Cafe culture in Brisbane plays an integral part in the social fabric of the city.
Whilst Brisbane has previously lagged behind cities like Melbourne with regards to its reputation as a cultural influencer, it is fast closing the gap. Not least when it comes to pioneering Australia’s caffeine scene.
Some of us walk a little taller and breathe a little deeper when sipping our first coffee of the day. If you feel similarly, let us help you discover your next Brisbane cafe hotspot or boutique provider of home brew beans.
So read on for our selection of vibrant Brisbane cafes and coffee roasters that provide reliably excellent coffee, prompt service and a welcoming ambiance.
Location: 60A Doggett St, Newstead, QLD 4006
We’re opening our take on the best cafes in Brisbane with a coffee-lover’s mecca.
Salt describe themselves as serving “coffee for the modern-day explorer” and this cafe is the perfect venue for travellers new to Brisbane.
Salt is both a cafe and roastery, on the corner of Doggett and Commercial in the inner north. WHat’s more, it boasts a glitzy interior of polished concrete and pink and emerald interiors. This spot is certainly different and has a unique vibe.
This is not the bistro that you go to for brunch, there are many better options in Brisbane for that. The menu is simple, light and unfussy.
The focus, unashamedly, is on the coffee which is roasted in-house on the premises. There is choice of blends and they are rich, complex and aromatic.
If you love your coffee, then you’ll get on famously with Salt.
Location: QUT Campus, Kelvin Grove
Located opposite the libary, on the quad, at the Kelvin Grove campus of the Queensland University of Technology, Beadles is a well-kept secret.
You don’t come here for the food, which is the standard cafe fodder of smashed avo, BLTs, burgers and wraps. You visit for the surprisingly good coffee.
Always priced on the reasonable side (and thus affordable for students), the cafe has a welcoming family-owned feel to it. The kitchen offers catering services and, as a hospitality venue, hosts weddings, birthday parties and cocktail functions.
Run by the same operators since 2000, the baristas have mastered the art of delivering consistently excellent coffee at a decent price. Give them a try.
Editor’s Note: Sadly, we’ve heard that Beadles on the Quad has closed.
Three locations: Cooparoo, Fortitude Valley and Bulimba See Website For Further Details
Bellissimo are legendary coffee roasters in Australia, probably the most awarded in the country. They craft luxurious coffee blends that are delivered to hundreds of outlets across Australia.
Bellissimo also run their own successful cafes too, with three across Brisbane. The newest is in Cooparoo, the original in Fortitude Valley, and another is in Bulimba, near the Brisbane river).
Our favourite is the airy, modern and striking cafe at the Cooparoo headquarters. It has an industrial, warehouse feel with high ceilings, lots of glass, timber, polished concrete floors and the look of a craft brewery. Great almond croissants too!
This is a must-visit if you’re new to Brisbane. Savour the Italian dark roast or Ultimo blends, and admire the enormous coffee roasters through their glass enclosure. This is coffee on a grand scale.
Location: 40 Charlotte St, Brisbane City, QLD 4000 Ph: 0434 064 349
John Mills Himself, what a great name for a building! The cafe at JMH has had a phenomenal reputation amongst the Brisbane coffee cognoscenti for many years.
In a hidden laneway (hint: it’s not easy to find), the building is a glorious heritage-listed warehouse serving coffee by day and turning into a trendy bar at night, this is a gem of a place.
This cafe is a cool joint that showcases exposed brick walls, trendy staff and Donut Fridays.
The JMS cafe sources local, ethical produce and promotes environmental sustainability. It’s a multi-roast cafe, in that its coffee is sourced from multiple Australian roasters (Five Senses, Small Batch, Sample, Light and Parallel).
If you’ve got a nose for fine coffee served in a quirky, unique environment (and one that can be accessed via a secret door and staircase from the back of a bookshop), then this will be your happy place.
Locations: 40 Fox St, Albion, QLD 4010 Ph: (07) 3162 7552
Fonzie Abbott has built up a great reputation (over more than a decade) for the quality of its coffee beans. Over time the roastery has expanded and now includes a brewery and distillery, all under the same roof.
They specialise in silky smooth coffee and Fonzie Abbott’s humble HQ cafe in Albion makes a very interesting contrast to the awe and wonder of Bellissimo’s in Cooparoo.
You can stop by their cafe in Albion or grab a cup of their intricate, speciality coffee from their Graceville location in Hunter & Scott. And look out for their bespoke coffee vans and carts (very cool in military green) at events and festivals.
Location: 200 Mary St, Brisbane City, QLD 4000 Ph: (07) 3236 4525
Committed to making the world a “better place through coffee“. This roastery utilises both of their striking CBD venues (one in Sydney) as experimental ‘sand pits’ to try new blends and test new menus.
Originally from Sydney, Pablo and Rusty’s, offer intriguing food (sweet and savoury), coffee every which way you like it, and friendly service with state of the art equipment.
The food is wholesome, the welcome warm and the coffee excellent. Pop it on your list of the best cafes in Brisbane.
Location: 258 Adelaide St, Brisbane City, QLD 4000 Ph: (07) 3085 5387
Botero coffee is roasted in the scenic surrounds of the Clarence Valley (NSW), but it is brewed with style in the Brisbane CBD. With the blends developed in-house, there is not one signature coffee blend, but rather a diversity of blends that come with their own individual characteristics.
The cafe is celebrated for its legendary truffle cappuccino. Come truffle season, Botero House sources directly from a truffle farm in Tasmania and has the produce shipped in daily to ensure freshness and quality.
Should you order this $13 extravagance, the truffles will be thinly shaved on top of a truffle foam to provide a luxurious sweet, bitter, salty and umami punch that complements your vanilla bean cappuccino.
Botero House is more than a cafe with fine coffee though – it is also a high-class restaurant and wine bar with an innovative menu that changes regularly. It’s situated in a beautiful 1920s-era building smack bang in the middle of the CBD, and has a charming interior of exposed beams, wooden floors and elegant tableware.
The Botero House food ethos is local produce, healthily prepared, sustainably and humanely farmed. Moreover, all coffee is ethically sourced.
Since opening in 2016 the restaurant has consistently received excellent reviews for its innovative menu and excellent coffee. Botero House embraces Brisbane’s melting-pot of different cultures to serve dishes that are inventive and unique.
The recent Silk Road Degustation promotion featured Indian-influenced cuisine delivered with an extra dash of wit, imagination and creativity.
This inner city diamond is located in a heritage-building on Adelaide Street and is highly recommended. Don’t be surprised to see queues of salivating customers at peak times.
Editor’s Note: As of February 2023, we have been informed that Botero House is no longer operating. If true, this is a big shame as it was one of our favourite cafe restaurants in the city.
Location: 109 Norman St, Woolloongabba, QLD 4102
A trusted speciality coffee roastery based in the inner-city suburb of Woolloongabba, Black Sheep Coffee delivers exceptional coffee.
The cafe is located, quirkily, in an industrial estate and serves caffeine-greatness from 6am every single day of the week. The baristas regularly experiment with new blends and brew methods that keep you on your toes.
Happily, pets are welcome, so bring them along. And whilst the food menu is limited, the baked produce arrives fresh, daily.
This is quality coffee served by knowledgable staff in a laidback, unpretentious environment.
Location: Albion Fine Trades, 97 Sandgate Rd, Albion, QLD 4010 Ph: (07) 3063 1484
If you’re looking for award winning coffee blends in the ‘hood, then check out this coffee institution in Albion. Functioning as both a busy roastery and a boutique cafe, Neighbourd Coffee has character to burn.
Uniquely located inside an old Mercedes Benz warehouse/workshop, their eclectic coffees take their names from their surroundings. For instance, you can try the “The Merc”, another classic blend from the celebrated coffee palate of founder and true coffee artisan, Alex Ridgway.
Silky smooth and expertly roasted, Neighbourhood coffees are delightful. Pop it on you list of the top cafes in Brisbane.
Black coffee made well is like a fine wine.Alex Ridgway
We agree. And that’s why this joint makes our list of the best cafes in Brisbane.
Location: 26 Wellington Rd, East Brisbane, QLD 1469 Ph: (07) 3260 0900
The Allpress flagship cafe in Woolloongabba boasts a beautifully ambient atmosphere that will encourage you to take a moment during your morning rush to really embrace the day ahead.
Allpress coffee is the perfect amalgamation of art and science and the company supplies thousands of independent cafes across Australia and New Zealand. (In fact, Allpress is an authentic Antipodean success story, and was sold to the Japanese beverage giant Asahi in 2021.)
Try the Espresso Redchurch blend if you like your Italian-style espresso. Purposely roasted very dark, it has a strong, balanced, fully bodied kick to it.
Location: 230 Lillian Ave, Salisbury, QLD 4107 Ph: (07) 3190 9185
Moving on in our round-up of the best cafes in Brisbane, we have Cups and Wells.
Located on the south side of the city, in the surburb of Salisbury, Cups and Wells has a tagline of “never letting your cup run dry” and their speciality coffee lives up to the tagline.
The respected Wolff Coffee Roasters provide the beans and the coffee is habitually excellent and the baristas well-trained.
Although this is a breakfast and brunch operation only, the food is superior to your usual standard cafe fare. What’s more, it often looks spectacular on the plate, being beautifully presented with a wide range of colours and textures.
There’s even homemade doggie treats for your loyal companion.
This is the perfect venue for those who seek their caffeine fix within a relaxed ambience. Finally, with a mix of indoor and outdoor seating it is a popular spot amongst locals.
Location: 5/135 Riding Rd, Hawthorne, QLD 4171
The owners of this coffee house also run a Colombian coffee farm, and so this cafe has a very authentic claim to being organic. The best of the beans are imported and roasted in Brisbane.
This is a small and friendly cafe, where the coffee is front and central. Admittedly, the food options are small, but the quality of the coffee is undeniable.
This light and airy space will be sure to perk up your morning mood, and the limited menu boasts a small but wonderful selection of delicious treats.
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Location: Shop 3/50 Hudson Rd, Albion, QLD 4010
Excellent and unfussy coffee, born and bred in Brisbane. Unfortunately, there is no dedicated cafe but you can visit the roastery to pick up exciting coffee blends to brew at home.
Location: 25/275 Edward St, Brisbane City, QLD 4000
This cafe is tucked into the base of the Anzac Square Arcade Building in the heart of the CBD. It’s interior design hints of New York City and the cafe has a distinctly urban atmosphere.
More Melbourne than Brisbane at first glance, this is a fascinating little cafe that favours a fast turnover of takeaway coffee rather than accommodating dozens of diners. There are a few snacks available of both the sweet and savoury variety (including some vegan options), but the focus is definitely on the coffee.
The specialty coffee is excellent and the service is friendly, efficient and brisk. You will not wait long for your fix at this entry for our best cafes in Brisbane.
Location: 4/2051 Moggill Rd, Kenmore, QLD 4069 Ph: 0492 285 079
This coffee shop delivers sophistication, state-of-the-art machines and a sleek environment.
Their location in Kenmore is perfect for a wholesome weekend brekkie.
Location: Shop 2/31 Musk Ave, Kelvin Grove, QLD 4059 Ph: 0498 681 234
Lastly on our list of the best cafes in Brisbane we have the intriguingly named B+C Lab Cafe.
B+C stands for Bakery + Coffee. This is a very stylish cafe with a modern, industrial look. It serves a wide range of blends and specialty coffee alongside a range of Japanese-influenced desserts.
Whilst the downstairs seating area may appear small, do not be dismayed as there is an warehouse-sized alcove situated upstairs that overlooks Urban Village.
Editor’s Note: Sadly, we’ve learnt that B+C Cafe has closed.