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The Vertue of the Coffee Drink

Home > Melbourne > Coffee | Cafes | Brunch
by JMBowen (subscribe)
Glutard foodie and adventure seeker.
Published August 8th 2016
A most excellent brunch outing
Ever since the first coffee houses blossomed in Constantinople in the 1500s, we humans have enjoyed the many virtues of the coffee drink. Today in Melbourne the worship of the coffee bean is stronger than ever. People meet in little cafes down side alleys to sip the brew and enjoy the many benefits of this drink that "quickens the Spirits, and makes the Heart Lightsome."

Vertue Coffee epitomises Melbourne's wonderful cult of coffee. It has everything, including a miniature doorway down a laneway off a laneway, a gorgeous industrial-chic fit out, great food, and of course, all the coffee. Carlton denizens come to enjoy the atmosphere, the conversation, and the gastronomical offerings.

Vertue Coffee takes its name from this wonderful historical advertisement, the first coffee advertisement we know of, taken from a 1652 London coffee house:

the vertue of the coffee drink, vertue coffee carlton melbourne
Image from Vertue Coffee website


A copy of this ad hangs proudly on the Vertue Coffee wall, reminding us of just how long we've gathered in places to enjoy the coffee experience.

Finding Vertue coffee is an experience in itself, and for those not-so-great at reading Google Maps on cracked phone screens, it can be challenging. Raffa Place is found near the corner of Lygon St and Elgin St, but not quite on the corner, no. Behind a service station, past a few cute terrace houses, near some bins. There is a sign, but it's likely hidden behind a car.

the vertue of the coffee drink, vertue coffee carlton melbourne
I'm not sure this is the place.


When you see the entrance, you might spend a moment wondering, "It can't be down there, can it?"

But it is.

the vertue of the coffee drink, vertue coffee carlton melbourne
I'm still not sure this is somewhere we want to be.


Down the rabbit hole we go!

the vertue of the coffee drink, vertue coffee carlton melbourne
Okay, maybe


You first come into a dark space, as if the beans can't take too much sunlight. Much like me before my morning coffee. It's here that the serious business of making the coffee happens. Their coffee menu changes according to the roast of the day, so to know what they do, you just have to go experience it. Each day they offer a selection of single origin, Estate and Microlot coffees.

the vertue of the coffee drink, vertue coffee carlton melbourne
Now we're talking!


Beyond the coffee making arena, the space opens up into seating, with a gorgeous renovated warehouse feel.

the vertue of the coffee drink, vertue coffee carlton melbourne
Return to sunlight


Where else to start but by ordering a coffee? This was my first coffee of the day, so far from savouring it and taking notes, I just make happy grunting noises and ordered a second. I think the second one was delicious too. But I might need a third, just to be sure.



Next comes the food. Like all wonderful venues, Vertue coffee offers an all day breakfast, so I knew I was sorted. There are several gluten-free offerings, and I settled on the cedar smoked salmon with polenta crumbed eggs, goats curd, salmon caviar and pea puree.

the vertue of the coffee drink, vertue coffee carlton melbourne
Joy on a plate.


The flavours merged beautifully, and the salmon was an excellent feature, perfectly smoked and cooked and melting soft. The polenta eggs were fun! The goats' cheese, mmm.

My companion ordered from the lunch menu (how dare she!), going for the Kansas Fried Chicken Burger with curly fries, which she devoured with delight.

the vertue of the coffee drink, vertue coffee carlton melbourne
Not quite KFC...


The atmosphere here is cosy and friendly, yet high ceilings make the seated area itself feel spacious.

Safe to say, this is a destination that will satisfy the soul of any avid coffee drinker and brunch enthusiast.
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Why? For the quintessential Melbourne brunch date
When: Monday Friday: 7am 4pm, Weekends: 7.30am 4pm
Phone: 03 8060 6987
Where: 8 Raffa Place Carlton, Victoria 3053
Cost: $5-$25
Your Comment
You are to be commended for locating this place and having the courage to wander into the bowels of the laneway to enter.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|6529) 1071 days ago
What a lovely place to come upon - though like you, might have been wary of the surrounds, JMBowen. Food, coffee and decor all look well worth a second visit!
by Elaine (score: 3|6359) 1071 days ago
Must visit, I love these quaint/quirky laneway cafes. Thanks for sharing.
by vanda (score: 2|106) 1069 days ago
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