New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published September 8th 2016
Take a coffee crawl around the city & try for yourself
Coffee is a personal thing. Some like it hot, others milky and then of course there is espresso, latte, cappuccino, short black, long black, macchiato, decaf, flat white and more to choose from. Here in Canberra, locals love their coffee. Whether this is because the working population need some caffeine to get through the day, or perhaps the smooth and comforting warmth of a latte hits the spot on a brisk winter's day. Whatever the reason, each morning the city is full of people seeking out their first takeaway coffee of the day, in anticipation of that first sip of the delicious brew.
Around Canberra, there are several coffee producers roasting their own unique blends all around the city, tucked away in back streets or in hidden locations. Many have opened their own cafes and been overwhelmed by the response to their tasty blends, with many venues having lines outside the café as people patiently wait for a cup of their creamy, caffeine goodness. When you walk around the city and see a line of people, you know that all of those people can't be wrong. So where are these secret local coffee places around the city? Keep reading to find out - and then why not start your own "coffee crawl" this weekend, although perhaps switch to decaf somewhere along the way!
Lonsdale Street Roasters is a Canberra owned company who produce their own coffee blends on the popular Lonsdale Street in Braddon (a few minutes walk from the CBD). Due to the success of their coffee, using beans supplied from all around the world, they have opened up cafes around the city so locals can enjoy their unique flavours in all areas of the capital. On Lonsdale Street itself there is the Lonsdale Street Eatery and Lonsdale Street Roasters 7 for delicious coffee whilst enjoying the edgy, industrial décor in both places. Out of the city they also have their Remedy coffee outlets on the Kingston Foreshore and Belconnen. As well as their own outlets, other cafes around the city also buy and use their coffee (eg. 332 Manhattan) so look out for the Lonsdale Street Roasters signage outside cafes around the region. This is also my personal number 1 pick on this list.
Two Before Ten roast their own coffee and have two popular cafes so locals and visitors to the city can enjoy their blends. One café is located at Aranda shops (10 minutes north west of the city) and the other newly opened café is located in the heart of the city in Hobart Place. These two cafes have a large following, especially for the weekend breakfast trade and all week long for their delicious takeaways and coffee in house. Include them in your coffee crawl and try a cup for yourself. See website here for details and also check out their Facebook for photos.
Ona Coffee is another main coffee producer in the city, roasting their coffee beans in a warehouse in Fyshwick. You can even watch this process in action at their Ona Coffee House on Wollongong Street, as well as enjoy their beautiful coffee and extensive café menu. Ona also own ONA on the Lawns in Manuka and The Cupping Room in the CBD. The Cupping Room in particular is often seen with lines out the front of their café, as it is popular with university students and workers nearby. They use Project Origin Beans, which is a company they set up to ensure that beans are ethically and sustainably sourced from around the world. Just like Lonsdale Street Roasters, they also sell their coffee brands to other cafes in the city and the hugely popular Espresso Room use their beans exclusively in their franchise. Founder and Director of the Ona brand, Sasa Setsic, also gained international attention when he won the World Barista Championship in 2015, putting Ona on the map.
Red Brick Espresso is a café located in Curtin, a few kilometres south of the city. This popular café also roast their own unique blend of coffee on the premises. The café used to have the roaster in the middle of the dining area for customers to look at, however due to their success they have had to move this to make room for more tables. Red Brick Espresso is popular with locals all week long and especially on weekends when they stop to catch up with friends, pop in whilst on a bike ride or enjoy brunch while their dogs take a rest in the shade. This casual café has basic seating outside and crates for people to sit on, whilst enjoying one of Canberra's best coffees.
Although every café in Canberra sells tasty coffees, some cafes are more popular than others. If you find a café with delicious coffee, tasty food, funky décor and a chilled out ambience, then you have the whole Canberra package. Whilst in the city, why not check out these popular venues on your coffee crawl, which are all popular for a reason. Along the way you are sure to stumble on many more, which is why this city is such a treasure trove of coffee flavours, cafes and roasters. Who knows where else you will discover?
Hideout Coffee is located in Barton (close to Parliament House) and is particularly popular with office workers during the week days. With several talented baristas working behind the counter at once, the lines move extremely fast. Hideout is such a popular venue that it has installed loud speakers to call out orders to the waiting crowds. Visiting this cafe is quite an experience - it would have to be the busiest coffee outlet in Canberra, alongside The Cupping Room. With a sign out the front claiming to have Canberra's Best Coffee, it draws in the crowds to find out if it is true. Take it from me, it is worth the wait. Although their main focus is coffee, they do also offer some delicious bakery items to compliment the coffee.
Remember to take your cash as there are no EFTPOS/credit card facilities.
Delicious Hideout Cappuccino - where they don't skimp on the chocolate!
Močan & Green Grout is a café located in the environmentally sustainable and modern NewActon Precinct, just minutes from the city centre. This café always has people sitting outside enjoying their coffees, as well as people waiting at the coffee window for their takeaway fix. Well known in the area for their delicious food and coffee, this café is particularly popular for weekend breakfasts. This café is easy to spot - just look for the bulging "Modern Man" (by Tim Kyle) out the front of the café. See website here.
Dobinson's Bakery Café on Bunda Street may not be the most modern or industrially cool café like some of the others on this list, however this is a locals place to dine and enjoy their particularly great coffee in the CBD. When you sit outside along the roadside, just watch the constant trade of people coming in and out of this popular bakery, laden with pies, cakes and takeaway coffees. Dobinson's Bakery Cafe is a particularly popular breakfast café with an extensive menu, good prices and large servings. Their highlight is also their creamy coffee in colourful mugs, which just brightens your day by sipping it. See website here for details.
We are fortunate that Canberra has so many quality coffee outlets and cafes around the region, with more opening up each month. If you don't want to get out of your car, there is even a drive thru coffee outlet at Damn Fine Roasters at Westside Acton Park shipping container village. Also if you enjoy going out for a coffee after taking your pooch for a walk, there are many dog friendly cafes around the region. When you find a good coffee spot with friendly staff, delicious food, funky fitout and a welcoming feel, it is somewhere that you continue to back time and time again. With so many places to stop in for a coffee all around the city, Canberra is just a non stop "coffee crawl" all year long.