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The Best Coffee In Canberra


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.


What's Your Opinion?

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45 Responses to The Best Coffee In Canberra
Danman Danman 1:31 pm 02 Jun 08

If you want beans – get teh caffe Grande Gusto beans from Wagonga Coffee, local producers from the Wamboin area. Can be found at EPIC farmers markets producers shed every saturday between 0800 and 1100. No I do no twork for them, I like you, just like quality coffee.

Melanie Melanie 6:48 pm 15 Jan 10

Skidbladnir, sorry you had that experience at the Chocolate Olive. A friend of mine had paintings hung there so no they are not all the owners!

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 9:57 am 16 Jan 10

try a bit of salt in your coffee. cancels out the alkaline levels

You’d like this video.

miss bliss miss bliss 9:09 am 05 Mar 10

Having worked in many cafes I think I am now officially a coffee snob. It can’t stand it even remotely burnt or bitter. Being a decaf drinker for medical reasons this predicament becomes worse as you need to handle decaf slightly different and it’s often not as fresh as the beans don’t get as good a turnover.

I’ve only been in Canberra for 12 months having come from the Eastern Suburbs in Sydney and really miss the coffee culture. But we have a great machine at home now so don’t have coffee out very much at all.

However, I have tried and boycotted some places such as GJs-the coffee there, I’m really sorry if you think it’s drinkable, but it’s just so average. Consistently burnt and bitter no matter which store you get it from.

If you want a mild roast and like it weak, as much I hate to admit it, Coffee Club do a good latte.

Michels do seem to be reasonable, which I must admit I am quite surprised by since their cakes are consistently dry.

In Belconnen Markets Knead Patisserie is pretty good, and have beautiful food.

Cook & Grocer in Gungahlin do a good coffee too. It’s on the strong side, and being an organic store, they use a particular brand of organic milk that does have a different flavour than the standard flavour. If you can get used to the change in the milk the coffee is quite good.

Coffee Guru in Gungahlin seem to be ok. There’s one guy there that appears to own/manage it and lords over the machine, not letting anyone else touch it. The coffee is very strong, and they are constantly busy. Don’t be fooled thinking it’s table service though. The plastic bench seats aren’t good though.

I can’t remember where else I’ve had coffee except for the French? place in the Canberra Centre outside David Jones and that was ok.

But there’s a little tiny hole in the wall cafe in Civic. It’s attached to the Canberra Centre building outside David Jones, accessible from City Walk. The decaf there is GOOD. Every time I go to Civic now I want to go there for a coffee just because it’s good, well it is from the one guy I’ve only ever been served by anyway.

As for differences between stores, coffee beans are very affected by their environment, so different handling between different stores can have a surprisingly large affect. As can different grind, different calibration of the machine, different packing of the basket. A big no no is leaving the basket in the machine after pouring a coffee-the beans in the basket can burn, sending the bitterness back into the lines. Another issue is not cleaning the machine properly.

Incidentally, I also agree that Koko Black’s hot chocolates are average. And don’t even bother with their iced chocolates. I had one yesterday and it reminded me of something I can buy off the Supermarket shelf. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not what I was expecting and certainly not worth the exorbitant price.

miss bliss miss bliss 9:39 am 05 Mar 10

Oops I missed McCafe. I so disagree. I think it is dirty tasting coffee that tastes like it’s come out of a percolator. Not acceptable to me for an espresso style.

I have heard about Tonic too. It has a very good rep for good coffee but haven’t tried it myself. Perhaps next week…

And Cafe Injoy in Gold Creek International (at the Hall end of O’Hanlon Place) has won best cafe somewhere along the lines and I honestly don’t know how. The service is poor, you have to line up for ages to order and the coffee was one of the worst coffee’s I have ever had in my life. I took once sip and pushed it to the furthest corner of my table that I could and didn’t touch it again. I honestly couldn’t be bothered asking for a replacement. I didn’t think it would be much better. The service is so bad that they didn’t even notice it sat there undrunk as far away from me as it could possibly be.

And on a non coffee note, if you’re sick of poor coffee and want to try tea Adore Tea are awesome. Over 300 teas, live jazz every sunday. Also in Gold Creek International.

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