Melbourne cafe tour with Hidden Secrets Tours
This Melbourne cafe tour will introduce you to the inner-city’s amazing coffee culture. Enjoy a walking tour of some of the city’s best cafes, and meet the owners that have played a role in shaping Melburnians’ thirst for the best coffee. A cafe lunch is included. Duration: 3 hours (approx.)
With over 3,500 cafes in the Melbourne CBD, deciding which one to head to for your morning coffee is a daunting task — particularly if you’re a visitor.
Hidden Secrets Tours solves that problem with their superb Melbourne cafe tour. It takes in several of the city’s most innovative coffee houses, and includes a delicious cafe lunch.
The tour starts in front of the Hill of Content Bookshop on Bourke Street, which opened back in 1922. We learn from our guide Caity that the city’s coffee culture began to develop even earlier. You may be surprised to learn that Melburnians started getting their caffeine groove on as far back as the 1860s, following an influx of Italian migration sparked by the Gold Rush. The Italians arrived with a love of coffee and spent years attempting to convert the predominantly tea-loving public.
By the 1960s, traditional Italian cafes like Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar were flourishing. Back then it was all about making an espresso for the customer to quickly throw back and move on.
We head off through the city’s network of laneways to Ridgeway Place at the top end of town — near the architecturally stunning Monaco consular building. Our first stop is Liaison Café, with its contemporary artwork and cool vibe. The coffee is superb and we get to indulge in a French-style canele, with a crisp exterior and creamy centre.
From the 1980s cafes started to become more than just a place to grab a coffee. Many began to offer light meals and sweet treats. Renowned Melbourne chocolatier and coffee house Koko Black has certainly carried that tradition forward. We call in to sample their exquisite Java truffle — a creamy coffee and cognac-flavoured centre, surrounded by dark chocolate. Heaven!
Somehow Caity coordinates it so we all board the same tram for a ride down Collins Street. We end up at Patricia Coffee Brewers — a compact cafe that offers a smartly curated selection of baked goods. The space is impressive for its architectural features, including the black and white mosaic floor.
Patricia only serves three styles of coffee — black, white and filtered. After sampling the amazing filtered brew, we’re all ready for something else sweet. Caity leads us to La Belle Miette, with its display case of enticing macarons.
There’s one last stop on this Melbourne cafe tour — Captains of Industry, which is also our included lunch venue. Up the stairs we go and into a space full of natural light from large windows overlooking Elizabeth Street.
The space is shared between a café, a barber, a leather goods maker and Welfe Jewellery. The food and coffee are delicious. The space feels like a throw-back to the industrial revolution, blended with a splash of The Great Gatsby. It’s certainly been a day of caffeine-fueled surprises and this is possibly the best one yet.
Gayann travelled as a guest of Hidden Secrets Tours.
About the writer
Gayann Walker is a Perth-based freelance writer with a passion for travel, adventure and a good feed. Born in Boston, Gayann has lived in Perth since moving from the Gulf Coast of Florida in 2010. She has an eclectic travel style that varies from rugged adventures (such as climbing Mt Kinabalu and roughing it in the jungles of Borneo) to relaxing on beautiful beaches and sipping cocktails. Gayann has travelled extensively through Australia, Asia, Europe and the United States.