Words by Jess Holmes
Brisbane may not carry the swagger of Sydney or the fashions of Melbourne but it certainly can hold its own when it comes to the coffee scene. From hipster haunts to hole-in-the-wall cafes, gourmet specialty coffee is being poured all over town. Here are the top spots in Brisbane to get a good brew and more often than not, a tasty breakfast too.
John Mills Himself
40 Charlotte Street, Brisbane
John Mills Himself is a new comer to the coffee scene but has since made quite the splash. Hidden within the aptly named John Mills building, the cafe itself is tucked away on Charlotte Street. The hangout boasts a stylish set up with exposed brick walls and a long marble-top bar, making for a comfy spot to sip on your filter, espresso or aeropress coffee. The cafe rotates local blends and serves a small selection of gourmet pastries.
200 Edward Street, Brisbane
Head on inside the Wintergarden and you’ll find Gramercy Espresso. A modern cafe serving up good food and good coffee. For brekkie, you could enjoy a brioche roll with jamon and haloumi or a breakfast crisp with a coconut and oat crumble, while lunch could be a pastrami bagel or a hot dog accompanied by potato crisps. Enjoy a house blend or espresso or mix it up with one of their deluxe coffee shakes. The cafe also has a rotating selection of sumptuous sweets.
189 Elizabeth Street, Brisbane
Need a quality cup on the go? Look no further than Strauss. This small cafe often has a line of eager patrons streaming out the door. Scattered tables and chairs spill out onto the laneway where business workers enjoy their brew. They also have a simple all day food menu if you’re feeling a little peckish. Later in the week, generally Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, the cafe transforms into a bar offering wines, cocktails and a selection of craft beer and share plates.
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26 Wharf Street, Brisbane
A popular spot for hungry workers, Pourboy Espresso is known for not only its coffee but also its tempting eats. Breakfast could see you enjoying a bowl of house made maple granola or a crispy croquet monsieur or try one of their gourmet sandwiches for lunch - the reuben complete with gruyere cheese and house made sauerkraut is a favourite. If a regular coffee doesn’t excite, try one of their alternate brew methods - pour over, aeropress or cold drip.
126 Margaret Street, Brisbane
Hailing all the way from Melbourne, Coffee Anthology showcases an impressive selection of caffeine from Australia’s top coffee roasters including Seven Seeds, Uncle Joe’s and Proud Mary. The large and spacious cafe provides an oasis from the bustling city streets, beckoning coffee aficionados to come and enjoy a single origin coffee. All day eats are also available, ranging from handmade sandwiches to salted caramel brownies and Nutella tarts for the sweet-tooths.
154 Roma Street, Brisbane
Blackstar Coffee is the driving force behind the funky Contessa espresso bar on Roma Street. The narrow hole-in-the-wall joint is lined with cushion covered wooden stools – a far cry from the plastic milk crates some cafes opt for. The minimalistic space centres purely around the caffeine with limited food offerings, but the coffee is indeed Contessa’s speciality. A local favourite is BlacksStar’s cold-pressed black coffees which are piled high in iced buckets, making for a refreshing caffeine hit when Brisbane’s humid weather comes a calling.