A city is nothing without the lifeblood of its people, and the people are nothing without the lifeblood of the bean. Those fragrant, bitter shots keep us well oiled and humming through the trials and tribulations of the corporate grind; and we’ll be damned if we’re going to let you settle for Nescafe in the kitchenette.
Specialty coffee is as much a timeless corporate accessory as a potted fern or a pair of RMs. Stay classy at the very best places in Brisbane’s CBD to get decent coffee:
John Mills Himself
Once the morning crowds thin out, the hardest part about caffeinating at John Mills is actually finding it; access is either through a gift shop or down the driveway of a parking garage. It’s an odd location, to be sure, but the forage is well worth it as John Mills is the second channel through which Bunker coffee flows (the other being Bunker in Milton). Their cold brews are pretty much the only thing getting some of us through this summer (read: life).
These guys aren’t big on bragging, but if they were they’d probably tell you about how they were voted the top café in Australia 2016 on Beanhunter. They’d probably also go on about the Michelin star quality of their java, but like I said, they’re not braggers. Nor are they ones to be tied down to any one roaster; Coffee Anthology brings in beans from all over the country so you can always be guaranteed something different.
As Brisbane’s branch of the Maclean roastery, Botero House's reputation for good coffee meant they were always going to be a smash. Their studio-style digs on Adelaide Street are homey but not kitsch, cool but not cool, and is good for everything from morning coffee right through to evening tapas. Botero offers five coffee blends to choose from at the counter (no, we can’t pick a favourite), all of which are available to purchase for the fanatic’s home use.
Little Research Store
Ground level, Central Plaza
Though touted as an experimental chocolate lab for the Noosa Chocolate Factory, the Little Research Store has deep respect for both kinds of grind. From their lodgings in the ground level of CP1 they sate the cravings of sweet-toothed rat racers from all over the city. Wall to wall with their latest chocolates, getting your coffee fix here is literally like being a kid in a candy store, and let’s not forget the most flooring hot chocolates this side of Switzerland.
The best of Byron has finally migrated to Brown Snake City and we’re a little bit in love. Their perch may be naught but a divot on Adelaide Street, but this doesn’t stop Sparrow from executing up some of the best Allpress we’ve ever tasted. Naturally, their coffee takes first priority, but Sparrow also offers bread and pastries from New Farm’s Chouquette for swift snackage. And here’s a neat little queue hack for ya, you can order your coffee in advance on the ‘Hey You’ app and then just cruise in and collect it straight away #VIP.
They’ve tucked themselves into an unassuming winkle just off the Elizabeth Street bustle, but Strauss’ discreet digs do little to stop the crowds spilling into the alley. With such a lot of hubbub, news of their Supreme coffee game gets around quickly; their baristas are personally responsible for the indoctrination of numerous die-hard coffee chain junkies to the all-consuming fervour of specialty coffee.
Decent breakfasts and lunches in the CBD that won’t break the bank are kinda rare. Or, they were until Pourboy Espresso turned up. Their sandwiches are practically the summit of human achievement (IMHO), but we’re not here for that; how’s the coffee? Pretty goddamn spectacular actually. Besides espresso Pourboy also offers nitro coffee for that carbonated zing, and all the alternative brewing methods you could feasibly desire on a weekday.
Lingerers, loiterers, and anyone carrying a laptop move right along, Contessa is not the loungeroom you seek. Keeping pace with the breakneck speed of the corporate world, Blackstar’s specialty coffee store has shaved their operation down to a finely tuned maneuver designed to crank out mahogany fuel in record time. It’s the only way they can keep on top of the scores on scores of punters queuing up every day.
Pablo & Rusty’s
Desk jockeys in Waterfront Place, this one’s for you. Fresh from Melbourne, Pablo & Rusty's is here to entice you across the road from the comfort and sanctity of the ground level grind with their milk blends, single origins, and gizmos for brewing coffee at your desk the night before a deadline.
Keen for a spot of lunch alongside your coffee dash? Check out our picks of Brisbane's best lunches on The Directory.
Image credit: Ariana Gillrie