Guide to the 6 best coffee roasters in Melbourne (plus 3 bonus mentions)
With the holiday season coming to an end and workers returning to the office, I couldn’t think of a better time to write a guide to the best coffee roasters in Melbourne.
Before I get into it, I feel it’s important to distinguish what separates a good coffee roaster from an average coffee roaster. There are a few things that I feel separate the best from rest. Many coffee roasters in Melbourne might roast delicious tasting coffee that is prepared well and goes down easily, but the truth is, taste is subjective, so we can’t use that as the only measuring stick. Therefore, the coffee roasters mentioned in this guide are measured based on the quality of their coffee, social impact, and customer service.
Whether you’re a barista on the hunt for the best coffee in Melbourne or a foodie looking for a unique coffee experience, I genuinely hope this guide helps you get one step closer to tasting some of the best coffee in Melbourne.
Zest Coffee Roasters
Personally, from a coffee point of view, I only know a handful of roasters that offer something for everyone. Zest’s four coffee blends, which are sustainably sourced through ongoing and direct trade relationships with the farmers, range from coffee blends that provide a bigger flavour profile to others that are more subtle and sweet, like Libertango. Personally, If I had to choose a favourite, I’d go with Blackbird. From coffee subscriptions to single origin coffee and ninety plus coffee, there truly is something for every kind of coffee drinker at Zest Coffee Roasters.
Their single origins are second to none and can be roasted for both filter and espresso, allowing customers to experience them as both a long black or pour over. However, what stands out most is their ninety plus coffee selection which features a handful of truly remarkable coffee beans, including geisha coffee beans.
It’s hard not to say that the best part is not the coffee itself, but something I also really love about the company is how devoted they are to making all forms of specialty coffee accessible to every kind of coffee drinker. For example, you don’t have to fork out a wad of cash to get an opportunity to taste some of the best filter coffee in Melbourne. You can simply order a small tin on their website or visit Puzzle Coffee Bar on Swanston Street, which is one of their many partner cafes, and you’re on your way to tasting some of the best coffee beans in Australia.
In terms of social impact, the list is endless. However, one of the most exciting is their latest efforts to support Australian grown coffee. Head over to the blog to learn more.
Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters
Think of a tricked-out warehouse with Tribe called Quest bumping, flat whites pumping and hipsters, students and business folk coffee-hunting. Their flagship store, which is in Carlton, is situated a few hundred metres away from Melbourne University and is always buzzing.
The owner, who many consider the Godfather of the Melbourne coffee scene, is a die-hard when it comes to sourcing ethical, traceable, truly delicious and purposeful coffees. What do I mean by purposeful coffees? I won’t go into too much detail, but the company is uber dedicated to impacting with purpose (you can read their impact report if you’d like to learn more about their social initiatives in the coffee space).
So, if you’re in the Carlton area and busting for a coffee, pop in to Seven Seeds Cartlon. You’ll be greeted by friendly faces, and before you know it, you’ll be sipping on some of the best coffee in Carlton. Their retail shelf is always stocked with the freshest seven seeds coffee beans and other goodies, so you’d be more than covered if you’re looking for a souvenir for your trip.
Raspberry candy coffee blend. That’s all. No, it’s not all, but it’s one of my favourite things about ONA Coffee. ONA’s mission, which is passed down by their founder and owner, Saša Šestić, is very clear: ‘’Create great coffee and share it with as many people as possible.’’ Home to two former World Barista Champions and current World Cup Tasting Champion, ONA coffee has truly earned their place as one of the best coffee roasters in Melbourne.
I’ve visited ONA Coffee Melbourne a few times and each time the customer service was incredible. Getting an opportunity to drink some of the best filter coffee in Melbourne whilst having a passionate barista walk me through everything involved from sourcing to preparing the coffee was a truly unique experience. In terms of social impact, their efforts can be summarised by this quote: ‘’Creating great coffee is one thing but making sure that future generations can also enjoy it, is another.’’
Criteria Coffee Roasters
Craig Simon, who is incredibly well decorated in accolades both locally and globally, started Criteria Coffee Roasters with the vision to share his knowledge and expertise with the community.
Criteria Coffee is a co-roasting space where coffee shop owners, coffee professionals and others can learn how to cup, taste, brew and roast coffee at the highest level. Being involved in every link of the coffee chain has aided him with incredibly valuable skills that he actively passes on to other coffee entrepreneurs. In some ways, I like to think of Craig Simon as the Yoda of the coffee industry; he’s super friendly and always willing to pass down his knowledge and wisdom when it comes to all things coffee.
A personal favourite of mine is the Crowd Pleaser coffee blend which, as the name suggests, is a fan favourite amongst most coffee folk. Swing by the roastery and order a single origin espresso, which is pulled on their super nifty Modbar. Craig is intent on sourcing some of the best coffee beans in the world and his selection of single origin coffees is always great, so you can be sure you’re in for a treat.
Like many of the other roasters on this list, Market Lane share a very similar mission: ‘’Sustainably source, roast and share exceptional coffees.’’ Being one of the forerunners for specialty coffee in Melbourne, and having recently celebrated a milestone birthday, it’s safe to say that Market Lane are a bit of an icon in the specialty coffee industry.
In terms of coffee quality, they have a reputation for always delivering high quality, ethically sourced and incredibly clean coffees. Their work and dedication to bringing out the best in coffee is very clear across all their locations, in fact, most of their espresso bars would easily be considered as some of the best coffee shops in Melbourne.
Pillar Coffee (formerly God’s Honest Truth)
Two brothers, one mission: find the absolute, unquestionable truth in specialty coffee. Whether it’s designing equipment for the specialty coffee industry or tapping into brother Jake’s engineering knowledge, Pillar is always looking to push the envelope and question the status quo of how things are in the specialty coffee industry.
Physics, experience, passion and taste: the ingredients for the perfect cup. Their promise: ‘’when you buy that bag of coffee, you’re not just getting a bag of coffee, you’re getting the latest advancements the industry has to offer in every bean.’’ Suffice to say that there’s always something interesting happening over at Pillar. I personally love the research they’ve done on extraction, water science and coffee density.
A few other notable roasters are Small Batch Coffee Melbourne, Wood & Co Coffee Roasters and Bredda Coffee. Bredda Coffee is a personal favourite of mine. They are a small, relatively new roastery that was started by hospo legends and power couple Jerome Rossler and Fran Lee. The company is focussed on showcasing their favourite producers and their high-quality and exotic offerings by roasting and sharing coffee in a fun, approachable way.
So, if you’re wondering where to buy coffee beans in Melbourne or simply looking for Melbourne’s best coffee, my recommendation is to work through the roasters on this list, make your own list and add to it as you go. I sincerely hope this has helped point you in the right direction. Happy coffee brewing everyone!