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.
Eater’s bringing this map to life with a trip to Melbourne, brought to you by Black Tomato. See the full itinerary and book a food-filled trip now.Read More