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The Best Coffee Shops In Canberra

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There are few things in life more satisfying than that very first sip of coffee. Whether you prefer the bold intensity of a long black, the decadent creaminess of a double-shot latte, or the familiar taste of a tried-and-true flat white, the feeling is the same: you cannot live without coffee.

If you are a self-confessed coffee lover, chances are, you are always looking to expand your knowledge of local cafes. For that, you’ve landed in the right place. We asked Canberra’s locals to share their go-to coffee spots. From there, we have come up with a list of the top three in the region.

So, without further ado, let’s get started.

What makes an excellent coffee shop?

What should you look for when researching coffee shops in Canberra and surrounds?

  • Unreal coffee. This one’s obvious, but if a cafe serves up burnt, bitter, weak, or cold coffee, it’s not worth your time. Coffee is the most critical element of any café-style eatery.
  • Wide range of coffee styles. Some of us like black coffee. Some of us like white. And some of us enjoy the sweet complexity of flavoured syrup. No judgement here. The best coffee shops serve up a wide range of coffee styles: cold brew, batch brew, alternative milks, piccolo lattes, the list goes on.
  • Fantastic food. Whether it be a full brunch menu or fresh-baked cabinet goods, the best coffee shops serve up a variety of tasty treats that perfectly complement their top-notch coffee.

The top coffee shops in Canberra according to you

RiotACT’s editorial team has combed through 19 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on RiotACT and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

Now, it’s time to introduce the locals’ top coffee shops in Canberra.

Barrio Collective Coffee

The dedicated team behind Barrio Collective Coffee believes in simplicity, good food, and excellent coffee. They use the highest quality beans available to produce some of the most delicious brews in the region. As locals themselves, the Barrio Collective Coffee staff offer a welcoming atmosphere and neighbourhood vibe. Perfect.

Harvest

At Harvest, they focus on one thing and one thing only: coffee. That’s right – they love coffee as much as you do. Their passionate team goes above and beyond to deliver delicious, full-flavoured, high-quality coffee, whether you drink a short black, cold brew, or extra-large cappuccino.

Sweet Bones

Sweet Bones may be known for its unbelievable vegan cakes and baked goods, but one sip of their expertly made coffee, and you’ll understand why the locals come back time and time again. The team at Sweet Bones doesn’t believe in bells and whistles – they want quality. With a rustic atmosphere and rock’n’roll edge, this gem of a café will fast become one of your favourites.

Who did you pick?

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback, if you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Where do you think serves up the best coffee in Canberra and surrounding regions? Share your opinion in the comments area below for our readers to check out.

 


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45 Responses to The Best Coffee Shops In Canberra
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Special G Special G 7:40 am 20 Sep 07

Straight to the pool room with that comment Woody.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 6:33 pm 19 Sep 07

No article about statistics will change that.

Yeah, who needs facts when you have faith, and some crap coffee to wash it down with?

asp asp 6:17 pm 19 Sep 07

hingo_VRCalaisV6,

True. Though such things don’t ensure good coffee. Starbucks and Muffin Break both make claims about barristas going through intensive training. Starbucks makes the biggest show of sending people to special coffee making academies and how they have Ls for months before doing the real work. Well, the girl on the coffee machine at a certain Starbucks in a certain plaza made an espresso for the manager who was rushed of his feet. He gagged on it and said it was pretty bad. The person who made it had been there for five or so months and has stuff up two of my drinks. She must have surely earned a diploma at Starbucks Coffee Academy?

hingo_VRCalaisV6 hingo_VRCalaisV6 4:13 pm 19 Sep 07

One of the reason why Michels is usually pretty good is because they run Barrista competitions among their staff. I’m not to sure if these competitions involve other coffee shops or if it is just an internal competition, but it results in a great coffee for the everyday customer. Good to know its not all about making a quick buck with bland coffee and zombie-like service.

MrM MrM 3:27 pm 19 Sep 07

Agree with the comment about Michel’s at Lanyon – the coffee there is quite nice. Muffin Break not too bad, but you can keep the rest of your chain coffee shops.

jono1 jono1 2:29 pm 19 Sep 07

But of course you’re right – there’s nothing at all unethical about pushing a narrow, covert moral agenda under the guise of a balanced and objective term like ‘counselling’. The vague and contradictory wishes of your imaginary sky fairy are much more important than a real person’s physical and emotional well-being.

Good for you, you found an article.
I’ll admit I didn’t have the latest up-to-date scientific knowledge on the matter and I stand corrected on the numbers. But I know people who have gone through with abortions, and I know a guy who’s girlfriend aborted their kid without even asking him (for the record, he was willing to take responsibility and raise the kid himself), and I have seen the devastation it can cause in someone’s life, and those around them. No article about statistics will change that.

Now we’ve already gone off topic and, well, your best tactic is apparently to throw around childish insults so I’m really not willing to continue this discussion here.

asp asp 1:04 pm 19 Sep 07

“Call me a purist, but I don’t see how you can really rate a coffee once you’ve adulterated it with those sugary flavoured syrups.”

Indeed. That’s why at stores where I tried the flavour coffees, I also tried a plain latte or flat white.

astrojax astrojax 12:20 pm 19 Sep 07

Call me a purist, but I don’t see how you can really rate a coffee once you’ve adulterated it with those sugary flavoured syrups.

or milk…

nice article, though coffee chain stores are always likely to be of lesser quality than a good ‘real’ barista, like loui…

philbert83au philbert83au 11:55 am 19 Sep 07

Re hot chocolate: KokoBlack (at like $5.50 a cup) is pretty average in comparison to Chocolat in Cusacks at Kingston.

Starbucks, I agree, is woeful.

hingo hingo 11:38 am 19 Sep 07

I don’t want to name names, but said Muffin store is not in Tuggeranong 😉

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 11:34 am 19 Sep 07

And what exactly is wrong with encouraging people to avoid a choice that is statistically proven to lead to major depression in a majority of cases?

Proven?

But of course you’re right – there’s nothing at all unethical about pushing a narrow, covert moral agenda under the guise of a balanced and objective term like ‘counselling’. The vague and contradictory wishes of your imaginary sky fairy are much more important than a real person’s physical and emotional well-being.

asp asp 11:16 am 19 Sep 07

“Michels Patisserie has the best coffee in my opinion”.
Agreed. I’ll review them along sid some of the smaller stores, because even though they’re a chain of franchises, I find that one store’s coffee tastes very different to the others. My local store (Lanyon) has an award winning Barrista.

Skidbladnir, eating at GJs is a risk. I recently purchased a ham+chees criossant and it was served to be almost all black on the outside. She asked if I wanted it replaced to which I replied… probably a good idea.
For the record. GJs (except for in the USA) is owned by two senior members of the Hillsong Church. I am not sure if the company i actually directly linked to Hillsong. Sanitarium on the other hand is 100% owned by Seventh Day Adventists. Eitherway, so long as the relgious affiliations don’t imact on staff and customers, there isn’t really a problem.

Hingo, given that south Canberra includes Woden and Tuggeranong. Could you say “hypotehticaly” which store of said muffin shop isn’t the one stuffing around their staff. I just want to make sure I boycott the right place.

Regarding Hot Chocolates. Planning try KoKo soon.
I would rank the hot chocolates in the following order so far (1 being higest):
1:Gloria Jeans
2: Michelles
3:Starbucks

caf caf 11:10 am 19 Sep 07

Call me a purist, but I don’t see how you can really rate a coffee once you’ve adulterated it with those sugary flavoured syrups.

Skidbladnir Skidbladnir 9:47 am 19 Sep 07

Having once been a GJ’s employee, I would hesitate to eat there.
But since management has changed at least once since I worked there, things should have almost certainly improved from the ‘significanly below par, bordering on the terrible’.
But unless they start to compete with the $2 happy hour place in food court for price & quality, I won’t be going back.

shiny flu shiny flu 9:45 am 19 Sep 07

Josh: go to koko black in the north quarter (canberra centre)- I think you may change your m ind and discover what a good hot chocolate really is.

josh josh 9:31 am 19 Sep 07

i maintain that starbucks make the best hot chocolates around, in their signature range. i mean, i don’t drink coffee, so i couldn’t give a toss about ‘omg they burn their beans!!’ or whatever. but just about every cafe i’ve been to in melbourne (bar only two) makes a pitiful hot chocolate. starbucks, while not being *amazing*, make a consistently good (and comparatively decent value for money, despite not being cheap) hot chocolate.

for extra win, add a ‘mint’ shot into it, and you have yourself a warm treat for the wintery months.

in other non-coffee/chocolate related drinks: gloria jeans consistently disappoints, milkshakes from anywhere are often horrible (hello cottee’s topping+milk), and starbucks makes average cold drinks, in general.

my opinion only. take it or leave it.

jono1 jono1 9:24 am 19 Sep 07

Yes, Gloria Jean’s is owned by Christians, but there’s nothing “fanatic” about them. And what exactly is wrong with encouraging people to avoid a choice that is statistically proven to lead to major depression in a majority of cases?

jono1 jono1 9:18 am 19 Sep 07

Great article.
Maybe a coffee aficionado from the north side could do some reviews of stores in Belconnen, Gungahlin etc to complement this?

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 9:17 am 19 Sep 07

Is it true that Gloria Jean’s is owned by right-wing Christian fanatics who divert a proportion of their profits to “counselling” services that encourage pregnant teens to “just keep it, Jeebus will provide”?

hingo hingo 8:41 am 19 Sep 07

Rumor is that a certain Muffin store in a major shopping centre in South Canberra is not paying their staff superannuation. Needless to say, everyone I know who used to go there have boycotted the joint, myself included. Thier coffee was good though. Several complaints have been made and they are being investigated.

I have never really had a problem with any of the coffee chains above although, you can usually get a better coffee at most cafes. As far as chain stores go, Michels Patisserie has the best coffee in my opinion.

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