This is our top pick out of all the cafes. Excellent coffee, friendly and knowledgeable staff who actually remembered us on our second visit, a variety of beans and blends to choose from as well as a variety of brewing methods, excellent cafe with a real buzz and energy. From the moment we walked in and sipped our first espresso, we knew this was ‘The One’. Superb!
172 Oxford Street, Collingwood, VIC, 3066, AUS
Mon – Fri: 7:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sat/Sun: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
If every city had a Vegie Bar, I would die happy. Vegetarian fare from a wide variety of international cuisines and plenty of vegan options as well. This place is busy, noisy and cheap with a bohemian vibe in the heart of Fitzroy. Servings are generous. The stir fry had both a wide variety of vegetables as was plentiful. Another bonus is the standard rice is brown. The menu has a lot of variety. In most restaurants, vegetarian and vegan options are usually found in the ‘Sides’. This is all Mains, baby! The business is obviously booming which makes me wonder why there are not more of them around.
380 Brunswick Street, VIC, AUS
Mon-Fri 11am – 10pm, Sat/Sun 9am – 10pm
One of the three Seven Seeds cafes dotted around Melbourne, De Clieu has a nice corner sunny location with a nice indoor/outdoor flow. We had a pour-over and an espresso on a lazy, sunny, autumnal afternoon. Seven Seeds HQ was packed to the gunnels, so we were surprised it was much more relaxed and less hectic. Both coffees were excellent, the pour-over had sugar cane sweet overtones. I really like the later opening hours in Melbourne. In NZ, most cafes are closed by 3 or 4pm
187 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
Monday to Saturday 7am-5pm, Sunday 8am-5 pm
Seven Seeds HQ
Brother Baba Budan
Another cafe serving Coffee Supreme. They also are the first to offer fresh-baked date scones. Is it because of the Kiwi owner? Nice scones and good quality espresso. Warm and cosey atmosphere right in the hub of Carlisle St, Balaclava. There are some nice Kiwi touches and an interesting piece of artwork on the wall made from old road signs.
320 Carlisle St, Melbourne, VIC 3183, AUS
Monday-Thursday 7am-5pm, Friday 7am-10pm, Saturday & Sunday 7am-5pm
This is in our top 4 list of the best. Located in brick industrial area with no signage outside, one could easily walk past without noticing it…which is how we like it. Inside is a cavernous warehouse cleverly partitioned to make it seem intimate. There are bike parks inside too! This is the location of Seven Seeds HQ where the roastery is housed. There are two other cafes, Brother Baba in the CBD and de Clieu in Fitzroy. All are quite distinct in their styling and character, which we liked. We had a pour-over with a Brazilian bean. The coffee was presented in a sake-type ceramic container and came with tasting notes. The flavors of the coffee were really evident in this style of brewing. This place is busy, so be prepared to be on a waiting list if it is the weekend or at peak times during the day.
106 Berkeley Street, Carlton, VIC, 3053, AUS
Monday to Saturday 7am-5pm, Sunday 8am-5pm, Public Holidays 8am-4pm
Brother Baba Budan
This is the central city branch of the 7 Seeds coffee empire. Small and cosy with a very casual and rustic atmosphere. We had a single origin Brazilian espresso. Rich flavor and smooth on the palate with a good balance, not too much acidity and slight sweetness. Perfect! Crumpler bag shop is just next door to pick up a funky but functional cycle courier bag (http://www.crumpler.com/au/)
A cafe and food store located on the ground floor of a old historic 3 story apartment building in the middle of South Yarra’s posh houses. One would never find it by chance. It was busy when we arrived and the owner made sure we got a good seat outside. This is the type of service that holds in our memory and beckons us to go back, which we did on the last morning. Nice coffee and food stop. The interior is full of old interesting knick-knacks and memorabilia.
Lawson Grove Shop
1 Lawson Grove, South Yarra, VIC, 3141, AUS
Sun/Sat 8am-6pm, Mon-Fri 7:30am-6pm
One of the only cafes that served double shot espressos as standard. They had either a blend or single origin bean on offer. Good balance, richness without too much acidity. Easily accessible via the cycle lane that follows the light rail from Station Pier to the city. Follow northwest along Bridge St to get to it.
Corner Heath and Bridge St, Port Melbourne, VIC, 3207, AUS (entrance is on Heath St)
Mon to Fri 7:00 am – 3:00 pm
Sat to Sun 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
In the quieter southern end of Brunswick St, closer to Gertrude, Slowpoke is a small and simple cafe fitted out from what looks like apple boxes, rough-sawn timber cutoffs and recycled materials. Their espresso has a nice smooth texture and flavor, albeit the single shot volume was very low. Another good cafe using Coffee Supreme beans.
157 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, VIC, AUS
Tue-Sat:7:00am – 5:00 pm, Sun: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
A small but cosey cafe located near the Albert Park end of Clarendon St. They have ‘5 Senses’ coffee here. The espresso was brewed perfectly. The barista was engaging and chatty, which is common in this city. The menu is simple and wholesome. They were very accommodating in the food department, adding tomatoes and basil to our smashed avocado on toast. By the way, this is a good litmus test of a good cafe and staff.
387 Clarendon St, South Melbourne, VIC, 3205, AUS
Mon to Fri 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
This cafe gained notoriety for the graffiti on the Nelson St wall. There is just a geometric designed street art there now. The cafe entrance is on Carlisle St, but there is a ‘hole in the wall’ servery on the Nelson St side with bench seating alongside ‘The Wall’. Staff are very efficient and friendly. Coffee is Genovese, which is a strong Italian coffee and can very easily taste burnt if not brewed gently. The home-made muesli bars are particularly yummy as a gap-filler. Balaclava is a suburb with an eclectic mix of cultures with Carlisle Street being the hub. Close to the train station and Chapel St.
Wall Two 80
280 Carlisle Street Balaclava, VIC, 3183, AUS (corner of Nelson St)
Mon-Sat 7:00 – 18:00, Sun 8:30 – 18:00
This is a gem of a place that is a cafe, gallery, artspace, theatre in a warehouse style format for the young creative-types in Melbourne CBD. Great edgy but communal vibe, good food and coffee with free WIFI. They even show movies, double feature, for free periodically during the year.
1000 £ BEND
361 Lt LONSDALE STREET
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
CAFE: Monday – Friday 8am – 11pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am – 11pm
GALLERY: Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm
Located north of the Yarra River, this is a nice local cafe in amongst furniture shops in busy Church St. Nice espresso with good balance and flavor. 5 Senses coffee.
Pillar of Salt
541 Church St, Richmond, Melbourne, VIC, AUS
Monday – Friday: 07:30 – 16:30, Sat/Sun: 08:00 – 17:00
Tucked behind the main Carlisle St shops down an alleyway, hard to find but well worth it. The cafe is small and cosey with dark, warm timber furnishings. It is vegetarian, but not vegan, and has a hippy, flower power feel to it. Espressos are quite a distinctive experience, Columbian bean, intense body with high acidity. They do set menus
Mond Bodi Dharma
202 Carlisle St, Balaclava, VIC 3183, AUS
Monday to Friday 7am – 5pm
Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays 8am – 5pm
Friday night dinner 6.30pm to quiet
For such a good cafe, they should have a decent website…but at the time of writing this is not the case. Although not critical, with so many good cafes in Melbourne, visitors with limited time use this to sort the wheat from the chaff…shall we say.
Bloody nice cafe and excellent coffee. I think they source the best beans from the best roasters in town, which is a very smart thing to do (much like The Final Step). Very busy when we visited but definitely worth a re-visit.
35 Market Street, South Melbourne, VIC, 3205, AUS
Monday-Saturday 7am-4pm; Sunday 8am-4pm
Located in a re-fitted old tyre factory, the atmosphere is airy and spacey. A bit too industrial and impersonal for our taste and it must be freezing here in winter. The bar beside the coffee machines is the best place to sit to chat with the friendly baristas about the beans they use and the various forms of brewing. Another place where the baristas are passionate about coffee and will even recommend other places to try out. Monk Bodi Dharma came highly recommended after a visit to Hobba. There is a coffee menu to select the bean and style of brewing. When we visited they had a Cup of Excellence single origin (#8), which would have been perfect for a filter. The ‘cabinet’ food is good here, simple, wholesome and some veggie friendly. Go early in the weekend if you don’t like being put on a waiting list.
428 Malvern Rd, Prahran, VIC, AUS
Serves cold drip, syphon, pour over…they do the lot and they do it better than most. We had espresso and syphon here sampling the excellent Cup of Excellence beans (#3) on offer (refer to blackboard photo below). You can definitely taste the difference in the quality. Open 365 days a year! St Ali is in our top 4.
12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne, VIC, 3205, AUS
Monday to Saturday 07.30 am to 5.00 pm
Sunday 08.30 am to 4.00 pm
We sampled the house blend. The espresso was rich, full bodied with just a hint of acidity. A nice brew to start the day with. The cafe is rustic in decor, lots of communal seating and is jam packed most days, so go early (or go home if you can’t…seriously).
One of our all time favorites. Everything good is in this place. It is quite a big cafe but they have cleverly designed it with nooks and crannies to give it a more intimate and cosey atmosphere. Good use of warm timbers with recycled street signs, industrial chic. The large communal table with a row of fesh-cut flowers to divide the space is a nice touch. The muffins and food are delicious and the staff friendly. The espressos were excellent (using ‘5 Senses’ beans), rich and flavorsome and full-bodied, which is how we like it first thing in the morning (a blend of beans from Guatemala and Columbia). There is a variety of bean and brewing options available. It is also conveniently located near the Gipps St exit of the Yarra River cycle path. Go early in the weekends to avoid the crowds and waiting lists.
Three Bags Full
Corner of Mollison and Nicholson Street, Abbotsford, VIC, 3067, AUS
Monday-Friday 7am to 5pm, weekends and public holidays 8am to 5pm.
Expectations were high because this was rated the top cafe in the 2012 Coffee Army survey and is consistently rated highly by other notable reviews. The location and atmosphere was spot on. Housed in an old auction room, the fit-out is rustic in a contemporary setting. However, the espresso was nothing startling and the menu over-worked. On the day Auction Rooms did not measure up to our expectations.
107 Errol St, Melbourne, VIC, AUS
This was a lunch stopover only and we never came back to try their coffee. The food was excellent, the cafe was relaxed and had a nice buzz to it. Port Melbourne streets are wide and the area feels quite laid back. This cafe is located on the corner of Bay and Bridge Streets, so is only a short distance from the Station Pier to City tramline and adjacent cycle lane.