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What is Australia's Best Dollar Coffee?

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by T. A. Rose (subscribe)
Enjoying challenging myself to add to the WeekendNotes vast library.
Published July 22nd 2021
An empty coffee cup which if filled costs a dollar
An empty Coles Express coffee cup which if filled costs a dollar.

Cheap coffee or one dollar coffee is something where too often it's a case of tried one, tried them all - but it is also a big market for big name service stations, fast food chains and convenience stores. With so many people ordering one on the way to work, especially as a much needed early morning wakeup, it is something where one can definitely know the best one as well, and with products constantly improving to gain or maintain a foothold in this market, being the best is now taking on importance. This question ought to at least get us to think about why as well, such as, why would you choose 7-Eleven instead of the constantly improving Coles Express offering?

I was stunned to see major fast-food chains such as Hungry Jacks and McDonald's coffees costing $5 as I am sure they were once a dollar (surely that is barista made) yet in the U.S.A, the McDonald's coffees are still a dollar, (I think that is a long-standing price and something they seem keen to stick to).

In terms of Australian one dollar coffees, I found service stations such as Puma and United weren't offering it, nor did BP who used a Wild Bean Café as their approach to serving coffee. It is thus a hard market to understand, but I imagine, where self-serve machine coffee is possible then it's a dollar and for a number of reasons, barista coffee can sometimes be the only option, then you have to pay more albeit for better quality barista coffee.

For example, 7-Eleven make coffee starting from $1, which is a long-standing price and something that is used to attract customers, in a similar vein to supermarkets using cheap milk almost tactically.

Coles and Shell make coffee from Urban Coffee Culture from just one dollar at Coles Express Stores nationwide. I offered to buy an empty cup but they sensibly offered me a free empty cup due to having no lids when I popped in to get some cups for photographing, and that actually shows how popular the cheap coffee is, even though it was afternoon, they were indeed sold out of lids. It is an award-winning coffee with claims to be ethical sourced - although they were once 80 cents, and I saw the minimum was a dollar - maybe it varies slightly depending on the store.

Caltex StarMart make $1 coffee as well. This seems a very wise move and it looks beautifully presented in the photos on their website, with an optional iced coffee upgrade, using iced plastic cups from their freezer - that indeed costs $2.

Takeaway coffee

I actually was a bit surprised at the apparent lack of choice in terms of the bigger companies or lack of promotion of a dollar coffee, however, there are so many coffee stands these days, I am bound to have missed many smaller company options, hence this is here to help state what is Australia's best dollar coffee?

First image by author, second image by Virin000 from
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