Things don’t stand still for long in the Melbourne cafe scene. In the past 12 months some really heavy-hitting venues have opened (among them Common Galaxia, Two Birds One Stone, St Ali North and Top Paddock), along with a host of great small cafes and coffee bars.
There has been a boom in the eastern suburbs, with Hawthorn, Camberwell, Malvern East, Ashburton and Burwood all boasting excellent new cafes with fine food and top-shelf coffee.
Our reviewers have been to hundreds of cafes around town, checking out the coffee, the food, the service and the vibe so that we can bring you this guide to what we reckon are Melbourne’s best on the bean scene. In all, we feature more than 300 cafes, more than 80 of which are new to this edition.
Most of the cafes in the Guide offer coffee brewed with beans from traceable origins, carefully selected and roasted by small and mediumsized local roasters. And, while we still love a caffe latte extracted on an espresso machine, the growth in the number of venues offering alternative brews – pourover and Aeropress, siphon and plunger – continues, showing the increasing sophistication of Melbourne’s coffee culture.
This year, we sent our sharpest coffee palates to taste brews for the Best Coffee award. You can find the winner of that award, along with the other award winners, on page 13, and on page 14 you’ll find the Coffee Cup winners – 84 cafes in all, a reflection not of our generosity in dishing out awards, but of Melbourne’s overall standard of excellence.
We have also included some mini guides, including the best places for tea drinkers, great cakes and pastries, and roastery cafes.
We hope you enjoy reading this Guide, but more importantly, using it to get out and explore our cafes.
And, of course, if you know a great, or new, or just a favourite cafe that we’ve missed, let us know.
Matt Holden, Editor
The Age Good Cafe Guide 2013 is available in bookshops and online for $9.99.