lane Coffee
From a single cafe at Prahran Market established in 2009, Market Lane has bloomed to seven locations, plus a dedicated roastery in Brunswick East. In Melbourne it helped trailblaze the now-ubiquitous lighter style of coffee roasting, which better accentuates the character of each batch of beans. Sister company Melbourne Coffee Merchants is one of the finest green-bean importers in Australia and supplies quite a few of the other roasters on this list, with a focus on crops from Rwanda, Guatemala, Brazil and Colombia. Market Lane is where to go to when you want beautifully packaged, well-sourced, carefully roasted coffee that speaks of its origins. Subscriptions are $20 a fortnight, including shipping.
Small Batch Roasting Co.
Small Batch, another pioneer of lighter roasting, was originally the in-house operation at popular North Melbourne cafe Auction Rooms. Owner Andrew Kelly eventually sold the cafe to St Ali so as to give roasting his full attention. Small Batch’s raw materials are meticulously sourced through sister company Shared Source, which does extensive work on the ground in places such as Colombia, Kenya and Guatemala, working with small farms to improve their agricultural practices and processing methods. If ethics are particularly important to you, you’re in safe hands here. Weekly and fortnightly subscriptions are available but work a little differently: you must pre-pay for a set quantity (the more you buy, the more heavily it’s discounted – up to 20 per cent off).
This spot is ground zero for specialty coffee in Melbourne. Co-owner Mark Dundon created and sold the seminal Ray’s Cafe in Brunswick and St Ali in South Melbourne before founding “Seeds” with Bridget Amor in 2007. Nowadays they roast at a large facility in Fairfield, cooking beans for a small family of cafes including Brother Baba Budan and Traveller in the CBD. Dundon and Amor have been in the game for quite some time, and it shows. Alongside a solid bean roster (try the signature Golden Gate espresso blend), Seven Seeds also sells four-litre goon bags of ready-to-drink cold filter coffee, canned coffee and chai syrups, as well as bean-to-bar chocolate (through sister company Birdsnake).
Wood & Co
Brunswick-based Wood & Co is by Aaron Wood, who previously worked as a roaster at Seven Seeds and Atomic Coffee Roasters. His coffee is accessible, creatively packaged and incredibly well roasted. He also sells a range of great merch, including mugs, caps and T-shirts. Shipping is free on orders over $50.
After years working as a barista at Brother Baba Budan and Top Paddock, Elika Rowell co-founded Cremorne-based Square One with Nathan Toleman’s Mulberry Group. In addition to supplying coffee to Liminal and other Mulberry venues, it also sells to the public. Working with ethical importers such as Melbourne Coffee Merchants, Square One roasts a small but select range of coffees, each one packaged in an elegant canister. Each vessel is like a mini art piece for your kitchen bench.
Launched in 2010, Streat is a hospitality-focused social enterprise, with extensive training programs for disadvantaged young people. While its ethically sourced and well-roasted coffee is the reason Streat is on this list, it also delivers vegetables, baked goods and ready-to-cook meals. And the best bit? Profits go right back into Streat’s training programs, so your contribution can achieve all sorts of good beyond that first morning brew.
Co-founded in 2017 by Market Lane alumnus Byoung-Woo Kang, Collingwood’s Acoffee is a delightfully minimal space. Similar to Market Lane, its roasting style leans toward the lighter side and highlights the qualities of each batch of green beans. Monthly subscriptions start from $25.
Cartel Coffee Roasters
This Geelong-based institution opened an outpost in the Melbourne CBD at the end of 2019. Cartel Coffee prides itself on sourcing unique microlots from around the world, and has also branched out into delivering an impressive selection of teas, natural wine, whiskies and a handful of beers. Subscriptions are shipped weekly or monthly. Choose from blended coffee, single origin or more expensive “exotics”.
Axil Coffee Roasters
Since opening their flagship roastery in Hawthorn nearly a decade ago, Zoe Delaney and Dave Makin have gone from strength to strength, and now have a whopping 15 cafes under the Axil banner. There’s something for every palate at Axil, from creamy, all-purpose espresso blends to lightly roasted, zesty filter coffees. Fortnightly and monthly subscriptions are available from $14 a month.
With Melbourne’s coffee scene as strong as it is, we could easily have written a paragraph about every specialty roaster in the city. But for brevity’s sake, we decided not to. In no particular order, here’s a bunch of other outfits worth buying beans from. All are excellent and match the standard of those detailed above.
Monk Bodhi Dharma
Maker Fine Coffee
Proud Mary Coffee
Wide Open Road
Dukes Coffee Roasters
Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird
This story was updated on June 4, 2021.