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The best coffee in the Melbourne CBD

The search is over, city-dwellers and peaky commuters. We've got your daily grind right here...

Photograph: Vince Caligiuri

No one likes starting the day with a bad brew, so we road-tested the best coffee in the CBD to determine who is extracting perfect cups of golden motivation to help you fire through the working week.

Want more? Check out the best breakfasts in Melbourne. After lunch? These are the best lunches in the Melbourne CBD.

Recommended: The 50 best restaurants in Melbourne

The best coffee in Melbourne

1

Everyday Coffee Midtown

Everyday Midtown is the CBD branch of Fitzroy’s Everyday Coffee. They roast their own beans in a Melbourne warehouse, and their All Day seasonal blend is a creamy chocolate Colombian mix that’s perfect with milk. Even the fanciest cup of joe will only set you back $5, and there’s a 50 cent BYO cup discount (it doesn’t just apply to Keep Cups – any office mug can net you savings).

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2

Bonnie

The house speciality is cold drip. The slow extraction method combined with the house-roasted single origin beans results in a fruity, rich, and slightly acidic cup of coffee. The filter range is equally impressive. At $4, it’s hardly Melbourne’s most expensive coffee.

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3

Axil Coffee Roasters

The priority at Axil is high quality, ethical coffee. Their beans are roasted locally in Hawthorn. The single origin options are rotated daily, and the seasonal blend has a dark chocolate and nougat flavour profile. Standard cups are a little cheaper than many places at $3.80.

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4

Patricia

This standing-room-only coffee shop has friendly but speedy baristas, who churn out high quality coffees at an impressive rate. There’s only one cup size and it’ll cost you $4 if you take it black or filter, and $4.30 for white coffees.

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5

Dukes Coffee Roasters

Inside the beautiful old Ross House building they’re committed to They’re committed to ethical trading with coffee sourced from farms and small co-operatives that they bring home to roast here in Melbourne. The price of a filter ranges between $3 and $10, while an espresso cup any way will set you back $4, or $3.50 if you bring your own cup.

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6

Sensory Lab

The single origins change frequently and baristas are across any coffee question you could throw at them. But this expertise comes at a price: the fanciest cup of single origin pour over can cost you up to $9 and a standard ‘white’ coffee costs $4.50. But then, every espresso shot is a double.

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7

Brother Baba Budan

The origin story of Brother Baba Budan is that he stole seven seeds of coffee from the Middle East and took them to India. Now his namesake is a Seven Seeds branch in the city, a noisy place with a large communal table and a ten-minute wait time. Takeaway is your best bet, as there are more chairs on the ceiling than on the floor.

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8

Market Lane Coffee: Therry Street

The only milk they serve is full fat cow’s milk, the coffee only comes in one size, you have to put your own lid on your takeaway, and there is always, always a line. The seasonal blend offers a full bodied, hazelnut-heavy cup with apple undertones.

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9

Little League

Two shipping containers and AstroTurf don’t automatically say ‘café’, but then this is Melbourne. Little League use Padre beans and a coffee is $4. There’s filter, pour over and cold drip as well as steamed milk classics.

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10

Sbriga Espresso Bar

Taking inspiration from Rome’s coffee bars, Sbriga is all about excellent coffee, delicious snacks and cosmopolitan vibes. The beans are from Collingwood roastery Allpress, with the house blend a malty Supremo made from Brazilian, Colombian and Papua New Guinean beans.

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11

LB2 Specialty Coffee

They pick the best beans from Axil and Coffee Cartel to craft the perfect cup of joe. Options include the v60 pour over, batch brews and cold drips, plus regular espresso styles. A small latte is $4; a pour over is usually $6.50.

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Melbourne
12

Toby's Estate

Staff are cheery experts and Toby’s Estate owns its own bean farm, Finca Santa Teresa in Panama. Our pick is the $5 business + pleasure: a double dose in the form of an espresso and a flat white made with single origin beans.

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13

Cup of Truth

The subway between Degraves and Flinders Street Station has Sticky Institute, Melbourne’s only independent zine co-op; nature-inspired jewellery from Corky St Claire; and Cup of Truth, a true hole-in-the-wall. They use Axil roasted beans to make the smoothest flat white you’ve ever tasted.

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14

Little Bean Blue

At the end of a row of cafés on Little Collins is this unassuming café where knowledgeable baristas are hard at work. Little Bean Blue uses beans from Geelong’s Coffee Cartel Roasters to make coffee every way, from a classic espresso to filters and cold drips. A small costs $3.80.

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15

Tom Thumb

They’re using the Pony blend from Clement (of the Sensory Lab, Market Lane and St Ali family) so you’re guaranteed a milk coffee with a caramel apple flavour. Black coffees are made with a Sensory Lab single origin. Despite the queue, the team here are always smiling. There’s a 50 cent BYO cup discount 

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Melbourne
16

Workshop Brothers

Axil Roasters have been providing the blends and Monk Bodhi Dharma the single origins, but Workshop Brothers have branched out and created their own blend called the Huntly. It’s a peachy medium roast with a crisp, sweet aftertaste, delicious in a flat white. All the white coffees are $4 for a small.

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17

Sacred Alley Espresso Bar

Sacred Alley is a modern café with large blue booths and white wooden chairs. Dukes Coffee Roasters supply the beans for white and single origin coffees. For black coffee, they use Maker Fine Coffee beans. If you can get it, have the Maven seasonal blend. It’s a Colombian bean with a grape and cherry aroma, medium body and great texture. 

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Melbourne
18

Gold Drops

Gold Drops specialise in naturally processed coffee. Unwashed, the beans are left to dry with the fruit still on. It’s a process that results in an intensely sweet and fruity cup of coffee. To grasp the difference between this and washed beans, try a long black. It’s a light, tangy cherry cup with a sweet aftertaste. Get a cruffin filled with jam or salted caramel to complete your morning ritual.

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19

Sun Moth Canteen

Natural light, large wooden tables and menus on blackboards give Sun Moth Canteen a relaxed, rustic vibe. It helps that it’s tucked away from the main roads – it never feels crowded, even during the lunchtime rush. Lattes are made with the Small Batch Candyman blend. It’s got a macadamia kick and earthy notes. 

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20

White Mojo

White Mojo is one of Melbourne’s most Instagrammable cafés – and they have Wi-Fi to make that easy for everyone. From the food to the black sesame lattes and the wood panelling, everything  is ridiculously photogenic. Coffee is a house blend, made from a mix of naturally dried and washed Sumatran beans. The process results in an intense, fruity flavour in your brew.

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