Review: Melbourne cafe tour highlights the inner-city’s vibrant coffee culture

Coffee-crazy Melbourne has enough café choice to bamboozle even the most ardent of caffeine-connoisseurs. You’ll literally find an espresso bar stuffed into every inner-city nook and cranny. Want to know where to find the best brews? Join this city cafe walking tour with those in the know. Review: Gayann Walker

Melbourne cafe tour

Melbourne cafe tour: Patricia Coffee Brewers

4.5 stars

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. Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.

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 Melbourne cafe tour, which takes in several of the city’s most innovative coffee houses.

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.

Melbourne cafe tour

Melbourne cafe tour. Image: Adam Ford

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.

Melbourne cafe tour

Melbourne cafe tour. Image: Adam Ford

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!

Melbourne cafe tour

Melbourne cafe tour. Image courtesy of Koko Black

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.

Melbourne cafe tour

Melbourne cafe tour. Image courtesy of Gayann Walker

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.

The Big Bus tour and travel guide travelled as a guest of Hidden Secrets Tours.


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