Canberra’s Coffee Culture

Rad Dave 13 October 2009 67

I am the worst kind of coffee wanker.

I’ve just returned from 9 years in West End, Brisbane, where my coffee whims were met by one of the exceptional cafes within walking distance of my house. Perfect coffees every time, witty baristas with entertaining observations on the state of play and a daily ritual that felt right.

So I’m a ‘Berra Boy, born and bred. My taste for great coffee developed in Brisbane and now I’m back in Canberra I cannot find a decent brew anywhere- nothing even close to the calibre of Brissy..

I know it’s out there.. Can anyone suggest great cafes or baristas in the ‘Berra? I’ve had a lotta bad ones, just looking for a great one.

Ed (Kramer) – I know we’ve done this once or twice before, but hey… We love coffee!
Where the hell do I get decent Coffee to go in Civic?
ACT Barista Championships
Good coffee in Canberra

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67 Responses to Canberra’s Coffee Culture
kevmitch20 kevmitch20 4:48 pm 06 Nov 09

Knead Patisserie (Belco), Cook and the Grocer (Gungahlin), and Psyche Deli on Barry Drive (they are only open Mon – Fri though :()

kiki1978 kiki1978 12:36 pm 01 Nov 09

I can’t believe nobody has mentioned Deli Marco in Dickson. Four out of five times I will get an exceptionally good coffee and the food there is equally good. Also since moving to the Belconnen area, I’ve been adamant on sourcing the best brews, and have found Knead Patisserie (Belconnen Markets) to be pretty good.

tidalik tidalik 11:32 am 27 Oct 09

Hi Rad Dave
If you are ever in Belco on a weekday you should definitely try Blended Bliss on the first floor of the Churches Centre, but only in the mornings when the regular barista is working. He makes small, powerful flat whites.

I went to Orange Bean recently but wasn’t that impressed with the coffee there.

I’m also a fan of Loui in Civic, even more so since that hilarious post here a few months back.

newton2009 newton2009 5:07 pm 20 Oct 09

For what it is worth I don’t mind Tonic but I have now moved over near WestRow and the best place by far is Blue Olive. They have changed hands recently I believe and the coffee has improved big time and they are now open on Saturday mornings yay. If you are in Kingston try Velo republic it is good but not as good as the Blue Olive.

eponymous eponymous 1:23 pm 20 Oct 09

On Friday, I had what may have been the best, well balanced short black I have ever enjoyed.

What really impressed me was that I had it in Mitchell! Grandma’s Little Bakery is in Mitchell Shops (yep, not far from the pub with the strippers) and makes great food and exceptional coffee. The guy who made it for me made sure everything was meticulously cleaned, warmed my cup and watched the flow until he was happy with the result. (He threw the first attempt away.)

It was sublime. Rich, sweet and without bitterness. Made with love.

Who’da thunk it..? Mitchell!

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 10:18 am 20 Oct 09

trix, keep up that solid gold work. Pretty soon your reputation might precede you and you’ll end up a RiotACT legend.

Muttsybignuts Muttsybignuts 9:13 pm 19 Oct 09

Apparently I have a decent sized plonker so I don’t need to compensate with being all intellectual about coffee. It is a drink. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I like it a little less. I’ve never had a cup so awful that i have refused to drink coffee ever again ( and I drank Pablo when I was growing up).

I-filed I-filed 10:42 pm 16 Oct 09

Rad Dave said :

My daily grind is done on my stove stop with great beans and to my fastidious standards. But its only half of the cafe experience.

But do you roast your own beans? : ) Makes a massive difference – I’m told: I don’t!

Xie Xie 8:00 pm 16 Oct 09

anatoli said :

I don’t understand why everyone raves about Tonic. I tried them a few months ago on recommendation after I started working nearby, and thought their coffee was weak and flavourless. One of my colleages who is quite the coffee connoisseur thinks the same, but I’ve heard a lot of other people claim they have the best coffee in Canberra.

I usually go to Kaldi, right next to Tonic. It can be a bit hit-and-miss (one of their three baristas is so-so) but is generally pretty good. They offer a number of different blends too, so you can pick the one that suits your tastes.

Cibalia does much better coffee of the three next to each other. Tonic’s is blurgh and Kaldi is far too bitter. The service is better at Cibalia and because it’s tucked behind Tonic, it’s usually not as busy.

PsydFX PsydFX 1:57 pm 16 Oct 09

Bluprint said :

My winner is Kaldi Coffee on the terrace above where the old Tandy used to be in Civic. I prefer them to anywhere else in Civic. Scott & Wade in there are pretty funny too 😛


Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 2:41 pm 15 Oct 09

The regular kind – at home, with my hand. As opposed to in public with a hazelnut macchiato, or at a roller derby game, slack-jawed, with a blanket over my lap.

Rad Dave Rad Dave 2:15 pm 15 Oct 09

WMCaruso- I draw your attention to the first line of my post- What kind of wanker are you?
I read a beautiful comment in the recent Hell on Wheels post- nuff said..

lula lula 1:46 pm 15 Oct 09

Mmm coffee. Have to weigh in on this debate!
Worst is definitely Bean In The City. It really does taste like greasy dishwater. It’s kind of amazing.
Best for me is the National Gallery Cafe, and strangely enough the Portrait Gallery Cafe (neither is particularly convenient though). In the city – Guru in the Canberra Centre.

busgirl busgirl 1:44 pm 15 Oct 09

…ha ha..snort..ha ha…WMC, you’re a funny-arse 😀

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 11:51 am 15 Oct 09

Perhaps we can set up a post for you to discuss the differences in freeze drying techniques

Better than a thread about whether you can use your fauxhawk wax on your pointy white leather shoes.

Face it – you don’t like coffee. You like overpriced,, coffee-flavoured frothy 2% milk in a cardboard cup, slurped in the company of other equally deluded w.nkers, all of you lounging about on fake suede chairs while ‘So Frenchy So Chic’ from three years ago warbles in the background. “Ooh, Rainforest Alliance this, single origin that” you all gurgle, your inane blathering punctuated only by the monkey behind the counter offering their two cents about what’s wrong with the emissions trading scheme.

Rad Dave Rad Dave 9:22 am 15 Oct 09

trix- thanks mate, that was the comment I was looking for. Sadly confirms what I feared. I look forward to hunting down some new haunts but am realising that I’m going to need to drop my expectations.
Also wanted to add ‘Providore’ in Manuka for a decent brew- go the special blend.
Thanks also for your mention of the home brew. My daily grind is done on my stove stop with great beans and to my fastidious standards. But its only half of the cafe experience.
And to those who spout the virtues of Instant over an Extraction.. Perhaps we can set up a post for you to discuss the differences in freeze drying techniques and jar shapes so you don’t feel left out..

Kitchen Cat Kitchen Cat 8:10 am 15 Oct 09

Zusi4114 said :

Yeah Tonic use to do it for me but that was cos one particular staff member in overalls is an awesome coffee maker, quite a character and remembered his clients enough to keep the chat whilst remembering details about them, havent seen him there lately, sorry bout that.

The guy in the overalls doesn’t work there anymore – I agree he was a good barista.

Special G Special G 7:14 am 15 Oct 09

You still see people drinking international roast though.

If I can make a better coffee than 95% of places with my machine it says something about how good ‘baristas’ are. It’s not the machine which stuffs up a good coffee bean.

Had a great coffee recently in Hervey bay so we bought some of their beans. Run out now which kind of sucks.

Gungahlin Al Gungahlin Al 6:13 am 15 Oct 09

George D said :

I moved here from Wellington. People say that Melbourne does good coffee. And it does. But it certainly isn’t as good as the coffee in Wellington, which lives by its espresso…
I’m a soy drinker…

I’m impressed that a little rural NSW town does good coffee…
But then how can you taste *anything* past the putridness of soy? 🙂

Special G said :

Coffee is all about getting what you are used to.
If you are a person who likes international roast then a good coffee will taste like crap. and vice versa.

Oh please – you cannot tell me there’s anyone on the planet actually *likes* international roast? I’m convinced that is the floor sweepings from the coconut shell fibre factory. Any coffee in it purely optional. Next you’ll tell us Vegemite makes a real nice soup.

Thumper Thumper 11:26 pm 14 Oct 09

FFS, it’s coffee…

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