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The Daily Grind

Discover where to find the best coffee in Melbourne, plus all you need to beat the barista and DIY it at home.

Federal Coffee Palace

Federal Coffee Palace [corner of Elizabeth and Bourke Streets, Melbourne] may sound like a political powerhouse, but it’s a tiny hole-in-the-wall churning out roasted bean goodness at the foot of the old GPO building, right next to H&M. With two shop windows just metres apart — one serving takeaway near the corner of Bourke Street and the other offering undercover seating facing Elizabeth Street — you can grab it to go or sit down and stay. Take your time, since breakfast is served all day alongside the usual coffee suspects. Hands down, this cafe serves the best short macchiato in town.

Getting there Use the Free Tram Zone. Routes 19, 57, and 59 to stop 3 then cross the road.

Dukes Coffee Roasters

A local favourite, Dukes Coffee Roasters [247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne], sits proudly among more coffee shop competition that you can throw a biodegradable coffee pod at. As one of the growing number of cafes that has its own barista school, Dukes is serious about serving a top-notch cuppa. Take the flavour home with you when you buy a bag of one of the signature blends created using beans originating from Africa, the Americas or South-east Asia. Plus, if you bring your own cup for takeaway orders, you’ll save 50c.

Getting there Get the train to Flinders Street Station and walk 220 metres.

Journal

Only doors away from Dukes, and taking up some prime real estate, is the very comfortable and much-loved Journal [253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne]. Yes, there is breakfast from 7am and dinner until 8pm, but we are here for the coffee, and let’s just say it’s a cup above. Wedged between Melbourne City Library and the Centre for Adult Education, the aptly named cafe is frequented by locals, students, intellectuals and academics. You’ll overhear everything from plot points for the next great screenplay to plans for a weekend getaway. The vibe is casual yet buzzy and the lattes are next level.

Getting there Get the train to Flinders Street Station and walk 220 metres.

Bond Street Kitchen

With a name that makes it sound at home among the suits and wheelers and dealers of this town, Bond Street Kitchen[18 Queen Street, Melbourne] is actually a cosy, welcoming spot for coffee lovers of all persuasions. Simple but hearty pasties, sandwiches and salads will fill you up when you’re hungry, but blending the beans is where this tiny cafe really comes into its own. Watching the sharp staff members competently handle a complex maze of orders is reassuring. Want it extra hot, not too strong, with almond milk and not filled right to the top? Sure, nothing is too much trouble for these captains of coffee.

Getting there Get the train to Flinders Street Station and walk 400 metres.

Cup of Truth

Cup of Truth [Campbell’s Arcade, Degreaves Street Subway] takes up very little space beneath the city streets. In fact, it takes up very little space anywhere. Even its single-page website contains only its name, contact details and hours. And that’s all you’ll need, because the coffee speaks for itself, and what it speaks is the truth: hot, full-bodied cups full of it. Seek out this subterranean secret and you won’t regret it.

Getting there Get the train to Flinders Street Station and walk 140 metres.

Brother Baba Budan

Even if you haven’t heard of Seven Seeds coffee [multiple stockists], you have probably noticed its flagship Melbourne outlet, Brother Baba Budan [359 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne]. This unassuming nook on Little Bourke Street would be easy to miss were it not for the queue out the door. Don’t be put off by the crowd, because you and your fellow coffee enthusiasts will be taken care of in no time with fast, efficient service and consistently good coffee. Offering blends from all over the world and information in store, this is where to go if you want to learn about where your coffee came from and what flavours, accents and notes make it unique.

Getting there Use the Free Tram Zone. Routes 19, 57, and 59 to stop 3 then walk 70 metres.

Seven Seeds Carlton

If the Brother Baba Budan experience has you hooked, head for its sister store — or should that be brother base? At Seven Seeds Cafe Carlton [114 Berkeley Street, Carlton] you can attend a public cupping session with 11 other caffeine aficionados. For a $4 donation, you’ll have the chance to rate a variety of coffees during a hosted session. True connoisseurs will relish the opportunity to taste for body, acidity, flavour and sweetness. What’s more, 100 per cent of your donation goes to charity, and that’s definitely sweet. Public cupping takes place every Wednesday at 8.30am. Although bookings are not taken, be sure to call ahead to make sure it’s happening.

Getting there Tram 19 or 59 to stop 9 then walk 260 metres.

Market Lane Coffee

Market Lane Coffee [Queen Victoria Market, 83–85 Victoria Street, Melbourne] holds a special place in the hearts of Melburnians. With seven locations across the CBD and inner suburbs, this giant of Melbourne’s coffee culture offers speciality beans, equipment and even classes. Visit the store at Queen Victoria Market and get a taste for why Market Lane has become a magnet for bean hunters from near and far. All the big names of brewing are here, from Alessi to Stelton to Aeropress, so you’ll find the right tools to make coffee your new hobby.

Getting there Tram 19, 57 or 59 to stop 7.

Nespresso

If percolating with pods is more your style, head to Nespresso [Emporium Melbourne, 269–321 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne]. This boutique is the place to find your first machine or accessorise the one you have. The store doubles as a recycling point for used capsules, which means you can feel good about your caffeine habit because your dealer — oops, we mean barista — is environmentally friendly.

Getting there Tram 19, 57 or 59 to stop 4 then walk 150 metres.