Anyone who knows me knows I have a dangerously unhealthy relationship with coffee. Something living in Melbourne for three years did nothing to resolve. But in those three years I made it my mission to sniff out the city’s best places for a good coffee and I’m happy to share. This is what I found:
Time travelling back four months to when I lived in Prahran, this tiny hole in the wall cafe tucked off Chapel Street was my favourite coffee dealer. It’s matchbox-sized, so you often have to do a little Foxtrot between fellow addicts while you wait, but the resulting coffee is worth the dance. This grungy cafe, that is more Windsor than it is Prahran, also serves breakfast and bagels. But strangely, like a country town, it’s only open until 1pm on Saturday and not at all on Sunday.
Piccolo | 149 High Street, Prahran, Victoria
2. Dukes Coffee Roasters and Journeyman
Because a coffee addiction doesn’t disappear come Saturday 1pm, for the weekend coffee fix, I would make a right on Chapel Street, heading a few doors down from Piccolo to avocado-eating venue Journeyman – which also happens to be the birthplace of Dukes Coffee Roasters. A cracking all-rounder, you can walk away from Journeyman with a quality cup of caffeine, a ham and cheese croissant, and a bag of Dukes-branded coffee beans for the aspiring home barista or just if you wanted to bathe in the stuff. Dukes Coffee Roasters also services the city’s coffee addicts, with a similar Flinders Lane coffee bar.
Journeyman | 169 Chapel Street, Windsor, Victoria
Dukes Coffee Roasters | 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Victoria
3. St Ali
Tucked down a South Melbourne laneway is St Ali – a name well-known in coffee circles. Coffee connoisseurs flock from all over the land to visit this ginormous warehouse space that’s part cafe-part coffee roaster, and as vibey as it is a throne to the bean. Every day offers something different, whether it be a unique cold drip filter, syphon or coffee of the day. You can also take home as much brewed or bean coffee as you can carry.
St Ali | 12 Yarra Place, South Melbourne, Victoria
4. Market Lane Coffee
Market Lane Coffee has infiltrated many pockets of Melbourne, with locations in Prahran Market, Queen Victoria Market, Carlton and the city. Like the Pied Piper of Melbourne, each outpost attracts regular hoards of the coffee-craving. The only downside to Market Lane Coffee is that they’re coffee purists, which means no soy or skim milk. This is great for those allergic to dairy (myself included). But what’s an occasional skin rash when you can have some of Melbourne’s best velvet-tasting coffee?
Market Lane Coffee | various Melbourne locations
5. Monk Bodhi Dharma
Monk Bodhi Dharma proves that when it comes to great coffee looks don’t matter. In Melbourne’s gritty south-east suburb of Balaclava, hidden behind a brick facade and the Carlisle Street Woolworths, lies a member of Melbourne’s coffee elite. Roasting its own beans on-site, this boutique roastery is a lesson in the art of coffee-making, all while you can practice the art of coffee-drinking.
Monk Bodhi Dharma | Rear 202 Carlisle Street, Balaclava, Victoria
6. Seven Seeds
If you haven’t yet visited the home of one of the country’s best micro-roasters, espresso yourself to Carlton right away. While Seven Seeds can be found in a handful of cafes around Victoria (and beyond), seeing the roasting process in action at this coffee temple is an education and a must do for any self-proclaimed coffee lover. If you need more arm-twisting, Seven Seeds also has a mean brunch menu.
Seven Seeds | 114 Berkeley Street, Carlton, Victoria
7. Cup of Truth
Anyone who regularly frequents Flinders Street Station knows all about Cup of Truth, because the ridiculously good smell of coffee can be found Monday to Friday wafting up from the bowels of Campbell Arcade (the salmon-coloured, Art Deco-inspired commuter tunnel that runs between the train station and Degraves Street). After walking through Campbell Arcade you will find the luscious smell of freshly brewed coffee clinging to your clothes like a lover’s scent, even if you haven’t been coaxed into buying a cup.
Cup of Truth | 12 Campbell Arcade, Degraves Street Subway, Melbourne, Victoria
Overall, Melbourne does a shit-hot cup of coffee, regardless of where you go.
Obviously this list is not exhaustive and, yes, I’m well aware that it has an over representation of coffee thrones south of the Yarra. To clarify, before I get beaten, I’m not saying that anything brewed north of Melbourne Central is rubbish, I am just allergic to Punt Road.
Please feel free to share any Melbourne coffee finds not sketched out above in the comments section below.