The Brisbane coffee scene is a treasure chest full of little gems that shine because of what they do, not necessarily because of how they look. If you’re riding coffee’s third wave, then strap on your leg rope and dive into our favourite Brisbane coffee chill spots! We have reviewed over 40 coffee shops in Brisbane, and these are our ‘best of the best’.
43 Balaclava St, Woolloongabba
The coffee should be the main reason for visiting Cup Roastery. Now don’t get us wrong, the coffee is seriously on a wave of it’s own. However, there is something strangely alluring about the industrial feel of the Gabba roastery that is perfect for drinking specialty coffee. The central feature is a huge, and heavy counter that was originally a massive saw bench on wheels. Another piece of striking technology is the Slayer coffee machine that sits atop. Although a massive space, you seem to enter a little biosphere where you effortlessly immerse yourself in the coffee and the conversation.
Whether you like your coffee brewed or filtered, black or white, Cup Roastery has coffee that will delight. If you drink white coffee, each cup provides you with a wonderful extraction of the coffee beans and perfectly textured Maleny Milk. One of our all-time favourite coffees is their long macchiato – a serious contender for world’s most epic! We often enjoy them on amazing single origin beans, but they are also wonderful on the Five Star Day blend. If you like filtered coffee, the 5 kilo Probat L5 roaster situated on-site, lightly roasts single origin beans from around the world to give the best possible flavour. The Ethiopian (Yirgacheffe) Koke we tried recently provided a fruity aroma and delivered amazing sweetness and brightness to the palate.
Salubrious surroundings may not be a description that comes to mind … but meticulous does! It describes Cup’s approach to every part of the coffee journey to ensure the best possible outcome for the drinker. The Gabba location is a cool place to head if you want perfectly barreling coffee and a chilled vibe! Alternatively you can head to Cup Café in West End – same coffee, different vibe.
Dandelion & Driftwood
1/45 Gerler Rd, Hendra
If you’re after salubrious surroundings and stunning coffee then Dandelion & Driftwood is the ultimate destination. It’s coffee’s version of Samson meeting Delilah. There are distinctive feminine aesthetics mashed with powerful passion for wonderful coffee. The two house blends, Dandelion (a little delicate) and Driftwood (a bit more body) personify the Samson and Delilah fusion. It’s the kind of place that would please everyone from the ‘I need caffeine’ consumer to the self-proclaimed ‘coffee aficionado’. You can also splash out and try a range of filtered coffee on amazing single origin beans sourced and roasted by Wolff Coffee Roasters. You can travel the world in coffee comfort!
The coffee you order is served with tasting notes to read as you sip! One of our favourites was a Kenyan single origin prepared using a Chemex. As we tasted we agreed that the fruity, berry flavour, outlined on the tasting notes, was definitely delivered by the cup to the palate. Mocha Mate was the most excited! Although he enjoyed the filtered coffee, the mocha sent him into a spin. It was made on the Driftwood blend, roasted to achieve a thick body and extra creaminess. Perfect for mochas. The chocolate, specially sourced cacao from Papua New Guinea surfed this coffee into another league. It produced an amazing taste that any lover of chocolate would truly appreciate.
The staff look smart, almost posh, but are down to earth, provide great service and a wealth of information (and passion) about the coffee. If you want to know about the coffee you’re drinking and the best way to drink it, then this is a café where you’ll be informed, engaged, amazed … oh and comfortable!
Blue Sky Coffee
32 Commercial Rd, Newstead
In terms of space, it’s probably best described by one of their popular blends ‘Ebony Ivory’. One side is dark with a strong industrial influence, where all the coffee action happens. The other side has vibrant paintings and sculptures that add a real splash of colour, where all the chatter happens. In a sense the ebony is the serious side of the coffee – the roast on demand approach, the cupping notes on every batch for quality. The ivory is the passionate side of the coffee – the keenness of staff to chat about the coffee, the wonderful service, the relaxed vibe. The beans for the blend might be medium roasted, but there is nothing mediocre about everything else.
Mocha Mate had Ebony Ivory for his traditional fare and, as always, was suitably impressed, if the chocolate on his grin was any indication! The real gem – Blue Sky is our cold drip capital of Brisbane. Initially, the allure of the apparatus catches your attention as the coffee drips like ocean water from your togs (swimmers for non-Queenslanders) as they hang over the front railing. However, the coffee, and its presentation, is the real winner. The single origin beans are roasted on the original 10 kilo Has Garanti roaster. Although the beans in the cold drip vary, the quality does not. Recently we had an Ethiopian Sidamo that was rich and well-bodied. The pleasant taste lingered for ages, just like us … chatting and chilling. If you have never tried cold drip coffee, start here and you’ll be hooked.
Even if the surf’s not up and the clouds are grey, it’s refreshing to know there is always a cool patch of Blue Sky in Newstead to chill and enjoy wonderful coffee!
Uncle Joe’s Coffee House
3/161 Cavendish Rd, Coorparoo
Your hosts at Uncle Joe’s Coffee House treasure one thing above all else … the coffee experience. And if you want an unbelievable experience, then a safari to Coorparoo is essential. Be careful though, you might miss it. The coffee house has been purposely left inconspicuous. The interior is simple and somewhat understated … it’s like visiting a friend’s Mum’s kitchen where you can sit for ages and chat. There is nothing understated about the coffee, it’s totally awesome dude! Oh, the Mirage Veloce espresso machine is pretty striking too!
The house blend is amazing both in terms of name and taste … the Yirgi Bear is probably our favourite blend on the planet. Combined with the 100% Jersey cow milk, it provides an awesome drop whether you like a little milk or a lot. Our fave is served as a piccolo … yum! The ultimate experience for us is the filtered coffee … these guys get some seriously stunning beans that they roast to perfection at their 3rd Crack Roastery. The filtered coffee is served in stainless steel pouring kettles, accompanied by a digital timer. Sound a bit high tech for coffee? The timer allows you to track flavour development over time. As the time ticks on, the depth of flavour, and aroma, develops and shines. Downside … you realise how long you can sit around in coffee shops!
If you’re keen to chat about all things coffee, including the amazing colour theory, then ask questions and absorb knowledge. By using colour to describe coffee, it’s easier for us to unlock the flavours. For example, if you visualise the colour purple whilst drinking, it could mean blueberry is the key flavour. If you appreciate coffee, you’ll be on the crest of the third wave leaving Uncle Joe’s.