The Turks have been brewing it longer, and the Italians lay claim to finessing the roasting, but if perfection is a function of obsession, there’s simply no contest these days for Melbourne’s coffee crown.
From pour overs and espressos to vacuum pots and AeroPress extractions, the homegrown caffeine cognoscenti have more tricks than a clown’s knicks and they’re thankfully going global. Miami, Tokyo, Hong Kong and beyond – thermoses at the ready and prepare to get twitchy, here are our top six Melb-born espressonados taking the world by storm.
A stint serving tables in London is almost an Aussie rite of passage, so it’s little surprise the Motherland was one of the first places Mellie’s cafe culture took hold. Run by long-term transplant Peter Dore-Smith, Fitzrovia’s Kaffeine was an early arrival on the scene, and seven years on it continues to serve up ripper single-origin flat whites and lush lamingtons amidst the requisite bare-bricked and Edison-bulbed surrounds.
66 Gt Titchfield St, Fitzrovia, London. +44 20 7580 6755, kaffeine.co.uk
The ultimate Parisian cliché may evoke the image of a chain-smoking, cafe au lait-sipping, beret-clad ingenue, but until relatively recently a truly good java jolt was as hard to find in the French capital as sneer-free service. Today, however, in the moody shadow of Sacré-Cœur, Melb’s beloved bruncher Hardware Société is schooling the City of Light in the art of the froth, with its arsenal of beaut Brunswick beans, dreamy poached eggs, and melt-in-the-mouth pork belly. Plus, there’s upstairs seating replete with swoonsome views over the Montmarte rooftops… Charmant!
10 Rue Lamarck, 8th, Paris. +33 1 42 51 69 03
Believe it or not, there’s a one-time AFL player turned investment banker at the helm of this wildly successful series of hole-in-the-wall coffee shops and full-service cafes, and along with an Aussie chef and staff, he’s nailing true blue brews and home-style eats in Gotham. Produce-driven menus and bright n’ breezy environs are the winning roster, with lashings of smashed avo and killer flat whites headlining. The Upper East Side and West Village spots are best for morning and midday fare, or get your long black to-go at one of six in-and-outers spread from Midtown to Montauk.
Atrium of the Meredith Bldg, 805 3rd Ave, Midtown, New York City. +1 212 888 8848, see website for other branches, bluestonelaneny.com
Like any self-respecting Melb brekkie joint, the joe here is local – beans are delivered by Miami master roasters Panther Coffee on the daily and served dripped or espresso-style to a legion of thirsty followers. The Coral Gables nabe fave rounds out its yumsome offering with all-day crowd-pleasers like corn fritters and sourdough topped with slow-roasted lamb and fried googs. Strewth, Bruce!
141 Giralda Ave, Coral Gables, Miami. +1 305 704 8007, threefoldcafe.com
What this teeny, timber-fronted Sheung Wan brewster lacks in size, it sure makes up for in flavour, giving HK's caffeine scene a swift kick in the pants via its unreal single-origins. True, the owner is Japanese, but his java cred is legit, having spent several years in Melbourne training at some of the best sippers in town.
33 Hillier St, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. +852 2572 0238
The first Coutume Cafe was the original joe queen of Paris, kickstarting the city’s craft coffee revolution when it opened in 2011. Now, co-owner Antoine Nétien – who also did grind time Down Under – has set up shop in tea-loving Tokyo, and his Aoyama outpost is a vision of crisp white tiles, blond wood floors, and beakers brimming with exotic blends from Guatemala and Ethiopia all prepped locally in their own roastery.
5-8-10 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo. +81 3 6418 5325, coutume.jp
Having spent the better part of her 'study years' flitting from Sri Lanka and South Africa to Iceland and Italy, Eleani joined LUXE fresh from freelancing for TimeOut Melbourne and Fairfax media.