It’s said that Melbourne is Australia’s caffeine capital, but Adelaide is nipping its heels with a proliferation of specialty- and artisan-focused cafés.
La Moka feels like an espresso bar you might find in Milan: vibrant yellow door, copper pendant lights, large louvre window, and patterned tiled floor. Coffee is an organic Fairtrade blend that’s dark yet velvety, and there’s the added advantage that, in the afternoon, this place transforms into a sultry little wine-and-cocktail den.
16a Peel St, Adelaide
Exchange Specialty Coffee
This East End hotspot quickly gained a cult following when it opened in 2013. Last year’s revamp and expansion simply upped the game. Beans are roasted by Market Lane in Melbourne; the seasonal blend changes about every eight weeks and there are up to four single-origin options at any given time.
Shops 1 & 2, 12–18 Vardon Ave, Adelaide
Image: Exchange Specialty Coffee
Handsome and the Duchess
This is one of Adelaide’s most sought-out establishments for an AM-coffee fix. Beans are roasted by local small-batch specialty-coffee crew, Monastery, and coffee guru Syed Haider transforms them into espressos, macchiatos, flat whites, cappuccinos – whatever you desire – with meticulous care, and a smile.
16 McHenry Street, Adelaide
Loved by name, loved by nature – this Mile End café is a firm favourite among the well-caffeinated. The house blend is Modena from DiBella and there are additional single-origin options for connoisseurs. The overall vibe is laidback, the service warm and attentive, and, just like on the menu, the décor a vibrant melange of Asian and Middle Eastern influences.
39 Gladstone Road, Mile End
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Monday’s Coffee Store
There’s no sign out front, and apart from the merchandise (beans, naturally, and a tote hanging in the window), you might never know its name. Maybe that’s because it’s named after the worst day of the week – Monday: ugh. But the coffee crafted on the constantly buzzing La Marzocco machine will make you feel like it's Friyay – every single day.
Shop 7/38 Gawler Place, Adelaide
My Kingdom For A Horse
It’s a time warp gone right – a blonde yellow brick exterior made super-cool thanks to ’70s-inspired geometric wall art, a tropical mural and coloured bentwood chairs. Eclecticism works here – but the real star is the coffee. They roast their own: the blend is intense with a delightful caramel hint, while filter, cold-drip and black espresso options highlight the unique characteristics of different single-origin beans.
191 Wright Street, Adelaide
Image: My Kingdom For A Horse
There might be bearded dudes behind the counter, but this place is less millennial-hipster, more cool-90s-grunge; think: pleasantly nostalgic and, importantly, approachable. The menu includes easy-going brekkie and lunch staples, and the Five Senses-roasted house blend, flowing from the Synesso machine, is smooth and strong.
219 Gilbert Street Adelaide
FIX. Speciality Coffee
At the intersection of two leafy back streets in College Park, one only needs to witness the volumes of cars that pull in for takeaways every morning to recognise FIX offers a zippy buzz-in-the-’burbs vibe that’s pretty special. Beans hail from Melbourne outfit Wide Open Road, while the abbreviated menu helps cure any mid-morning hunger pangs.
27 Torrens Street, College Park
Image: FIX. Speciality Coffee
Larry & Ladd
Larry & Ladd lurks in the cool tiled recesses of the revamped Regent Arcade. Coffees (from a bespoke Five Senses blend) are wittily named after their size – Biggie and Smalls – and also hint at the style of tunes pumping through the speakers. Fancy a snack? The Mushroom Truffle Toastie is where it’s at.
36 Regent Arcade, Adelaide
Tucked into the foyer of a surf shop, on one of the city’s main drags, the Seafaring Fool is a hole-in-the-wall where people often loiter. Why? They’re waiting for their perfectly primed caffeine hit from owner and barista Alistair Corston, who has some serious cred as a seafarer, hence the name. Though based on the popularity of his brew, Corston is far from a fool.
121 Grenfell Street, Adelaide
Top Image: FIX. Speciality Coffee
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