If coffee is your drug of choice, Melbourne will have you wired in no time. There are so many great cafes spread throughout the city you're spoilt for choice, and while Sydney's coffee playground tends to be dominated by a handful of major players, there's an enviable proliferation of small but successful roasters down south.
This isn't a definitive list of Melbourne's best cafes, but it's a head start on where you can get your next caffeine fix, whether you prefer a shot or a pour over.
Patricia Coffee Brewers
The hidden entrance to Patricia Coffee Brewers
Finding Patricia Coffee Brewers is half the challenge, but keep an eye out for young hipsters sipping coffee while sitting on milk crates and you're almost there. The entrance is a sharp right off Little William Street, the doorway facing a row of commercial rubbish bins.
Coffee counter at Patricia Coffee Brewers, with a brogue shoe of course
Short black coffee $3.70
The coffee menu is deliberately short and sweet. There are only three options: black, white or filter, using beans sourced from Seven Seeds, Market Lane and Proud Mary. A complimentary glass of sparkling water is a lovely touch.
Market Lane Coffee
Market Lane Coffee is one of the bigger cafes in Melbourne, with four outlets dotted around the city. The Carlton branch is tiny, with most people placing orders directly through the window. If you do venture inside, there's a narrow corridor just outside the shop to stand-up and have your coffee.
Illimani Espresso coffee beans
Market Lane source their own beans direct from the farm, and have a particular focus on beans from east African and Latin America. These are lightly roasted, making them ideal for filter coffees and pour overs. They also do darker roasts that suit espresso machines and stove top coffee makers.
Making a pour over
Their distinctive uniform of long grey aprons over blue shirts are so hip it hurts, but the staff always seem genuinely excited about each cup of coffee they make.
Juan Ticona pour over
They take their pour overs seriously, using scales and times to get the perfect brew. Printed tasting notes earn bonus points too.
Outdoor seating at Hardware Societe
At Hardware Societe, they use the Daddy's Girl blend by Padre coffee. The milk comes from St David Dairy in Fitzroy, a small batch micro-dairy using milk from Victorian farms.
Fried brioche $18
Creme Catalan curd, fresh berries and sweet migas
There's as much of an emphasis on the food as the coffee here. The cafe gets ridiculously busy, especially on weekends. The menu has some lighter options, like bircher muesli ($13) and a Continental breakfast of granola with yoghurt, fruit and a croissant ($16) but much of it is unapologetically rich, like the fried brioche ($18) that comes with a rich and eggy Catalan curd. At lunch the weekday menu clicks over to hearty renditions of twice cooked pork belly ($21) and confit duck ($21).
Double shot flat white $4
Clover coffee maker
Catalan custard inside the fried brioche
You have to get off the main drag of Smith Street to find Proud Mary, nestled in the side streets of Collingwood.
Six-group customised Synesso Hydra espresso machine
Taking pride of place behind the counter is their custom-made beast of an espresso machine, two three-group Synessos that have been melded together to create one helluva coffee engine. The gleaming chrome finish is flawless. It's the only six-group Synesso in the world.
The macchiato comes in a double-walled espresso glass with measurements on the side. They do every kind of filter coffee here too, including pour overs, syphon, Aeropress and cold drip.
V60 pour over vessels
There are tables littered throughout the cafe, but if you pull up a stool at the counter, you get to enjoy a free pour over show as you sip your coffee.
Stirring the wet coffee grounds
Adding the final stage of water
If you want a little Proud Mary to take home, they have an impressive selection of beans too, sorted into blends, espresso or filter. Many of them will have have been freshly roasted in the last couple of days.
Dukes Coffee Roasters
You could easily walk past Dukes Coffee Roasters on Flinders Lane, based at the bottom of Ross House.
La Marzocco espresso machine
The narrow cafe has limited seating but there's still a sense of space in here. Reclaimed timber runs the length of the coffee counter with recycled tiles used on the floor. A La Marzocco espresso machine sits bright and shiny on the counter.
Dukes roast their own coffee, buying from individual farms or small cooperatives. Their roastery is based in Collingwood, with beans available in either espresso or filter roasts.
Coffee bar counter
The League of Honest Coffee
I'd like to imagine The League of Honest Coffee is really the cover for a group of caffeine-fuelled superheroes but given the number of customers that flock here each morning, maybe that's not too far from the truth anyway.
Filter coffee beans by Padre Coffee
The League of Honest Coffee is one of four cafes run by Padre Coffee, a roastery that originally started as the Brunswick East Project. They still roast all their coffee beans in Brunswick with a lighter roast available for filter coffees.
Clover coffee machine
They're been quietly collecting Clover machines too, an automated digitally programmable drip coffee machine that brews coffee one cup at a time. It means that variables can be adjusted with scientific precision and leads to consistency once the ideal parameters have been set.
Extracting coffee from the Clover
There are only 11 Clovers in Australia and Padre now has seven of them. Supply has diminished ever since Starbucks bought the company in 2008 with exclusive rights to all subsequent production and programming software.
Ethiopian Clover coffee served in an American-style diner mug
On the other side of the Yarra is St Ali, hidden in a massive warehouse among the back streets of South Melbourne. Started up in 2005 by Mark Dundon in 2005, the business was sold to Salvatore Malatesta in 2008. A second cafe, St Ali North, opened in North Carlton in 2012.
Entrance to St Ali in South Melbourne
Seating inside St Ali
The cafe is huge, with a series of nooks and crannies holding an eclectic mix of chairs and tables.
Coffee shot $6
The dine-in coffee menu branches out into an extended remix of caffeine hits. It includes tracks like the St Ali tasting plate of brews ($18), Espresso 3 ways ($11) and the iced coffee shot ($6.50) which adds ice to a double strength shot of coffee.
The coffee shot is worth a look too, a filter brew that has the body and flavour of a pour over but ingeniously brewed on an espresso machine.
The Elvis Jelly-Jam $16
Dr Marty's crumpet stack with whipped peanut butter, jelly and chocolate
There's a whimsical sense of humour in the food menu as well. Confit duck salad becomes A Box of Quackers ($19), slow roasted Middle Eastern spiced lamb shoulder is rebadged as My Mutton-in-Law ($19) and Fat Tuesday marries Pepe Saya buttermilk pancakes with lemon curd creme fraiche.
But how could you go past the Elvis Jelly-Jam? It's a pair of handmade Dr Marty crumpets garnished with dollops of raspberry jelly, chocolate sauce drizzles and puddles of whipped peanut butter. Coffee and crumpets never tasted so good.
Dukes Coffee Roasters
247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Open Monday to Friday 7am - 4.30pm and Saturday 9am - 5pm
Also open at Windsor, Docklands and Collingwood
120 Hardware Street, Melboure
Tel: +61 (03) 9078 5992
Open Monday to Friday 7.30am - 4pm, Saturday and Sunday 8am - 2.30pm
Market Lane Coffee
176 Faraday Street, Carlton, Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9804 7434
Open Monday to Saturday 7am - 4pm and Sunday 8am - 4pm
Also open at Prahran Market, Queen Vic Market and Therry Street
Patricia Coffee Brewers
495-495 Little Bourke Street (corner Little Bourke and Little William Street), Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9642 2237
Open Monday to Friday 7am - 4pm
172 Oxford Street, Collingwood, Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9417 5930
Open Monday to Friday 7am - 4pm and Saturday to Sunday 8am - 4pm
12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9686 2990
Open daily 7am - 6pm
Also open at Carlton North
The League of Honest Coffee by Padre Coffee
8 Exploration Lane, Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9654 0169
Open Monday to Friday 7am - 5pm and Saturday 8am - 3pm
Also open at Brunswick East, South Melbourne Market and Queen Victoria Market
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8/17/2014 01:23:00 a.m.