Finding a great coffee spot is like a new Tinder fling. Half the fun is in the chase. That's why it's so exciting when you scout out that special little nook brewing up the quality cups of charge. The chase can be exhausting though, so we've done the hard yards for you.
Here are our picks for Brisbane's best hole-in-the-wall coffee joints that'll deliver delight straight to your central nervous system.
Small Talk Espresso
There's some big talk about Small Talk, housed in an old bank vault in Paddington. Just off Given Terrace, Small Talk are serving up great coffee, breakfast for those on the go, plus they have treats on offer from Jocelyn's, among others.
Blink and you'll miss this little spot on Adelaide Street in the CBD, but the coffee is worth keeping your eyes peeled for. Laced is the perfect spot to enjoy a brief reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the city, and FYI, Brisbane's famed Laced store resides upstairs, so you can get both your caffeine hit and your limited edition sneaker fix in one go. Gee, we're a good looking bunch.
Ok, not a big secret. But hole-in-the-wall? You betcha. Bunker has been caffeinating Milton's locals for years, and they do it well. Housed in a tiny, leafy nook on Railway Terrace, this spot also does a notoriously good hot choc. Little tip from us to you.
Edward Specialty Coffee
These guys pump out flat whites so fast you’d swear they had them on tap. No word of a lie, Edward could set a record for the fastest turnover from payment to first sip. But does the quality suffer? NUP, their strike rate is out of control, with every coffee walking out of their sleek, monochrome interior bearing all the marks of a gold-standard cuppa. They're also one of the few places open till 5pm
Loading Dock Espresso
This little bolthole, located within the London Offices on Florence Street, is the perfect pit stop for your workday caffeination and really sticks it to the Moccona in the kitchenette. Grinding up Botero beans and spruiking the odd sanga or muffin, Loading Dock is Teneriffe’s number one spot from 6am to 3pm every weekday.
John Mills Himself
We’ve said it once, we’ve said it literally ten thousand times, John Mills is the tits. What makes us say that? Well, besides the astronomically good coffee, and the swanky décor, and the fact that they live in a secluded spot off Charlotte Street, JMH also moonlights as a bar on Tuesdays to Saturdays, which is the carrot we all need to make it through the working day.
With stores in Byron, Bangalow and Port Douglas, Sparrow came up to Brisbane to charm the pants off all and sundry. Well mission accomplished, because Sparrow does some seriously good java. Their tagline is 'coffee on the fly' and they take it heckin' seriously, brewing quick and tasty oomph to set you on your way from within the broom cupboard digs on Adelaide Street.
Checkpoint 1 Coffee
This cute little operation isn’t technically a hole-in-the-wall, but it gets added points for its furtive moorings out the back of The Trail Co. hiking store. We highly recommend stopping by on a leisurely morning so you can soak up the sweeping view from the deck, but Checkpoint 1 will also fix you up with a bottle of Ciao Cold Brew if you’re time-pressed and still half-asleep.
For those unfamiliar, Bessa is a little darling who finds her roots in Milton’s Coronation Drive Office Park as the third prong of the Bunker-John Mills situation. And like the two that came before her, Bessa brews a really quite dazzling cup of coffee on 5 Senses beans. Paired with pastries from Crust & Co and Alphabet Café, you’ll be hard-pressed to find better satisfaction.
You ever eaten a doughnut from Alphabet Café? Of course you have, you just probably didn’t realise at the time because you bought it from one of their stockists. Well the good news is that Alphabet now have permanent digs in West End. You can hit them up not just for their baked goods but also an accompanying brew that is really bloody good.
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Image credit: Jenna Fahey-White