The Best Coffee in Melbourne

Updated 1 month ago


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, gadget or shift in the idea of what good coffee actually means. What we do, the rest of the world often follows.

That’s partly thanks to Market Lane and Seven Seeds, the vanguards of Melbourne’s third coffee wave. Without them, we might not have have the ever-reliable Patricia, and Everyday Coffee. Meanwhile, boutique roasters like Bench Coffee Co and Disciple continue to show how a simple brew can shape a city’s culture. These are the caffeine haunts forging the future, while pouring the basics at their very best. The only thing you need to do? Decide how you want your brew.

  • Owners Mark Dundon and Bridget Amor helped usher in Melbourne's “Third Wave” coffee culture, and they’re still at the forefront. Their energetic warehouse cafe near Melbourne’s university district is rightfully a destination for local and interstate coffee fiends, and it’s where to go for an exactingly brewed cup of Golden Gate espresso blend, or a rotating single origin made with the method of your choice. Look for the navy-blue facade.

  • Believe it or not, finding traceable, high-quality coffee beans in Australia was once a tall order. Fleur Studd and Jason Scheltus helped change that in 2009 with Market Lane, which is now a benchmark for quality, transparency and education in the industry. These days, its HQ and 45-kilogram Probat roaster live in Brunswick East. But the original site – a huge cafe at Prahran Market – is where it all began. Also in Brunswick, Carlton, the CBD and South Melbourne

  • This standing-room-only joint may feel like a throwback to an old-school European espresso bar, but when it comes to flavour, Patricia is as modern as it gets. Owners Bowen Holden and Pip Heath showcase a who’s who of local guest roasters, alongside their own house blends and single origins. Pair your brew with baked goods from All Are Welcome, Candied Bakery and more.

  • Proud Mary represents Melbourne coffee in a way few roasters do. Its bright flagship cafe off Smith Street was a trailblazer when it opened in 2009, offering then-novel extraction methods (V60, Aeropress, cold drip) for its blends and single origins – all roasted a block away at Aunty Peg’s. Whether you’re feeling intrepid or sticking to the usual, there’s a brew here for you.

  • Proud Mary’s roastery is an experience in itself. Not only is it a behind-the-scenes look at one of the city’s top roasteries, it also acts as a training space and retail shop, with everything you need to elevate your at-home coffee game. Black-coffee drinkers will be in heaven at the brew bar – sit here and try champion roasts, rare Geisha coffees and more in an intimate, one-to-one barista experience.

  • Ona’s founder, Saša Šestić, won the 2015 World Barista Championship with a blend called Raspberry Candy, and it’s the primary attraction at Ona’s capacious Melbourne outpost. Hardcore coffee drinkers can also splash out for premium-reserve coffees on its “freezer” menu, which have been roasted, aged, then vacuum-sealed into individual doses and frozen.

  • A white, bright successor to the famed Melbourne coffee roaster’s old flagship site down the street. Single origins and groundbreaking brunches still reign supreme – both are served confidently within this skylit warehouse splashed with greenery.

  • St Ali is the mothership for a host of top cafes and coffee brands, including Auction Rooms and Sensory Lab. It was also one of the first on-ground in Melbourne’s specialty coffee boom, and it’s been perfecting its wares ever since. A grungy converted warehouse is the stage for its cheffy brunches, laid-back service and exceptional brews.

  • 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.

  • A coffee “cellar door” from the founder of Monk Bodhi Dharma. Here, brews might range from $5 to $200-plus, and they’re all served black to let the beans shine.

  • Post up on a bench seat for kaya (coconut jam) squiggled on toast, espresso banana bread and espressos brewed on one of three machines – not from Italy, but from Silicon Valley.

  • This poky Seven Seeds outpost punches well above its weight. The tiny space has curved wood and vinyl laminate bench tops, and is a welcoming stop for workers on the move. Stop by for Seven Seeds coffee alongside sandwiches, cakes and pastries.

  • Stephanie and John Vroom, both industry veterans, don’t believe in blends. With their roastery Maker Coffee, they prove single-origin brews can be just as versatile as those mixing multiple estates, serving up to five at any one time at their sleek cafes. Also in South Yarra, Prahran and the CBD.

  • Even though it opened more than a decade ago, this cafe and roastery remains one of the best (and busiest) in Brunswick. The interiors are spacious, with comfortable chairs and cosy booths. And the food is adventurous, but it won't veer too far away from anyone’s comfort zones. The coffee is, predictably, excellent.

  • Another Seven Seeds pillar, pumping out espresso and batch brew for hurried office workers in the CBD. It’s named after the 17th-century Sufi merchant who, according to legend, smuggled seven seeds of coffee out of Yemen to India.

  • Once, this popular spot got by using others’ roasts; now it roasts its own ethically sourced beans at the back of a vast red-brick warehouse cafe. Everyday distinguishes itself by trading, as the name suggests, every day of the year. If you need a flat white on Christmas Day, this place has you covered. Also in the CBD.

  • Padre sources its coffees from estates all over the world (including lesser known growing regions in places like Indonesia and India) and roasts them at this huge facility in Brunswick East. When in doubt, just ask one of the well-trained staff – they’ll walk you through the whole process from field to cup. You’ll get the same knowhow at each of Padre’s four locations across the city.

  • Another buzzing Proud Mary spot.

  • If you’re in need of excellent coffee in the CBD, Dukes is a heavy hitter. It’s by the Melbourne roaster of the same name, which specialises in organic coffees sourced from small international farms and cooperatives. Dukes’ espresso blend is one you’ll see around, but this warm spot at Ross House on Flinders Lane is the best place to try the latest single-origin roasts, brewed with care.

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

  • Since opening in 2010, this cafe and roastery by two champion baristas has grown into a small empire across Melbourne. Alongside lattes and cappuccinos there’s batch brew, cold drip and other specialties. This flagship roasting facility and cafe provides beans for the rest of company’s cafes and slick smaller espresso bars. Also in Richmond, Chadstone, Kew and across the CBD.

  • Set within a blindingly white converted garage, Acoffee roasts its beans more lightly than is typical, accentuating the brightness and subtlety of each coffee. The coffee matches the purity of the fit-out, and every detail is clean and bright, from the island espresso bench to the almost reflective white coffee packaging.

  • At Bench Coffee’s CBD flagship, stop in for an espresso at the sleek standing bar or grab a latte and rich, bite-sized dacquoise (in flavours such as matcha, black sesame and vanilla-sea salt) to go. It’s by the same team as nearby katsu sando bar Saint Dreux. Also in Brunswick and across the CBD.

  • What started as a student venture in 2013 has become a mainstay that delivers consistently good coffee in the Melbourne School of Design. Order a cup of its house blend coffee or take a bag of beans to-go. Also in the CBD and Fitzroy North.

  • A red-brick coffee roastery with a pint-sized espresso bar. Get your beans brewed or bagged, right where they’re roasted, by a team that’s all about sustainability and transparency. Plus, there are pistachio-and-raspberry blondies and flaky, cheesy croissants.

  • What started as a home-grown coffee project in Aaron Wood’s backyard is now a dedicated roastery, coffee shop and wholesaler. Come for a single-origin espresso or filter, and grab some beans, merch and brewing gear to take home.

  • Inside a cosy converted garage, this one-man roasting operation punches above its weight, with two espresso blends, rotating single-origins and a welcoming community vibe. Sit in at one of two benches with a vinyl soundtrack or grab your 'spro to go.

  • Long-time coffee veterans bringing great coffee to the West in Kensington.

  • A tiny daytime coffee nook, using beans from one of Australia's best roasters.

  • A cafe by day and izakaya by night. Mornings are for bowls of salmon- or Wagyu-topped rice with an umami-rich broth. And in the evenings, sake cocktails and snacky bites like mirin-dressed oysters come out.