The Top Coffee Roasters in Melbourne

Melbourne is home to hundreds of independent cafes, including Broth Baba Budan
Melbourne is home to hundreds of independent cafes, including Broth Baba Budan | © Samantha Ohlsen / Alamy Stock Photo

Melbourne is known as Australia’s coffee capital – and for good reason. The city has hundreds of independent cafes, and many of them roast their own speciality coffee. Here’s our pick of the best.

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Acoffee

In a city of coffee purists, this spartan white box of an establishment takes flavour fetishisation to the next level. There are polished-concrete floors, whitewashed exposed-brick walls and a plywood bench the length of the building on which to idle, sipping your flat white or espresso. Beans are roasted on-site in a polished-steel drum, a noisy process that’s drowned out by beat-heavy music, but the flavour of the coffee – from as far afield as Brazil and Ethiopia – is worth the effort.

Coffee Supreme Melbourne

When you have to choose between one garage-like roaster and another, where interior style – plants, polished concrete floor, raw wood and exposed brickwork – is a common denominator, the difference either comes down to the coffee, or the food that’s on offer. Here, the coffee is predictably excellent – mainly hailing from South America – but it’s the cheese toasties that keep us coming back: crispy, gooey, oozy and served with pickles.

Industry Beans

ndustry Beans was set up in a Melbourne garage in 2010 by brothers Steve and Trevor Simmons, both inspired by the Third Wave coffee movement that was redefining ideas around sourcing, roasting and brewing coffee. Forming strong relationships with coffee farmers in key global growing regions, they opened their first outlet three years later in Fitzroy, where it turns out delicious brews and brunches to this day. It’s one of Melbourne’s most popular speciality coffee roasters and cafes, and there are venues in Sydney and Brisbane, too, which is handy to know if you’re travelling around.

Contract Coffee Roasters

This speciality, family-run roasters on the outskirts of Melbourne is a beans-only operation, so don’t arrive expecting to take a pew for a brew. If you’re after a bag of coffee to take home, on the other hand, few places will are better. Not only can they talk you through the provenance of every single-origin variety they have, they’ll help you create a bespoke blend that’s tailored to the whims of your taste buds – you’ll just have to wait until you get home to sample it.

Batch Coffee Roasters

This boutique artisan roasters and cafe is a little way outside the city centre, in the suburb of Cheltenham, but it’s worth the trip if only for the aroma of fresh beans being burnished in their giant red roaster. Housed in an old warehouse building, it has a relaxed, thrown-together feel, with framed coffee bags making eye-catching wall art and various coffee-making contraptions teetering on almost every available surface. It’s cool, without being off-puttingly hipster – as a good coffee shop should be.

Dukes Coffee Roasters

With its hip flagship store on Flinders Lane, Australian speciality coffee roasting company Dukes has been doing robust business for more than a decade. Set up by a group of like-minded caffeine-heads obsessed with roasting the best, it prides itself on the strong relationships it has built with the best coffee growers in Central and South America, Africa and Asia. The beans are, without exception, ethically traded and sourced, and roasted daily at the company headquarters in Richmond. Take a look at the online coffee shop for blends, single-origin espresso, filter coffee and decaf, as well as teas and chocolates.

Code Black Coffee

Code Black’s core value is respect: for the produce, for the coffee growers, for their baristas and for their beloved customers. Roll up at their cafe and roasting house on Weston Street in Brunswick and you’ll soon twig this, from the aromatic seasonal blends to the rotating single-origin coffee roasted on the premises. You can buy beans to go, too. If you’re at South Melbourne Market, visit their latest outlet, which opened last autumn in a stylish whirl of oak-lined interiors. It’s a very pleasant pit stop for a hot chocolate, a chai or a cold brew, as you decide whether to go for the coffee-glazed bacon and eggs. (Our advice: do.)

Seven Seeds

Hung with bicycles, the warehouse-like space in Melbourne’s fashionable Carlton says it all: here’s a hip outfit with an eye on bang-up-to-the-minute bean culture. Since 2007, lone laptop-tappers have idled here over short blacks and cherry-laced overnight oats; mums on the run call in for chai; brunch bunches natter over cups brewed from highly esteemed Guatemalan and Ethiopian varieties. Coffee, say the clever, intuitive people behind Seven Seeds, is seasonal, the same as any other fruit – and that’s why their offerings change constantly throughout the year. Take your pick for the perfect caffeine hit next time you’re in town.

Axil Coffee Roasters

Axil Coffee Roasters is owned and operated by a whip-smart husband and wife team, Dave Makin and Zoe Delany. They have cafes in the city, as well as Hawthorn (home to their roasting facility) and Chadstone. What they produce follows a Direct Trade approach, which means it must meet strict criteria, including direct communication with farms, paying 25 percent more than the current fair-trade price and purchasing only the highest-quality, sustainably produced beans. Axil Coffee Roasters also rustle up damn fine breakfasts and lunches at both of their locations.

Market Lane Coffee

Market Lane Coffee is a boutique coffee roaster and retailer, with several locations across Melbourne. The deal is: the sourcing of coffee beans that are distinctive and memorable, and don’t need to be blended. The bods behind Market Lane roast their coffee in small batches at their roastery in Prahran Market. They only serve seasonal coffee, and love to share the stories behind their beans. Look out, too, for other Market Lane Coffee locations, among them Queen Victoria Market, the CBD, Carlton and South Melbourne.

St Ali Coffee Roasters

St Ali Coffee Roasters was established by Salvatore Malatesta, a pioneer of speciality coffee in Melbourne. Since 2005, he and his team have been scouring South and Central America, Africa and Asia for the most highly rated and in-demand beans they can buy. Today, they have a renowned wholesale coffee business and cafe in South Melbourne. Roll up, settle in and take your pick: perhaps a barista breakfast (espresso, cappuccino and filter coffee), or a full-on coffee adventure featuring six samples of the very best they can brew.

Proud Mary Coffee Roasters

These guys had us at turmeric granola, but we’ve always been happy to hang around their Collingwood-based cafe for the amazing watermelon and pork-belly salad and – oh, go on then – their unforgettable miso beef short-rib bun. Let’s not forget, though, that Proud Mary founder Nolan Hirte is in the business of beans. As well as the aforementioned cafe, the company name applies to a coffee roaster, the Collingwood Coffee College, an American branch – Proud Mary Cafe PDX in Portland, Oregon – and Aunty Peg’s black coffee brew bar, where they offer tours of the beans as they’re being burnished.

Rumble Coffee Roasters

Operating out of Kensington, Rumble Coffee Roasters are not only in the business of roasting coffee. They specialise in coffee-making and cafe management as well. The team source their beans from the world’s best growing regions, and are constantly searching for the finest suppliers. If you want one of their brews, you’ll find them served in a number of Melbourne cafes, including Breakfast Thieves in Fitzroy, Brick Lane in the CBD and Market Espresso at the Queen Victoria Market.

Alex Allen and Monique La Terra contributed additional reporting to this article.

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