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Where is the Best Guilt-Free Coffee in Melbourne?

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Writer's Answer:
by Ellen Maiorano (subscribe)
A Melbourne girl in Berlin.
Published July 1st 2012
It's the early morning pick-me-up, the bribe to get out of bed, a ritual for most of us. Yes, I'm talking about coffee. Whether it's the paper cup, the smile of a barista, or just having that warm elixir to get you through the day, the morning drop can certainly be a pleasure.

Coffee, the devil's drink? Original image.

However, sometimes pleasures can come with a dose of guilt. "How much money am I spending?" "How many calories are in this drink?" In a perfect world, all pleasures would be guilt free, but while we're in this one, here are some ways to turn your morning drink into something you can feel good about.

Go Organic

Real Food For You is somehow hidden in the major intersection of La Trobe and Elizabeth Streets in the CBD. With Endeavour College of Natural Health just next door, it is easy to mistake your caffeinated drink for a detox. It is organic after all, and while you are waiting you can look around at all the vegan, gluten free and generally healthy meals and snacks. Tasty soups, curries, wraps and salads are all on offer; you might just find yourself popping back for lunch.

real food for you
Real Food For You. Original image.

The Organic Food and Wine Deli, or TOFWD*, in Degraves Street is another organic choice. The coffee is Fair Trade, the snacks and meals cater to most specialty diets such as dairy free, wheat free, gluten free and vegan, and the cups are biodegradable. Good for the soul, as well as for some lucky trees.

Help Others

What if your treat could help someone else? Getting your coffee from a STREAT cafe or cart could bring a smile to someone else's face as well as your own. STREAT employs homeless and disadvantaged youths through their hospitality training program. They also have a reward card with a twist: your free coffee goes to homeless person. However, the baristas here aren't out to win you over out of pity, they're here to impress you with delicious cups of single-origin, organic and Fair Trade coffee. Sounds like a win-win. There are three STREAT locations in the Melbourne CBD, and one in Flemington. See their website for opening hours and more information.

Sharing the love - and coffee - at STREAT. Original image.

Save Money

I will not lie to you: I would not not be caught dead with a 7-Eleven coffee. Perhaps it's the coffee-snob in me. However, I do know of several converts who justify filling their coffee-cravings with the comfort of knowing they've only spent one dollar. This is also one for the anti-social. Press some buttons, take your cup to the counter, place your coin on the table and run away. No "one sugar thanks, no not none, I said one" required, though you should probably give a quick thanks to the cashier before you rush off.

7-Eleven, hell or heaven? Image from

Is your coffee hit a guilty pleasure or a feel-good treat? Please share your beverage philosophies in the comments.
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