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Dukes Coffee Roasters
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Where to Drink Coffee in Melbourne

From flat whites to long blacks, the essential cafés

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Dukes Coffee Roasters
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Australia's coffee culture is renowned for its quality, but what that reputation really means is that you could blindly walk into almost any café in Melbourne and get a reliably good coffee — it's about consistency. With a plethora of independent cafés in place of chains, and the few chains such as Hudsons offering relatively smooth caffeine fixes, it's almost difficult to find unsatisfactory coffee.

That said, the city's top coffee is concentrated in the inner neighborhoods — in the last decade or so, numerous roasting houses committed to taking Melbourne's coffee scene up a notch have appeared in the inner north, around Fitzroy, Collingwood, and Brunswick. Industry Beans and Seven Seeds, for example, have built on the success of the longer-established Coffee Supreme.

Presumably for reasons of space and expensive rent, there are fewer roasters in the city's Central Business District and wealthy southern and eastern neighborhoods, but hardly a shortage of people who know how to work an espresso machine: Downtown's Patricia is the epitome of this. In the last few years, good coffee has reached western suburbs, too, where places like Rudimentary are making their mark.

A few notes on Australian coffee: lattes and cappuccinos are different from what you would expect in a North American third-wave café. Both are around eight ounces; a latte comes in a glass with a little foam on top, while a cappuccino has a little less milk and a solid cap of foam, sprinkled with chocolate. Americanos are called "long blacks" and have slightly less hot water; flat whites are usually the milkiest beverage on offer, and iced coffees are usually sweeter and loaded with milk or even ice cream, not merely ice-plus-coffee.

Beyond those semantic differences, cafés typically serve full breakfast or brunch meals, not just pastries and muffins. On account of that full meal service, wifi is a rarity — that means camping out for hours with a laptop is not typically smiled upon.

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Rudimentary

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Westside Rudimentary goes well beyond what its name might suggest. Based out of a converted trio of shipping containers on a long-disused lot in Footscray, Rudimentary is a hyper-sustainable community spot. It even has an on-site garden, watered from the cafe's own collected rainwater. Architectural impressiveness aside, head barista Emily Keats's team puts out a fine filter brew, particularly the V60.

Code Black Coffee

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Based out of a cavernous warehouse in northside Brunswick, Code Black has expanded to two other locations around the city, one on Collins Street for the office crowd, and another in North Melbourne, both of which vary slightly from the OG Brunswick location. The expansions were for good reason — their large operation allows for myriad different roasts, many of which can be spotted at other coffee shops around the city. Cold brew is still a relative novelty for Australian coffee, but Code Black's take is one of the best.

Industry Beans

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Founded by two brothers in a garage in 2010, Industry Beans has grown to be maybe the top café in the already coffee-saturated inner north Fitzroy area. To get the full flavor out of Industry's house blends, order a ristretto: shots of espresso are stopped after two-thirds of the pour is done, leaving only the most concentrated, flavor-packed extract.

Everyday Coffee

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Possibly the closest you'll get to a North American café vibe in Melbourne, Everyday has wifi, and doesn't do a full breakfast service — instead, it sticks to bagels, pastries, and more importantly, excellent coffee, along with Australia's ubiquitous avocado toast (albeit on a bagel). The company's expanded into roasting its own beans, and serves its brews alongside sparkling water: all the better for cleansing your palate to taste the subtle flavors in their espresso and filter offerings. Take in the shimmering white interior in the heart of Melbourne's Fitzroy-Collingwood coffee belt.

A photo posted by Tony Gu (@ugyeats) on

Proud Mary

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The almost obscenely popular Proud Mary dishes up coffee and brunch to hectic crowds for hours on end each day. Founder Nolan Hirte works directly with coffee farmers overseas for reasons of ethics and quality, and the success of that program is why Proud Mary needs three baristas working the counter. If it's too crazy, you can head to Aunty Peg's (also owned by the same crew) just a block away, for espresso, AeroPress, or cold brew.

Seven Seeds

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Opened by St. Ali's original founder Mark Dundon (who later sold the South Melbourne café), Seven Seeds focuses heavily on roasting and blending its own beans, an operation at the center of the wood-laced interior of the Carlton café. Black coffee is best for picking up the flavor notes, but the baristas do a neat iced latte that avoids the add-ons plaguing other coffee shops' versions. This one is a student favorite — primarily due to its proximity to the University of Melbourne.

Patricia Coffee Brewers

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Teeny-tiny Patricia may be one of few places on this map to not roast its own beans, but it's possibly the strongest at brewing them. Such an approach also allows the shop to pick the best of the best from Melbourne's countless roasting houses. Patricia wastes little time on fanciful extras such as an all-singing, all-dancing website, instead focusing with laser precision on just pushing water through ground beans. The end result is no-nonsense, delicious coffee, particularly on the filter front, and it draws the downtown office crowd in droves.

A photo posted by @lotuswater__ on

Dukes Coffee Roasters

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With its most central location based out of a splendid colonial-era building on one of Melbourne's iconic downtown lanes, uber-environmentally minded Dukes guarantees quality coffee by not separating its baristas from the roasting process. That is, the people making the coffee are consistently consulted on which roasts work for which brewing methods. Not content with succeeding just in Melbourne, Dukes recently expanded to Sydney.

St. Ali

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The ideal stop-off after a gluttonous visit to the South Melbourne Market, this original location of South Melbourne's self-described "temple to sublime coffee" has grown into more of an empire over the last decade, taking over or opening numerous other Melbourne cafés such as Liar Liar in Hawthorn and Sensory Lab downtown. Tucked away on a side street, the original St. Ali location boasts highly trained baristas with expertise in producing flavorful coffee across the spectrum — without syrupy bells and whistles.

Coffee Supreme

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With 15 years in Melbourne, Coffee Supreme predates the mass proliferation of roasters across the city in recent years. Originally from New Zealand, Supreme boasts that it dragged its early customers' tastes away from "ashtray"-like dark roasts to more nuanced lighter takes — now the default approach for any would-be successful roaster in Melbourne.

Axil Coffee Roasters

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Over in Melbourne's moneyed eastern suburbs lies this brainchild of a Melbourne coffee power couple. Founded by roaster Zoe Delany and her husband, Dave Makin, winner of three national-level barista titles, Axil's coffee is meticulously sourced with a focus on sustainability that goes well beyond the norms of the ubiquitous fair trade coffee trend. Oh, and their drip and espresso offerings are great, too.

Monk Bodhi Dharma

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Hopefully you're not allergic to crunchy granola, because that's very much the vibe at this Balaclava spot, in Melbourne's south-east. That new-age, crystal-healing aesthetic plays out in the food menu and interior, but apparently it helps Monk Bodhi Dharma churn out excellent coffee. With a small roasting operation in its brick shack and a focus on single origins, espresso is the strong point here. The shop's also tantalizingly close to the large ring of beaches on Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay.

Rudimentary

Westside Rudimentary goes well beyond what its name might suggest. Based out of a converted trio of shipping containers on a long-disused lot in Footscray, Rudimentary is a hyper-sustainable community spot. It even has an on-site garden, watered from the cafe's own collected rainwater. Architectural impressiveness aside, head barista Emily Keats's team puts out a fine filter brew, particularly the V60.

Code Black Coffee

Based out of a cavernous warehouse in northside Brunswick, Code Black has expanded to two other locations around the city, one on Collins Street for the office crowd, and another in North Melbourne, both of which vary slightly from the OG Brunswick location. The expansions were for good reason — their large operation allows for myriad different roasts, many of which can be spotted at other coffee shops around the city. Cold brew is still a relative novelty for Australian coffee, but Code Black's take is one of the best.

Industry Beans

Founded by two brothers in a garage in 2010, Industry Beans has grown to be maybe the top café in the already coffee-saturated inner north Fitzroy area. To get the full flavor out of Industry's house blends, order a ristretto: shots of espresso are stopped after two-thirds of the pour is done, leaving only the most concentrated, flavor-packed extract.

Everyday Coffee

Possibly the closest you'll get to a North American café vibe in Melbourne, Everyday has wifi, and doesn't do a full breakfast service — instead, it sticks to bagels, pastries, and more importantly, excellent coffee, along with Australia's ubiquitous avocado toast (albeit on a bagel). The company's expanded into roasting its own beans, and serves its brews alongside sparkling water: all the better for cleansing your palate to taste the subtle flavors in their espresso and filter offerings. Take in the shimmering white interior in the heart of Melbourne's Fitzroy-Collingwood coffee belt.

A photo posted by Tony Gu (@ugyeats) on

Proud Mary

The almost obscenely popular Proud Mary dishes up coffee and brunch to hectic crowds for hours on end each day. Founder Nolan Hirte works directly with coffee farmers overseas for reasons of ethics and quality, and the success of that program is why Proud Mary needs three baristas working the counter. If it's too crazy, you can head to Aunty Peg's (also owned by the same crew) just a block away, for espresso, AeroPress, or cold brew.

Seven Seeds

Opened by St. Ali's original founder Mark Dundon (who later sold the South Melbourne café), Seven Seeds focuses heavily on roasting and blending its own beans, an operation at the center of the wood-laced interior of the Carlton café. Black coffee is best for picking up the flavor notes, but the baristas do a neat iced latte that avoids the add-ons plaguing other coffee shops' versions. This one is a student favorite — primarily due to its proximity to the University of Melbourne.

Patricia Coffee Brewers

Teeny-tiny Patricia may be one of few places on this map to not roast its own beans, but it's possibly the strongest at brewing them. Such an approach also allows the shop to pick the best of the best from Melbourne's countless roasting houses. Patricia wastes little time on fanciful extras such as an all-singing, all-dancing website, instead focusing with laser precision on just pushing water through ground beans. The end result is no-nonsense, delicious coffee, particularly on the filter front, and it draws the downtown office crowd in droves.

A photo posted by @lotuswater__ on

Dukes Coffee Roasters

With its most central location based out of a splendid colonial-era building on one of Melbourne's iconic downtown lanes, uber-environmentally minded Dukes guarantees quality coffee by not separating its baristas from the roasting process. That is, the people making the coffee are consistently consulted on which roasts work for which brewing methods. Not content with succeeding just in Melbourne, Dukes recently expanded to Sydney.

St. Ali

The ideal stop-off after a gluttonous visit to the South Melbourne Market, this original location of South Melbourne's self-described "temple to sublime coffee" has grown into more of an empire over the last decade, taking over or opening numerous other Melbourne cafés such as Liar Liar in Hawthorn and Sensory Lab downtown. Tucked away on a side street, the original St. Ali location boasts highly trained baristas with expertise in producing flavorful coffee across the spectrum — without syrupy bells and whistles.

Coffee Supreme

With 15 years in Melbourne, Coffee Supreme predates the mass proliferation of roasters across the city in recent years. Originally from New Zealand, Supreme boasts that it dragged its early customers' tastes away from "ashtray"-like dark roasts to more nuanced lighter takes — now the default approach for any would-be successful roaster in Melbourne.

Axil Coffee Roasters

Over in Melbourne's moneyed eastern suburbs lies this brainchild of a Melbourne coffee power couple. Founded by roaster Zoe Delany and her husband, Dave Makin, winner of three national-level barista titles, Axil's coffee is meticulously sourced with a focus on sustainability that goes well beyond the norms of the ubiquitous fair trade coffee trend. Oh, and their drip and espresso offerings are great, too.

Monk Bodhi Dharma

Hopefully you're not allergic to crunchy granola, because that's very much the vibe at this Balaclava spot, in Melbourne's south-east. That new-age, crystal-healing aesthetic plays out in the food menu and interior, but apparently it helps Monk Bodhi Dharma churn out excellent coffee. With a small roasting operation in its brick shack and a focus on single origins, espresso is the strong point here. The shop's also tantalizingly close to the large ring of beaches on Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay.

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