City dwellers and suits alike have been rejoicing over the rise of good CBD coffee in the last few years. The days of takeaways from Maccas or a chain cafe with no soul are gone, with speciality coffees from cool concept cafes and quality coffee kiosks officially replacing them.
No matter your route from the train station to the office or your usual lunch haunt, whether you’re hurrying between appointments or need a place for a coffee meeting, there is good coffee to be sniffed out nearby—we promise.
So before you settle for another too-hot, bitter excuse for a coffee with burnt milk, here are all the places to get the best coffee in the Perth CBD.
Mary Street Bakery
Allendale Square and QV1
Mary Street Bakery at Allendale Square is the best place to enjoy the morning rays and a good coffee before glueing yourself to your desk for the day. Sit at the high table and catch up on the morning news as sunlight reflects around the sharp fit-out. Sourcing from O’Connor-based roaster Pound Coffee and with a bunch of takeaway pastries (and freshly baked bread) from their baking HQ in West Leedy, you can’t go wrong. Of course, you can grab a quick takeaway here too or, if you’re up the other end of the Terrace, stop in at their extremely abundant kiosk at the bottom of QV1 (can confirm ya’ fav salted caramel doughnuts are available). P.S. There’s soon to be a third CBD outpost from MSB down at Hibernian Place—east enders rejoice!
With their astonishingly quick service and refined selection of brews (think single origins, cold brews and the best long black you may ever drink), it’s no wonder Lowdown is often hailed as Perth CBD’s numero uno spot to caffeinate. The personal details and familiar service aren’t lost in the hustle of it all, and if you’ve got time, you might even want to stop for lunch—the toasted sammy’s are to die for.
If you’re a sucker for an interior that Pinterest dreams are made of, then head to La Veen. The best part: their coffee isn’t compromising on quality, either. Paying homage to its heritage listed status, the exposed brick, warm wood and near floor to ceiling windows make for a coffee stop with a difference. If you can’t find it, just ask the people with the neon green lids on their cups.
If you’re looking for somewhere that feels like your own private hang out, Mo Espresso is definitely it. The place has some serious street cred with Perth coffee lovers, and it’s no wonder given they are crafting quality brews from Five Senses beans and putting some serious love into the whole thing (the place is a father-son project, and it shows). These guys are definitely pouring some of the best coffee in the Perth CBD. Also, if you need some stomach lining to go with that caffeine, their doughnuts, bagels and toasties will bowl you over.
Max & Sons
Brought to you by the peeps behind Mo Espresso, Max & Sons is your first point of call if you’re coming up from the Underground Station—or even if you’re not. Top Dup doughnuts, an impressive selection of sangas, and delicious Five Senses Coffee filtering through their gorgeous Synesso will have you rearing and ready for a hard day’s work ahead. Small batch coffee with flavours changing daily will also keep you coming back!
Sourcing their beans from Melbourne’s Proud Mary Coffee and Perth local’s Loaded Craft Coffee Roasters, Telegram Coffee's central location isn’t the only reason this place keeps busy. Sip on delicious coffee from your pretty pink cup (these babies are a reference to the building’s history of housing the GPO, from where many an important telegram were sent), then wander through the iconic Postal Hall to start your day out with a good dose of beauty.
Small Print Bakery & Roastery
Located on the basement level of Print Hall, Small Print is bringing Perth urbanites world-class coffee with beans sourced from around the globe, roasted and ground to craft some of the CBD’s finest espressos, pour over, cold brew and filtered coffee. Also offering up house-made pastries and more substantial eats, this is your go-to whether you’re in a rush or in need of a real meal (read: potato gnocchi with celeriac, beetroot, Swiss chard, hazelnuts and goats cheese).
Standing Room Only
As the name might suggest, Standing Room Only is not the place to go if you want to sit and catch up on emails. But, it’s definitely the place to go if you want some of the best coffee in the Perth CBD in a hurry. Keeping things fresh are their guest beans, which are brewed to perfection by the very serious baristas who have only one concern: keeping the corporates caffeinated. Speed through on your daily walk to the office, or grab-n-go when you’re shopping Murray or Hay Street malls!
Holmes & Co
A great spot for private morning debriefs over well and quickly made coffee, Holmes & Co is tucked away in the enclave between Wolf Lane, King and Murray Streets. One of the original spots for decent coffee in the CBD, these guys are brewing up Five Senses Coffee to be enjoyed either inside (it’s an eclectic little room with a real home-feel) or in the peaceful, leafy courtyard. Also, when you’re done with coffee for the day, you can stop in here on the way home and enjoy a very laid-back, completely un-pretentious beer in the laneway too—they love their live acoustics.
This hole in the wall CBD icon is brewing up more than just great coffee. Cafe Vinyl's quality brews go down best with one of their gigantic muffins, definitely unrivalled throughout the CBD in size (and potentially in flavour too). If you’re not in too much of a rush, peruse some of the epic vinyls that colour the walls or have a chat to the always friendly baristas.
A bit further up from Cafe Vinyl you’ll find another equally as charming and equally as poky coffee stop—Drip House. Well known for their cold drips, Drip House also offers up a variety of other single origin brews, changing regularly. Their central Perth location means they’re pretty flat out most of the time, but there’s no compromise made on quality—either of the coffees or the service—and the small space to chill and drink your coffee out the front somehow still feels slow-paced.
Extremely hard to miss, perched brightly on the corner of King and Hay Streets, Graffiti is keeping the busy bees of the Perth CBD happy with quality coffee and seriously tantalising takeaway food. There might be lots of places to get a good coffee in the city these days, but at Graffiti you can get your coffee with a flippin’ Portuguese tart alongside it—which is pretty hard to beat. BTW, your Portuguese tart fits perfectly on your cup lid, so it’s the perfect caffeine/sugar hit for peeps on the go!
160 Central Arcade
The hip newish addition to the slightly drab but well-loved food court in 160 Central Arcade, Greenhorns Deli is a great coffee stop if you’re flying between the Terrace and Hay Street. These guys are super friendly, make excellent coffee, and have a cabinet full of mouth-watering food that is everything cabinet-food usually isn’t: varied, substantial, fresh and healthy, with the occasional treat like Reuben toasties thrown in for good measure. Also, it’s gotta be one the cheapest coffees in town, not to mention their $3 daily-baked muffins that will blow your mind! P.S. If you’re seriously hungry, they will sort you out with daily specials (read: Southern Fried Chicken burger with house slaw and hand cut fries).
Panache is well known for its superfood lunches and organic options, but they do a darn good coffee here too. Roasting Toby’s Estate Black Swan Coffee Blend, Panache is a great option for those who take soy or almond milk in their coffees thanks to their health focus. Set in a pretty quiet spot on Mill Street with a rather large area to sit and enjoy, this is a great place for coffee meetings and slightly longer working lunches.
If coffee with a serious twist is your thing, Little Angel is your new favourite spot. But, if things like liquid nitrogen affogato aren’t your thing, don’t worry: their Five Senses Coffee brews come in more traditional and still finely crafted forms too. With a spacious seating area and a welcome atmosphere, Little Angel is a good choice for coffee meetings and catchups too!
Bringing the sweet smell of coffee beans roasting down to the eastern end of Hay Street is Bench Espresso, who offer up espresso and filter mostly takeaway. Enjoy your quality cup with a great view of the recently finished mural by street-artist Rone just across the road.
Tucked into the Hay Street end of Shafto Lane, Hopper Espresso makes for a quaint little inner-city escape from the daily grind when you need that coffee fix. Offering up Single Origins from Humblebee Coffee Roasters, these guys also please crowds with their tight little morning special—$10 brekky burger + coffee!
An absolutely beautiful spot to while away a couple of hours over a coffee or meet with friends for lunch, Tiisch also does well to keep up with the corporate coffee-loving crowd. They’re making serious coffee with plenty of imaginative but unfussy, quick bites to grab-and-go alongside it. But we predict that once you step inside you won’t want to leave, so come when you’ve got time to stay. Also, this place is quiet and offers a sense of privacy, so it’s a great spot to take clients for a low-key but still classy lunch—just make sure you book.
Slightly further north of Tiisch you’ll find this other west-end gem, Smooth Operator—you can’t miss the trendy little orange ‘Coffee’ sign that’s fixed outside. We love everything about this place, from the green suede bench seats to the well-kept fiddle figs, all the way to the glorious little vintage amber glass coffee cups. But the fit-out won't be the only thing you can’t get enough of: the coffee is seriously good, and the baristas are there to please.
Milktooth Coffee Dealers
It can be seriously hard to tell the riff from the raff on Barrack Street sometimes, but don’t let that stop you from visiting Milktooth Coffee Dealers, who are brewing up some very fine coffee from Toby’s Estate beans. Their $8 coffee + breakfast wrap deal on Fridays is also something to behold—you’ll be hard pressed to find a better deal than that on your way to work. Enjoy!
The Wolf Espresso
Escaping to Wolf Lane amid a busy day’s work is quite delightful, and The Wolf Espresso is your landing place. It’s got such a wholesome feel that if you don’t make it your regular spot for the stellar coffee, you definitely will for the chilled, homely vibe. A great spot to go with coworkers for a quick coffee break, to hang out for lunch, or to read the paper in the morning, The Wolf is an absolute diamond in the rough.
For coffee with just zero of the pretension, stop in at Crib Lane as you steam down Hay on your way to work. The morning sun hits their little alfresco area juuuust right, and you’ll enjoy your already delicious coffee all the more for it.
If you're a sucker for cold brew coffee, click here.
Image credit: Nancy Hanna at Milktooth and Small Print, Elle Borgward at Tiisch, Emma Bryant at Graffiti, Louise Coghill at La Veen