Coffee Culture

Favourite Australian Coffee Spots

Recently, I wanted to find the best coffee in Cairns so I headed straight for my old friend Google. I was horrified when it suggested I might want to search “where’s the closest Starbucks”…..what?!? The Cairns and Tablelands region has some amazing plantations, roasteries and coffee shops – why would I need a Starbucks?!

I LOVE coffee and drink a ton of it every day, so finding quality coffee when I’m in a new place is pretty important to me. Cairns is my local haunt and there are some great spots to purchase quality beans in the Tablelands but it got me thinking about the rest of Australia too. So, I reached out to some fellow bloggers and asked for their opinions on places they think best showcase Australia’s coffee scene.

Pssssst – read my home coffee machine review and best coffee plunger review so you can make the most of those delicious beans.

Coffee Works, Mareeba

First, here is one of my favourite coffee experiences I’ve had in Australia – a visit to the coffee works museum and tasting area in Mareeba.

With stores across Far North Queensland, Coffee Works is one of the most popular Coffee roasters in the Cairns area. All of their 43 varieties of delicious coffee are hand-roasted in small batches by a master roaster.

Coffee Works began as the personal dream of a local couple and a single market stall at Rusty’s market in Cairns. From there, it has grown into one of the most popular attractions in the area and is much more than a simple coffee shop and café. Coffee Works, Mareeba houses a coffee memorabilia museum, gift shop, roastery and for a small fee, you can enjoy unlimited tastings of their delicious coffees, teas, chocolates and liquors.

The gift shop is full to the brim with eclectic and interesting household décor items, novelty gifts and edible delights. It is a real treasure trove of interesting and unique items and there is guaranteed to be something for everyone.

The unlimited free tasting area was, unsurprisingly, a particular favourite of mine and I could have spent all day gorging myself on all sorts of delights. There was a great selection of hot and cold brew coffees to try with a variety from their huge selection of hand-roasted coffees. If you are not a huge coffee lover and are simply being dragged along by someone else, there is still plenty to keep you satisfied too. Coffee Works have a great selection of teas on offer and all of their chocolates are handcrafted in their own chocolaterie. Coffee Works chocolate definitely has a distinct Far North Queensland influence and showcase flavours such as macadamia and coconut.

The memorabilia museum is also a great experience and a very interesting way to spend a bit of time walking off all that chocolate. It is a fairly small attraction but it really is crammed full of interesting bits and pieces, collected by Coffee Works, some which date back to the 1700s.

You’ll be provided with a handheld phone system which will talk you through each display and has plenty of interesting facts. There is also a beautiful collection of teapots from all around the world, which is well worth a look.

The cafe itself serves good food in my opinion but the price tag is a little higher than I would usually expect. It is a great little café if you are around the area or visiting the rest of Coffee Works but I’m not sure I would drive a distance out of my way to eat there. That is just my personal opinion though and I have read reviews from others who think the food is fantastic. Personal preference I guess, or maybe I just ate there on an off day.

Patricia Coffee Brewers, Melbourne

Melbourne is renowned to have some of the best coffee in Australia, if not the world.  With a large European migrant population, delightful city laneways and outdoor dining culture, coffee is an essential ingredient in the daily lives of many Melbournians. 

With a huge number of specialty coffee roasters in the city and surrounding suburbs, there is no need to pay for bad coffee in Melbourne, ever.

One of the best representations of Melbourne’s coffee culture is Patricia, located on a typical city laneway on the corner of Little Bourke and Little William Streets. 

With standing room only, classic European décor and a constant queue of people, there is no doubt this is a place that specialises in just one thing – great coffee. 

Service is friendly and efficient. They roast their own range of espresso beans and a small glass of sparkling water is served to clean your palate before enjoying your espresso.  Unlike many coffee chains, drink orders are simple – white, black or filtered. The rest is left to the expert team of baristas behind the bar.

Contributed by Rachel from Creators of Coffee

Cleanskin Coffee, Brendale

When you discover an incredible coffee place and it’s a short 3-minute drive from your home, you realise the stars have aligned. Cleanskin Coffee in Brendale on Brisbane’s Northside is definitely more of a coffee place than a coffee shop.

The best thing about Cleanskin coffee is their consistency, in service and in quality coffee. Predictably great. I want to say it’s an experience but equally that it lacks the pretentious connotations that this would imply. Instead, it is far more function-driven, focusing on purpose over fancy.

Cleanskin is located in an Industrial Hub and they have seating for about 40 people inside, maybe more. The type of people you will find getting their coffee fix include police, local workers, trades and a whole lots of people with laptops. A cool retro arcade game sits in the corner for Pacman style gaming if you like that sort of thing. The baristas have the right amount of happy without being overly chatty and annoying to introverts like myself. 

You can buy bulk coffee and cool coffee accessories and you can also buy cold-pressed coffee and those happy earth cartons of water. Their menu features a few different bean options with different flavours but I don’t stray from their usual Cleanskin beans.

I have my coffee strong, sans sugar, so if you are a talentless barista, even the best coffee beans won’t save you from ruining my coffee. Without wanting to jinx future experiences, I have never had a bad coffee here. Double shot, small-cap. Consistently good, every single time. I would tell you about one outstanding experience, except that every single experience has been exactly the same. Consistently on point.

Contributed by Ngaire from Brisbane Kids

Humm Coffee Roasters, North Sydney

Jin Lyu, the joint owner of North Sydney’s newest café Humm Coffee Roasters, is committed to providing the best customer service possible. The café’s slogan is ‘controlled coffee,’ with a focus on ensuring every single shot of coffee is exactly the same, providing consistency and a regular experience to Humm’s customers. This careful measurement is achieved using the innovative MODBAR espresso system, an innovative below-the-counter system which allows for transparency and human connection between the barista and customers.

As well as using MODBAR to achieve ‘controlled coffee,’ Humm roasts their single-origin beans every week at Collective Roasting Solutions in Alexandria so that the coffee is always as fresh as possible.

Whilst the obvious draw is the carefully curated coffee, the Asian-inspired food menu certainly holds its own. Make sure you try the fermented crumpets supplied by Crumpets by Merna and served with pineapple salsa, brulée banana, cream cheese frosting and salted-caramel syrup.

Jin and his business partner James Christopher have succeeded in making their coffee accessible, happily sharing knowledge with their customers and have established Humm as a creative local business in an area which has a reputation for being rather sterile. With plans to expand their current premises to include an on-site roasting workshop, I’m excited to see what’s in store for this quirky café.

Contributed by Jessica. Check out her Top 5 Italian Restaurants in Sydney

Yahava Koffee Works, Swan Valley Perth

Hidden amongst all the vineyards and wineries in Perth’s Swan Valley lies a little gem for coffee lovers.

Yahava Koffee Works has a selection of the finest arabicas from around the world in their coffee pantry. This incredible place offers free coffee tastings from 9 am until 4:30 pm every day. No bookings are required.

You can select three different coffees to taste from their selection of twelve. The coffee is air pressed in front of you and you are presented with a sediment-free coffee to sample. They provide a selection of milk for you to choose from and you can also add a variety of syrups.

The coffee tasting is an enjoyable experience that takes about an hour. I am incredibly impressed that such a great experience is free, although you are likely to purchase some of their coffee once you have tasted it.

There is so much to offer at Yahava. You can see them roast their coffee on-site which they do three or four times a day. You can sample a variety of chocolate-coated coffee beans. They have a diverse range of teas and offer tea tasting. There is a café with an outdoor area overlooking a lake, a quirky little shop with interesting coffee related gifts, and Barista courses for those interested in learning more about coffee.

If you are a coffee lover in the area you can’t go past Yahava for a great experience!

Contributed by Rochelle from Love Family Life Travel

Aunty Peg’s, Collingwood

Before coming to Australia, we had no idea that coffee was such a big deal here. From requiring years of experience to call yourself a barista to the price of grabbing a takeaway coffee from the local cafe, we had to adjust quickly to the Australian coffee scene. 

Arguably, this coffee obsession culminates in Melbourne. In fact, one year it was declared to have the best coffee in the world, beating places like Italy and Columbia. We spent just short of five months living in Melbourne, so we had plenty of time to explore it’s famous coffee scene – although perhaps not always the budget!

One of the more memorable caffeinated experiences from our time there was at Aunty Peg’s in Collingwood. We were killing time before we could pick the keys up to our studio apartment, and stumbled across it completely by accident. Considered to be the ‘cellar door’ for its nearby sister cafe, Proud Mary, Aunty Peg serves a select menu from its coffee showcase. When we visited, there were three coffee beans on offer from three different countries. Each had a story behind it, which our own passionate barista talked us through. They only served the coffee black, in espresso form, which we didn’t expect at all and isn’t what we would usually order. 

For us, the barista made all the difference. It was a totally unique experience, and one we obviously remember well. Seeing a team so engaged and enthusiastic about their produce was refreshing, and for complete coffee novices like us, it was great to not actually feel like we were being talked down to. Although not for you if you are on a tight budget – it cost about $8 per espresso!

Contributed by Kez from So Today We Found

Sophie is a barista and coffee enthusiast who has owned and ran a coffee truck in her remote community since 2017. She wants to cut the jargon and make brewing coffee enjoyable for everyone.