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 sub-par instant coffee in the kitchenette first thing in the morning.
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 the day (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 we 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.
Noosa Chocolate Factory
Though technically an outlet for the Noosa Chocolate Factory, this hole-in-the-wall spot has deep respect for both kinds of grind. From their lodgings on Adelaide Street 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.
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.
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.
Duce & Co
Here’s a hot tip for you: if you’re having a bad day, it’s said that a coffee from Duce & Co cures all. This hidden gem is tucked away on Edward Street, but despite being in the heart of all the action, patrons cherish its quiet and cosy atmosphere. Not only are Duce & Co’s brews served steaming hot, but their staff are warm and friendly too, meaning you’ll always be served with a smile.
With a shopfront in the historic Tattersall’s Arcade, you’ve probably walked right past Marchetti without ever having realised it. Don’t worry—we’re here to tell you what you’ve been missing out on. The small Italian café and wine bar serves up premium Italian espresso, wine and delicious food to boot. Pick up a freshly toasted panini or a buttery croissant to accompany your morning brew, and thank us later.
If you’re a fan of Brisbane’s laneways, pick up a cuppa from Coffee Iconic. This hole-in-the-wall cafe backs onto a secret garden oasis filled with lush greenery and street art to give you a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. Serving up two delicious blends daily, the crew rotate through a range of single origins to accompany their house blend, so there’s always the chance to try something new.
Bean Cafe & Bar
Missing the streets of Melbourne? You’re in luck. Bean Cafe & Bar promises all those ‘Melbournesque’ vibes without the ‘tude and the complex coffee lexicon (sorry Melbournians. You know we love you. And your coffee). Clock in some much needed chill time with a cup of artisan coffee to brighten your morning—or a craft beer to get you through the afternoon.
Keen for a spot of breakfat alongside your coffee dash? Check out our picks of Brisbane CBD's best brunches here.
Image credit: Ariana Gillrie