Graduate architecture student, foodie, coffee enthusiast, storyteller since 1990.
Published March 2nd 2013
I am never ashamed to admit that I am one of those people who depend heavily on coffee to get through a day at university or at work. Drinking coffee went from being a novelty to a habit - to a necessity, almost. This obsession has led me on numerous little adventures around the city in search of the best cup of caffeine I could get on the go, or to accompany a quiet read. Here is a list of places I continue to frequent thanks to their deliciously brewed coffee (and occasional cute barista).
1). Plantation, Melbourne Central This place keeps me going back because of its immaculate iced lattes - perfect for those scorching summer afternoons - and all-round great coffee. Also on the menu are specialty coffees, such as syphon or cold drip, if that's what you fancy. Plantation offers a small retail section but most importantly excellent customer service: baristas are friendly and chatty even during the busiest hours, making it seem like you've just dropped by a friend's house to pick up a drink.
Trivia #1: Plantation is the sibling to Sensory Lab (behind David Jones, off Little Collins St).
Trivia #2: Directly opposite is Cupcake Central, and if you have a sweet tooth like me, you may want to grab a little treat to go with that coffee.
As you approach the dead end of Coromandel Place your eyes should fixate on the bright yellow awnings at the very end, and depending on the hour you choose to visit, a large crowd of corporate customers waiting for their takeaway coffees. Oli & Levi is not boastful; it is tucked away in a discreet alley and offers not only good coffee but also $2 savoury pastries, and other modestly priced foods. The only bummer is that they're not open on weekends.
3). The League of Honest Coffee, 8 Exploration Lane I cannot lie - I took this photo because I was incredibly tickled by the cute straw. When I used to work as a waitress around Little Lonsdale St this was my go-to stop for that caffeine hit I desperately needed before my work shift. The League of Honest Coffee serves Padre Coffee, parent to a few other coffee joints fringing the CBD.
4). Manchester Press, Manchester Lane What started out as a modest, lowly-populated coffee-and-bagel cafe has now turned into a cracking hit - especially over the weekend. The staff have turned the brick wall at the entrance into a makeshift waiting list with the help of some white chalk. Manchester Press is a place bursting with character, with decorative artwork commissioned by William Montgomery - fondly known as Bill - who also works as a waiter there.
The baristas at Manchester Press have taken a unique spin on their coffee art. No longer serving rosettas and hearts, expect a face in your cup. And as Easter is approaching, expect to see a rabbit.