Melbourne: Coffee Capital of the World

By Thursday, January 8, 2015 2 No tags Permalink

Okay, okay, so I don’t know if that’s a legitimate title Melbourne holds, but they ought to! If there is one thing that sets this amazing place apart from the rest of the world (in addition to, you know, being the most livable city), it is definitely the coffee as I’m sure I mentioned an obnoxious amount of times in my first few posts. Before we arrived, I scoped out all the Starbucks locations in the city, and how *hopefully* we could live near one when we finally got our apartment. After we got here and walked around the city, I saw a Starbucks and, I’ll admit, got way too excited… until I noticed no one in it. Typically, in the U.S., at any given time, Starbucks is packed out with people — either waiting in line, waiting for their drink or lounging on the couches/outside. But here, the Starbucks stores are pretty much deserted. After trying my first Melbourne coffee, well, it all made sense! The amount of work and care that goes into any cup of coffee at any cafe around this city is remarkable. If someone rushes in giving you your coffee, you can already anticipate it’ll be bad (as I have experienced already). It’s considered an art form here… from the way the beans are ground up, to how the milk is steamed, and the beautiful patterns they leave as they scatter the froth on top. There are different kinds of coffee: flat white, latte, long black… the list goes on and on! But the time spent waiting for the coffee is so worth the deliciousness you get to enjoy/savor for a well spent $3 – $5.

I read an article a few months back by Vice’s food column, Munchies, that had me simultaneously giggling and nodding my head, because it totally made sense. In the U.S., we are used to drip coffee – buy the ground coffee at the supermarket, pop them in the coffee maker and 5-10 minutes later, you have your coffee. Or, as Will and I liked to do it: pop the K-cup in the Keurig and 1 minute later, you’re ready to go. Don’t get me wrong, I loved our Keurig – it was so fast and convenient and the flavors we used to buy were delicious. Also, obviously, I was addicted to Starbucks. I loved my iced soy caramel macchiatos and caramel frappacinos… and the holiday drinks! Ohh, the holiday drinks… crème brûlée, peppermint. Yum. But thinking back on it, it was pure and complete sugar. I probably was so wired up from a sugar overdose, as opposed to the actual coffee! I can tell you that in the six months we’ve been here, I haven’t had Starbucks – and we actually live right around the corner from one. Two days ago, Starbucks announced they’d be adding the flat white to their menu in the U.S., which had mixed reactions: confused Americans and irritated Aussies. I’m mainly just amused, and am kind of curious to try one, but I know better now! I don’t think I could ever go back to drip coffee/Starbucks, honestly. #snob

But enough of my wannabe-Melbournian-coffee-connoisseur-snootiness, I actually wanted to explain the different kinds of coffee that I’ve learned about since moving to Melbourne, as well as list some cafes (I’ll be keeping a running list here as I try some more!) I’ve been frequenting. Also, a quick disclaimer – I am still learning, but found the following from some experience and lots of research online:

  • Latte (my favorite): one shot of espresso mixed with steamed milk. It is usually topped with foamed milk, and served in a glass. (I love eating the foamed milk off the top with my spoon and then mixing it in with the rest of the drink) — pictured in main photo above.
  • Flat White (tied for favorite): smaller than a latte, double shot of espresso with milk microfoam on top (super velvety and delish!). It is differentiated from a latte and cappuccino in the way the milk froth/foam is poured.
  • Cappuccino: espresso mixed with hot milk and steamed milk froth on top.
  • Long Black: double shot of espresso poured over hot water (similar to an Americano but the process would be reversed // hot water poured over espresso)
  • Short Black: a  small, single shot of espresso
  • Mocha: espresso with hot milk, but mixed with chocolate (cocoa powder) and topped off with milk froth (see below)



I have my favorite cafes around town, and frequent them when I can! Coffee here, as I mentioned above, will run you about $3-$5+. I usually pay $3.50 – $4 for a regular sized latte or flat white, and when I’m really needing an extra dose, a large will run me close to $5.50 or $6. Again, so worth it.

  • Brother Baba Budan – crazy name, amazing coffee (you may have seen my photo on Instagram of the chairs hanging from the ceiling)
  • Kinfolk – LOVE this place. I have yet to try their food, but all their proceeds (and I mean ALL of it; their employees are volunteers) go to benefit different nonprofits and causes around the world!
  • Duke’s – it’s our local coffee spot. So, so good.
  • Hardware Société – amazing coffee with equally good brunch options!
  • Xpressomondo – another one of our local spots.
  • Manchester Press – great coffee, amazing brekkie (breakfast) foods!
  • Jungle Juice – seriously love their coffee! and bagels, and juices.
  • Industry Beans – awesome coffee! very hipster/industrial spot.

It’s hard to choose my favorite place, because 90% of the places you go to here have incredible coffee – and it’s usually the small, hidden, boutique cafes. Seriously, if I wasn’t introduced to these places by friends or stopped to look it up on Google Maps, I’d walk right past them! Even if you aren’t a coffee drinker, Melbourne will turn you into an addict. Every laneway or street you go down, you can smell the coffee drifting and lingering in the air – it’s awesome! I’ve even read and heard of several Melbournian-inspired coffee shops popping up in New York, like Little Collins (named after the street right next to ours :)). Australian coffee seems to be taking over the world, which makes me super happy, because when we come visit the U.S., I’m going to need a flat white (and not the Starbucks one) ;-) #snobalert

edit: (…although I may get a pumpkin spice latte. ha!)


  • Laura Peak
    January 8, 2015

    BRB I am packing up my stuff and moving there now! NEED some good coffee and some sunshine!!! miss you woman! So glad to see you posting more!! <3

    • Kelly
      January 10, 2015

      Hahaha, come visit, my fellow coffee addict!! You’ll never leave ;-) I miss you too, so much! <3

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