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The 5 Canberra Coffee Experiences You Must Savour! (If you love coffee as much as me)

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I love my coffee, especially flat white, but I must admit to feeling anxious about naming only five experiences in this article – there will be many, many wonderful local flat whites (not to mention lattes, cappucinos and macchiatos) that I leave out.

We are spoilt in Canberra with some brilliant baristas and cafés. Those of us who love coffee, and who are often chided by the non-coffee drinking community as being ‘coffee snobs’, hate bad coffee – it’s as simple as that. And given that we will pay upwards of $4.00 for just a tiny sip of coffee these days, we don’t want a second-rate cup.

With the city in the grip of winter, it’s the perfect time to share my (latest) top five warming coffee experiences!

ONA Coffee House Fyshwick / ONA Coffee Manuka

Yes, I am cheating a little by squeezing two places into my number one spot, but I couldn’t resist! This Canberra based, locally owned and roasted specialty coffee company prides itself on ensuring each cup is the best…and boy, do these guys know their coffee.

Not only do they run a few café’s, but they also roast, wholesale and perfect their craft on a daily basis. ONA has some of the best baristas in town, and you can also learn a thing or two yourselves during their regular barista or latte art courses.

The café’s are hip and trendy, without being pretentious. They’re also happy to accommodate my Mum’s regular order of cappuccino, with a “dash of cold milk”. And for those of us with allergies, wonderful gluten-free baked goods are abundant.

Urban Bean Espresso Bar

Woden-based public servants will know all about this place; it’s crammed full of Department of Health and Ageing, Civil Aviation Safety Authority and IP Australia occupants daily!

When I started working in the area, I immediately put a call out via Twitter for its best coffee; Urban Bean was light-years ahead of its nearest competitor. Yes, I am biased because they use perfectly flavoured, roasted and strong ONA Coffee, but the atmosphere is friendly, the coffee fast and I’ve never had a bad experience.

You will also find fantastic food (the gluten-free passion fruit slice is AMAZING) and welcoming staff that remember every name and order. I am proud to say I have converted nearly all of my colleagues to this place.

Lonsdale Street Roasters (both venues!)

Some reviews have said this place is a little pretentious, but honestly I love the coffee and really like the atmosphere. Given that you can never find a seat on a Saturday morning (or any other day for that matter), I think many Canberrans agree and cannot get enough of this very Melbourne-style coffee house.

I haven’t tried the food, I don’t think they have too many gluten-free options, but the coffee is rich and made by people that know what they are doing. As the place is always buzzing, don’t hesitate to share a table with other coffee-loving Canberrans, or grab a milk crate and take a seat outside.

Rocksalt Hawker

I love finding great coffee away from Canberra’s city centre. Head out to Hawker and you will not only find wonderful coffee and food, but excellent service in a really relaxed atmosphere. Yes, you are looking out on to an IGA and ACTTAB, but you will be so busy enjoying the experience with family and friends you will forget you are in the suburbs.

Rocksalt has become a bit of a favourite with my family and I, and also quite memorable – husband and I were signing our mortgage papers at a table outside, in the sun, enjoying wonderfully smooth flat whites and planning our life together…when he spilt his coffee all over the papers.  The staff sent out two complimentary coffees and our bank manager laughed, so a happy end!

Mocan and Green Grout

The website says this place (above) conjures the warmth of eating in a good friend’s kitchen and I couldn’t agree more. Yes, you could grab a takeaway coffee, but sit inside and you will quickly realise how comfortable and inviting (perfect in this weather) the area inside is.

Serving excellent fair trade coffee (and slightly bitter which I love), local produce and herbs from their own front door, Mocan and Green Grout has also recently started serving a dinner menu of seasonal shared plates. I am yet to try dinner, but I would love to hear from anyone who has. 

What have I missed…or do you disagree? Where is your favourite coffee in Canberra?

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36 Responses to The 5 Canberra Coffee Experiences You Must Savour! (If you love coffee as much as me)

Fiona says: 12 July, 2013 at 9:37 am

Couldn’t agree more with Hideout, Harvest, Tonic and Group Seven. I think this group has the best coffee in Canberra, always consistent and always great service. Love them!

Angela Mason says: 12 July, 2013 at 9:52 am

Tonic was on my last list; I agree they are fantastic. Now that I no longer work in the Canberra City, I have had to find new experiences!

Kia says: 12 July, 2013 at 12:25 pm

I have to sayt that I disagree about Lonsdale St Roasters. I’ve been there a few times and never been impressed with the coffee. Tonic, Harvest and Mingle are my favs! Also Shorty’s…the creamiest brew I think I’ve ever had!

Running Girl says: 18 September, 2013 at 8:40 am

One notable absence from the list above is Knead in Belconnen Markets. Best coffee in Belly; a similar standard to LSR, with the added bonus of close proximity to freshly baked rye bread.

Zoe Pleasants says: 18 September, 2013 at 9:19 am

I wanted to mention Lava in Phillip. I discovered it because it is around the corner from my kid’s music class and even when I wasn’t sure about the merits of the music class the coffee at Lava kept me coming back! Great coffee served by relaxed staff amongst understated, modern surrounds with a great sound track.

Geisha says: 18 September, 2013 at 9:39 am

I think this article waa great with well chosen top 5. Espresso Room Woden is number one on beanhunter for a reason
Serving consistent good coffee to the general public day in day out.
The ONA team really seem to have a great hold on the Canberra market.
Coffee Lab will be opening in the city before Xmas I have heard.
Under the ATO offices Canberra centre

Trish says: 18 September, 2013 at 10:38 am

For a coffee “experience” you can’t go past Autolyse… sit by the kitchen, watch the fabulous baker boys folding the croissant pastry over and over and over as you sip on your perfectly poured flat white and tear chunks off your pain au chocolat… ooh la la.

Mmm says: 18 September, 2013 at 10:42 am

Dinners at Mocan and Green Grout are amazing, totally worth a try! Been a fair few times, never have I been disappointed, amazing flavours and such interesting and lovable dishes. <3

Emma says: 24 June, 2014 at 7:58 am

Tonic, Harvest and Lava in Phillip all do amazing coffee! There is another good one on the Kingston foreshore ’38’ or something? (No… Not max brenner however their hot chocs are to die for!!). 38 do amazing coffee, with quick and friendly service too 🙂

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