The Adelaide coffee scene has had an extraordinary transformation recently. Gone are the days of burnt espressos, milky lattes and amateur coffee art. Specialty coffee shops are popping up around town by the dozen, which has left many Adelaideans spoilt for choice. Forget about Starbucks and Cibo, it’s all about the independent edgier cafes where coffee is an art in itself.
Due to the number of quality coffees in Adelaide, this list concentrates on speciality coffee shops rather than pop ups and cafes.
If any coffee shop was to win the crown for best coffee in Adelaide it would have to be Bar 9 in Parkside. Affectionately described by themselves as “a coffee nerds shed”, Bar 9 is a grassroots espresso bar serving ethical and quality driven roaster, Five Senses Coffee. When it comes to a good brew, these guys really know their stuff; they even roast a few singles on site. The quality does not stop at their coffee, even their milk is sourced from a boutique farm in Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills. Its full bodied and creamy flavour is a dream for that perfect cappuccino. They also have a great brunch menu.
With its plethora of quality restaurants and bars Leigh Street, in Adelaide’s West End, keeps getting better and better. If only more Adelaide streets could be as cute and characterful as this. For a quality coffee in the CBD, you can’t go past the Coffee Branch – a bustling industrial chic café full of caffeine hungry patrons. The pavement-side tables are a perfect spot to people watch. The service is super slick here, so don’t be scared off by the line up if going in peak times. Melbourners will feel at home in this hipster hole in the wall style establishment.
This unpretentious café in Gilbert Street has quickly become one of Adelaide’s hottest coffee spots. With a fairly unassuming shopfront, Paddy’s Lantern has a sleek warehouse feel to it which is warmed up by its friendly , chilled out vibes and quality brews. They also have a great selection of cold brews for those warm summer days. At last I have an excuse to head down to this traditionally sleepy part of town.
Ebenezer Place in Adelaide’s East End has transformed into one of Adelaide’s trendiest coffee hubs. Serving guest espressos as well as beans from Melbourne’s Market Lane, Exchange Coffee have nailed it. The espresso and filter coffee are exceptional. There is no pretense here; the staff are super friendly and helpful. It’s no surprise that owner – Tom Roden – worked at one of my favourite coffee/brunch haunts in London – Workshop Coffee.
If you are lucky enough to have A Mother’s Milk as your local you are in for a treat. The experienced baristas know how to make a good coffee here. The café has a rustic industrial feel with its exposed brick walls, graffiti and warehouse style crates which double as seats outside. If you are into brunch you will be in for a treat with their delicious range of goodies like smashed avocado and fetta and roasted pumpkin bruschetta.
As far as atmosphere and interiors go, this would have to be my favourite coffee haunt in Adelaide. You may feel like you have been transported back in time in this old school style café full of antique mirrors and vintage touches. In fact, it is so warm and cosy you may never want to leave. Their house blend is the light and buttery Five Senses Coffee which is served in mismatched vintage crockery. They also serve some of the best sandwiches in Adelaide – the pork belly sandwich comes highly recommended.
Even if you’re not a local, it’s worth making a short detour from the city to visit this specialty coffee store – The Coffee Barun in Sefton Park. The Barun produces coffee of the highest quality, focusing on ethically traded seasonal beans which change regularly according to crop quality and availability. Some of the current selections include the Ethiopian Harrar, Costa Rican Micro Mill and the Columbian Pitalito Supremo. The service is friendly so don’t be afraid to ask what’s roasting.
Strange name – great coffee! This hipster style café on Ebenezer Place focuses on locally sourced produce at affordable prices. After enjoying one of their excellent coffees and a gourmet toastie, you certainly won’t be feeling sad for long. There is also a hair/fashion salon attached called DAS (anagram for SAD). Perch on the stools by the shop front and watch the East End crowd at work.
Eastern suburbs residents flock to Taylor Blend Espresso on Hallett Road for their excellent coffee and friendly staff. They use a unique combination of three single origin beans sourced from the finest growers of their regions. There is also a large alfresco area where you can sit outside and enjoy the serenity in the sunshine. The coffee art may be questioned by the fussiest of coffee coinesseur, being served as a chocolate syrup rather than chocolate powder.
It’s good to see Jetty Road breaking away from its tacky chain stores to open more boutique shops and cafes. One of the latest spots to hit Jetty Road is Pure Boutique Coffee Bar. This buzzing coffee spot is the place to be in Glenelg at the moment, so get there early to avoid the crowds. Self claimed purveyors of fine coffee, Pure serve up a range of blends like Five Senses Coffee and a good range of organic and fair trade blends.
Special mentions also to Felici Espresso Bar, Please say Please and First Pour and some of the great pop ups like Little Seed and Small Batch Coffee.
What are your favourite coffee spots in Adelaide? Leave your comments below!