Canberra's Best Coffee

A feature article on HerCanberra, with the lowdown on the Canberra coffee scene.


Whether it's your morning pick-me-up, social lubricant, or lifelong passion, few things are more evocative than coffee. And as the Canberra days turn colder, the city's cafés will see a growing flock of people come through their doors in search of a warming espresso beverage. Luckily for Canberrans, there's no better time than now to find a great coffee and café experience in our city.

Two years ago I created Decaf Sucks along with the rest of the caffeine-loving crowd at Icelab as a place for us all to record our coffee drinking journeys. It has since become a vibrant and considerably useful resource for location-based café and coffee reviews. It is a place for us all to help each other find the good coffee and avoid the bad.

Since it is homegrown here in Canberra, it also has the internet's best coverage of cafés in our city, with 66 people having contributed over 335 reviews for 174 different cafés. Today I'd like to take you on a tour of some of Canberra's standout cafés, based on the opinions of the Decaf Sucks reviewers.

The hottest café in Canberra right now would have to be Lonsdale Street Roasters in Braddon. They've hit on a mix of great in-house roasted coffee, simple and well made food from a wood oven, and an always-bustling friendly atmosphere. Heading into Civic, we have Bean in the City, a hole in the wall that is big on coffee, as well as selling the best portuguese tarts in the city. Over in the west of the city, head into Harvest (the newest member of the Kingston Grind, Group 7 and Tonic family) and give one of their syphon or cold press coffees a try.

If you're in the south of the city, be sure to try Lava in Weston, for what could be the best coffee south of the lake. Or if you're after a meal and a place to hang out a while, head to A Bite To Eat, A Drink As Well, where you can enjoy the expansive space filled with raw brick, comfy lounges and 1970s-kitsch furniture, or soak up the sun in the courtyard out the back. It's also a good place for a beer if your visit lingers into the afternoon.

You needn't despair if you ever find yourself hankering for a caffeine hit in Fyshwick, since you can just head to Ona Coffee on Wollongong St, where they are serious about good coffee. Heading back north, the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets offers a couple of good coffee options among the fruit and veg, in Beppe's Tuscan Kitchen and As Nature Intended.

Finally, there's no dearth of decent coffee if you're heading for a drive outside Canberra. Try Cork Street Gallery Cafe in Gundaroo for a rustic outdoor dining area, where you can enjoy some delicious pizza with your coffee. In Bungendore, The Provincial Pantry has received much high praise from the Decaf Sucks reviewers, and The Albion in Braidwood looks to be the pick of a town that is already bursting with tasty food and drink options.

While that should certainly keep you busy for a while, we've only just scratched the surface. There's plenty of other good coffee to discover in Canberra, and Decaf Sucks can help you do it. Visit the site in your desktop browser and you can enter a location to see all the reviews for cafés in that area. If you're out and about, visit Decaf Sucks on your iPhone for an optimised experience that can show you the cafés around your precise location.

We'd love to welcome you into the Decaf Sucks family! We made Decaf Sucks as simple as possible for people to contribute, so please consider writing some reviews. All you need is an opinion to share and a star rating, nothing more. Better still, logging in is easy through connecting your Twitter or Facebook accounts. Your reviews will not only serve as a handy coffee diary, but also could be instrumental in helping introduce other people to fantastic new café experiences, whether in Canberra or further afield.

For all those times when you're happy to stay at home, we can also help you to drink great coffee. Last year we launched our coffee bean subscription service: Dispatch, from Decaf Sucks. We've teamed up with the Lonsdale Street Roasters to deliver a fresh and tasty bag of coffee beans to your door every month. We introduce different beans every month, making Dispatch a great way to discover new coffee flavours. It's an easy way to keep your cupboard stocked with fresh beans, and also makes for excellent gift idea. Check it out.

This month we have a special offer for the readers of HerCanberra. Write at least one review on Decaf Sucks, and you could win a free month's delivery of fresh Dispatch coffee beans. Just email us at hello(at)decafsucks.com to let us know and you'll in the running. We look forward to reading your reviews!


Tim Riley is a web developer who thinks almost as much about coffee as he does about building great experiences for the web and mobile devices. He lives in Braddon with his wife, and they love being just a stone's throw from many great cafés. Tim works at Icelab and blogs at openmonkey.com. His coffee of choice is the macchiato.