Frothy cappuccinos, intricate latte art, bustling hole-in-the-wall hotspots, and queues that snake from Little Lonsdale to Spring Street. This is Melbourne coffee culture, a lifestyle sewn into the very fabric of our city.

It’s no secret that some of the world’s best coffee resides in Melbourne. Locals and visitors alike delight in the array of flavours, the artistry of baristas, and the vibrant atmosphere of the city’s many cafés.

As you wander through Melbourne, you'll find that almost every corner (and certainly every cobbled laneway) presents an opportunity to experience something unique about coffee.

Join us as we explore the best of Melbourne's coffee culture, from its rich history to the latest trends, and discover why this city is a haven for coffee enthusiasts.

What’s Inside This Blog

Café or Espresso Bar Location Distance from Dorsett Melbourne
Little Jin 615 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne On-site at Dorsett Melbourne
Higher Ground 650 Little Bourke St, Melbourne 5-minute walk
Patricia Coffee Brewers Rear of 493-495 Little Bourke St, Melbourne 10-minute walk
Little Gordon 24 Little Bourke St 9-minute drive or 17-minute tram and walk
Seven Seeds Café at 114 Berkeley Street, Carlton 7-minute drive or 17-minute tram
Dukes Coffee Roasters Café at 247 Flinders Ln, Melbourne 10-minute drive or 18-minute tram and walk
Proud Mary Coffee Roasters Café at 172 Oxford St, Collingwood 18-minute drive or 29-minute tram and walk
Jin Bar 615 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne On-site at Dorsett Melbourne
Fable Melbourne 13/168 Lonsdale St 9-minute drive or 14-minute tram and walk
The George on Collins 162-168 Collins St 16-minute drive or 18-minute tram and walk

The Rich History of Melbourne’s Coffee Scene

Coffee beans being prepared

Melbourne's love affair with coffee dates back to the 1950s, when Italian immigrants brought their passion for espresso to the city's streets. They craved a taste of home and perhaps saw a golden window of opportunity to carve their way in a foreign land – a window in the shape of a cup and saucer, that is.

This sparked a cultural revolution, with cafés becoming social hubs where people could gather, converse, and enjoy a perfect cup of coffee.

Visit Victoria writes that early coffee lovers who popularised the beloved brew were largely made up of artists, musicians, bohemians, and philosophers.

“This influential scene ensured our daily drop would forever come with a sense of pride and sit alongside our city’s renowned art, entertainment, creativity and style.”

It’s interesting, and even a little romantic, that these two now iconic Melbourne elements – culture and coffee – helped each other to rise above the post-World War II cobbled streets and into the hearts and minds of locals and tourists alike.

After all, the city is as much known for being the cultural capital of Australia as it is for brewing some of the best coffee in the world. Did those free-spirited artists, and the Italian immigrants before them, have any inkling of what was to come?

Over the decades, Melbourne has refined its coffee offerings, embracing new methods and styles while maintaining a deep respect for the traditional Italian espresso.

So – where can you find this elixir of the gods? While it’s a safe bet to simply walk into any café around the city and be treated to a near-perfect cup, we want you to experience the best of the best.

4 of the Best Coffee Shops in Melbourne

Little Jin at Dorsett Melbourne

615 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne

People getting coffee from the Little Jin coffee window

Located within Dorsett Melbourne, Little Jin is our in-house espresso window that caters to local commuters and hotel guests. It offers a quick yet sumptuous coffee experience that sets the tone for a blissful day.

Take your pick from a moreish selection of pastries courtesy of Richmond staple Penny for Pound, delivered to Little Jin fresh each morning.

Whether you’re rushing to a morning meeting or setting out to explore the streets while on holiday, Little Jin's expertly brewed coffee will give you the kick-start you need – it truly is the perfect way to start your day in Melbourne!

Little Jin is open from 7am til 12pm, Monday to Friday.

Related: Read Little Jin’s review in Concrete Playground.

Higher Ground

650 Little Bourke St

If you’ve been to Melbourne before, or even just searched the term ‘what’s the best coffee shop in Melbourne?’ chances are you’ve stumbled across Higher Ground.

This Little Bourke Street establishment is a spectacle of coffee, food, architecture, and atmosphere all tied together in one day-becomes-night eatery.

The bespoke rustic setting (the café was once an old Power Station, now converted with stripped-back brick walls and high, arched windows) lends itself to sprawling long lunches and cups upon cups of delicious coffee.

Patricia Coffee Brewers

Rear of 493-495 Little Bourke St

A short walk from Dorsett Melbourne, Patricia Coffee Brewers is a must-visit for anyone seeking a classic Melbourne coffee experience.

Known for its minimalist design and exceptional brews, Patricia Coffee prides itself on serving its trademark seasonal espresso blend (classically named the ‘Patricia Blend’), single-origin espresso, and filter coffee.

As for baked goodies, the café sources a scrumptious selection of breads, croissants, pastries, cakes, and cookies from local bakeries in Melbourne. Try your sweet tooth at delicacies from Small Batch, Little Bertha, Baker Bleu, and All Are Welcome.

Patricia Coffee Brewers offers standing room only, but don’t let that put you off – this only adds to its bustling, energetic vibe!

Little Gordon

24 Little Bourke St

If you’re seeking a quintessential Melbourne laneway café experience, then Little Gordon is the place to go. Perched unassumingly on Little Bourke Street, this quaint coffee shop in Melbourne might look simple on the outside, but inside, it’s a feast for the senses.

Located inside the historic Gordon House building, Little Gordon knows its coffee – and serves it to perfection. Alongside the standard cappuccinos, long blacks, and lattes, Little Gordon also has the trendy ‘Melbourne Magic’ coffee added to its menu.

To pair with your brew, we recommend trying a pastry from the window, which the café gets delivered daily from Noisette French Patisserie.

Related: Exploring Melbourne’s Iconic Eateries: What to Eat in Melbourne

The City’s Top Roasters

Seven Seeds

Café at 114 Berkeley Street, Carlton

Bags of Seven Seeds coffee

Seven Seeds is another cornerstone of Melbourne's coffee culture. Their commitment to excellence is evident in their meticulous roasting process and the rich flavours of their beans.

With a focus on education and innovation, Seven Seeds continues to elevate the standard of Melbourne coffee.

While Seven Seeds supplies divine beans to plenty of cafés city-wide, you can also head to their café in Carlton to taste the brews straight from the source.

Just a 7-minute drive or 17-minute tram ride from Dorsett Melbourne, it’s well worth a visit – look for the navy blue facade that stands out against the art deco streets!

Dukes Coffee Roasters

247 Flinders Ln

Another Melbourne staple, and perhaps the most sought-after coffee in the city, comes from Dukes Coffee Roasters. Their organic specialty coffee is sourced from Central and South America, Asia, and Africa, and they have a strong commitment to using sustainable and ethical agricultural practices.

Dukes is meticulous with its coffee; each batch is carefully selected, tweaked to perfection, and cupped with care before being released to wider Melbourne (and Australian) markets.

Alongside their Single Estate Espresso and Single Estate Filter coffee, Dukes offers three delicious blends:

  • Dukes Blend: Dukes’ signature strong blend that’s perfect for any coffee, black or white.

  • Highwire Blend: Creamy and rich, this blend has notes of nougat and black forest cake.

  • Market Blend: Smooth, rich, and syrupy, this blend hints at red berry and cocoa.

You can also visit Dukes at Ross House on Flinders Lane, the roastery’s flagship store and delightful café. Try to grab the window table if you can – it’s the perfect place for a spot of people-watching as you sip your morning coffee.

Proud Mary Coffee Roasters

Café at 172 Oxford St, Collingwood

Proud Mary has become a household name in Melbourne's coffee scene, and it’s one of the most vibrant and eclectic roasting brands on the market.

Sourcing its coffee directly from origin, Proud Mary roasts its beans and supplies its coffee to a huge market in Australia and America.

As for what’s on offer, there’s every coffee lover’s dream under one roof: take your pick-and-sip from deluxe, single origin, filter, espresso, blend, and decaf.

While you can (and should) visit the beautiful Proud Mary Café in Collingwood, we also recommend browsing their online shop. Discover seemingly infinite coffee possibilities with fabulous names like:

  • Triple Backflip, a strong espresso coffee from Honduras;

  • Chance Meeting, a sweeter blend from El Salvador;

  • Hit Single, a yellow bourbon-inspired single origin from Brazil, and

  • Clock Work, a mild filter coffee from Colombia.

How to Find Your Preferred Kind of Beans and Coffee

Navigating Melbourne’s diverse coffee scene can be overwhelming, but understanding your preferences can make the journey enjoyable. Here are a few tips:

  • Know Your Roast: Dark roasts offer bold, robust flavours, while light roasts are more nuanced and acidic.

  • Understand Brewing Methods: From espresso to pour-over, each method highlights different aspects of the coffee's flavour profile.

  • Explore Single-Origin vs. Blends: Single-origin coffees offer a distinct taste from one region, while blends combine beans from various sources for a balanced flavour.

Coffee Meets Cocktails: Espresso After Dark

Melbourne’s love for coffee extends beyond the morning cup. The city’s vibrant nightlife scene features a range of coffee-inspired cocktails that are perfect for an evening out.

Jin Bar’s Espresso Martini

615 Little Lonsdale St

A Jin Bar mixologist pouring an espresso martini

The elder sibling of Little Jin, Dorsett Melbourne’s Jin Bar does coffee a little differently – in the form of sumptuous after-dark espresso martinis.

Rich, creamy, and oh-so-indulgent, our expert mixologists have a soft spot for this quintessential Melbourne drink…with a hard-hitting twist, of course! If you believe that coffee and cocktails go hand-in-hand, our Espresso Martini is for you.

Jin Bar is located inside the hotel on our lobby level and offers the perfect setting for pre or post-dinner drinks.

Fable’s Little Lygon Street

13/168 Lonsdale St

One of Melbourne’s most prestigious rooftop bars and restaurants, Fable is sure to impress. Its moody, luxe setting, plush lounges, exquisite food and drinks, and simply astonishing high-rise view of the sparkling city are enough to make any jaw drop.

But if you’re a serious coffee connoisseur, their Little Lygon Street cocktail is right up your alley. Named for the rich Italian history and reputation of Lygon Street, this espresso-inspired drink pays homage to the first espresso machine ever installed in Melbourne (and potentially even Australia).

Made with Two Fold Whiskey, Amaro Lucano, Tia Maria Coffee, and a dash of orange, this is one heavy-hitting yet indulgent coffee cocktail you must try.

The George on Collins Hausmix Espresso Martini

162-168 Collins St

Nestled in the bustling Melbourne Theatre District, The George on Collins is one of the city’s top Asian restaurants and provides a feast to please every palate.

Take a seat at the long bar and watch the expert mixologists craft an exquisite Hausmix Espresso Martini. Made with cold drip coffee, distilled grain vodka, and creme de cacao, this is one of the best coffee cocktails the city has to offer.

If you’re visiting Melbourne to visit the theatre, we highly recommend booking a table at The George on Collins for your pre-show banquet and espresso martini!

Stay, Sip, and Savour With Dorsett Melbourne

A Dorsett Melbourne guest sitting in bed drinking coffee

Melbourne’s coffee culture is a vibrant, dynamic scene that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a seasoned coffee aficionado or a casual drinker, the city’s cafés, roasters, and events provide endless opportunities to explore and enjoy.

From the historic roots of Melbourne’s coffee obsession to the latest trends and sustainable practices, there’s always something new to discover. And with Dorsett Melbourne as your home base, you’ll be perfectly positioned to dive into this rich coffee culture.

So grab your cup, savour the flavours, and join us in celebrating the best of Melbourne coffee.

Book your stay in the heart of Melbourne’s coffee culture today!

Further reading: Feeling peckish after all that coffee? Discover these 7 Must-Visit Hidden Food Gems in Melbourne to complement your stay.