Melbourne's roasters and baristas are some of the most accomplished, inventive and technical on earth. It seems with each passing month there’s a new brewing technique, new gadgets or a shift in the idea of what good coffee actually means. What we do, the rest of the world often follows.

These are the cafes defining the future and, at the same time, giving us the basics at their very best. The only thing left for you to do is decide how you like your coffee.

Related pages:
Best Breakfast in Melbourne
Best Coffee in the CBD

Seven Seeds

Cafe

Owners Mark Dundon and Bridget Amor helped usher in Melbourne's “Third Wave” coffee culture, and they’re still at the forefront of it.

114 Berkeley Street, Carlton

Market Lane Coffee Prahran Market

Cafe

The first of six excellent Market Lane cafes.

Shop 13, Prahran Market 163 Commercial Road, South Yarra

Patricia

Cafe

Good coffee with no fanfare.

Corner Little Bourke and Little William Streets, Melbourne

Proud Mary

Cafe

Featuring a custom six-group-head Synesso to limit cross-contamination between different coffees.

172 Oxford Street, Collingwood

Ona Coffee

Cafe

This Canberra-based coffee roaster has made a real name for itself on the east coast. Visit this outpost and you’ll understand why. At any time, there are at least 20 outstanding coffees listed on its “freezer menu”.

22 Ovens Street, Brunswick

Plug Nickel

Cafe

Before Ona opened its own cafe in Melbourne, this was a rare place to try its beans. Still, this tiny space remains one of the city's most innovative coffee spots, whether you drink long blacks, batch brew, càscara, cold brew or need a bottled latte.

7 Peel Street, Collingwood

Traveller

Cafe

A tiny Seven Seeds outpost.

2/14 Crossley Street, Melbourne

Maker Coffee

Cafe

At this “cellar door” for coffee you can taste up to five single-origin brews in a single visit.

47 North Street, Richmond

St Ali

Cafe

The mothership for a host of respected cafes and coffee brands, including Sensory Lab, Clement and Auction Rooms.

12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne

Wide Open Road

Cafe

The flagship roastery for the duo behind Heartattack and Vine and Terror Twilight.

274 Barkly Street, Brunswick

Brother Baba Budan

Cafe

Another Seven Seeds pillar.

359 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Everyday Coffee

Cafe

Once got by using others' roasts; now roasting its own beans at a new warehouse location round the corner.

36-38 Sackville Street, Collingwood

Everyday Midtown

Cafe

Everyday number two has the same panache.

213 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

Monk Bodhi Dharma

Cafe

House-roasted single-origins served double-ristretto as standard.

Rear 202 Carlisle Street, Balaclava

Admiral Cheng-Ho

Cafe

Monk Bodhi Dharma's sister site, packing six daily choices.

325 Johnston Street, Abbotsford

Bayano the Rebel

Cafe

Vegan food and superb coffee from the team at Monk Bodhi Dharma and Admiral Cheng-Ho.

41 Ellis Street, South Yarra

Padre Coffee Brunswick East

Cafe

Coffee sourced from up to 30 different estates all over the coffee-growing world, including less common regions such as Indonesia, roasted in house, then brewed with care. We can see why this one has blossomed to five locations.

438-440 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Assembly Carlton

Cafe

Where coffee and tea get equal respect.

60 Pelham Street, Carlton

Aunty Peg’s

Cafe

Proud Mary's roastery is an experience in itself.

200 Wellington Street, Collingwood

Stagger Lee’s

Cafe

Another buzzing Proud Mary spot.

276 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

Dukes Coffee Roasters

Cafe

Coffee with an environmental conscience.

247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Omar and the Marvellous Coffee Bird

Cafe

There's a reason these beans are stocked at cafes all over the south.

124 Gardenvale Road, Gardenvale

Axil Coffee Roasters

Cafe

A cafe and roastery by a two champion baristas.

322 Burwood Road, Hawthorn

Axil Coffee Roasters CBD Espresso Bar

Cafe

A more rapid-fire version of HQ.

76 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

Mayday

Cafe

Axil's Richmond offshoot.

410 Bridge Road, Richmond

The Premises

Cafe

Small Batch coffee pulled by two industry veterans.

202 Bellair Street, Kensington

Acoffee

Cafe

A blindingly white warehouse where the coffee matches the purity of the fit-out.

30 Sackville Street, Collingwood