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    Locals guide to the best coffee in the Cairns CBD

    From short macs and piccolos to cold brews and cappuccinos, this is Tropic Now's guide to the best coffee spots in the heart of Cairns.


    Some people in Cairns like it steaming hot. Others prefer it when their cup runneth over with milky foam.

    Most still go for tried, tested and traditional favourites, while an increasing number of connoisseurs lean towards smaller, more cosmopolitan variations.

    Whatever your choice of coffee might be, the Cairns CBD has you covered.

    Such is the prevalence and quality of cafes in the five or so blocks in the centre of Cairns, some are even calling our city the little Melbourne of the north.

    Our panel of local experts - or coffee addicts as the case may be - did the hard yards and sampled the very best coffee the city has to offer.

    Here’s our list of the best, in no particular order. 


    Cruze Coffee

    AVERAGE SCORE: 4.7 OUT OF 5

    LOCATION: 105 Grafton St

    FAVOURED BY: Rusty’s Markets shoppers, office and retail shop workers, backpackers, locals in the know

    GO THERE FOR: The big, warm personality of owner Gilberto Risa - or Gil for short - and his vibrant staff. High quality and range of coffee beans (over 30 different beans) on offer. Grab a take home bag of ground coffee or beans while you’re there.

    NOTABLE QUOTABLE:

    "Best coffee shop I have ever been to. Happy friendly staff, free hot chocolates for the kids but all in all I love the variety of coffees. Staff more than happy to mix and match for something different. Will definitely be back." - Leanne Hallam on Facebook

    SCORES

    BEANHUNTER: 8.4/10

    FACEBOOK: 4.9/5

    TRIP ADVISOR: 5/5

    ZOMATO: Not rated


    Caffiend

    AVERAGE SCORE: 4.4 OUT OF 5

    LOCATION: Shop 5, 78 Grafton St

    FAVOURED BY: Creative types, foodies, backpackers, laneway explorers

    GO THERE FOR: The amazing and ever-changing aerosol art on the laneway wall, delicious breakfasts and lunches, cold-drip coffee and owner Oliver James' intricate knowledge of all things caffeine.

    NOTABLE QUOTABLE:

    “Caffiend is my favourite coffee shop in Cairns! Amazing coco syrup which tastes great in a latte or a cappuccino, super friendly staff and great atmosphere. We were only in Cairns for 5 days but ended up coming here every day - we love it!”, Milly Stevens on Facebook.

    SCORES

    BEANHUNTER: 8.8/10

    FACEBOOK: 4.7/5

    TRIP ADVISOR: 4.5/5

    ZOMATO: 4/5


    Sing Sing

    AVERAGE SCORE: 4.9 OUT OF 5

    LOCATION: 82C Lake St

    FAVOURED BY: CBD office and retail workers, laneway explorers, hipsters

    GO THERE FOR: The new kid on the Cairns CBD coffee scene. Part of the ongoing refurb of 'The Walk' Laneway off Lake St. Baristas care about making the perfect cup. Love the breakfast of chia seed soaked in coconut and almond milk with blackberry and mango and Sing Sing's house made granola.

    NOTABLE QUOTABLE:

    “What a beautiful little coffee shop, absolutely love this place. The owner Richard can turn your bad day into an amazing one with his ALWAYS positive attitude. What a beautiful human being. The coffee is delicious and the perfect temperature every time, and the cookies and other hand-made treats are delicious.”- Kelly Grace on Facebook

    SCORES

    BEANHUNTER: 9.4/10

    FACEBOOK: 5/5

    TRIP ADVISOR: 5/5

    ZOMATO: Not rated


    Silk Caffe

    AVERAGE SCORE: 4.24 OUT OF 5

    LOCATION: Cnr Spence and Sheridan Sts

    FAVOURED BY: Lawyers, police, public servants and court staff, as well as delegates attending conferences at Cairns Convention Centre

    GO THERE FOR: Tasty and well-priced lunch snacks (especially the salads), friendly staff, and for the sweet (and brave) tooth...Nutella Ice Coffee made with a double ristretto, milk and Nutella and bottled daily instore.

    NOTABLE QUOTABLE: 

    “Hadn’t been to Silk for over a month and the barista remembered my order soon as he saw me! Always so consistent, never too hot,definitely the perfect 'cuppa'. So much love for silk!” - Carla de Vecchi via Facebook

    SCORES

    BEANHUNTER: 8.1/10

    FACEBOOK: 5/5

    TRIP ADVISOR: 4.5/5

    ZOMATO: 3.4/5


    The Chamber Room

    AVERAGE SCORE: 4.83 OUT OF 5

    LOCATION: Suite 43-47, Village Lane, 20 Lake St

    FAVOURED BY: Office workers, serious coffee drinkers, cold drip filter aficionados

    GO THERE FOR: A hardcore coffee experience of the best possible kind.

    NOTABLE QUOTABLE: 

    “The friendly team at The Chamber Rooms are taking Cairns culture up a notch. Relaxed and cool ambience. Professional and genuine service. Delicious snacks. Then the coffee. If it's a quick takeaway latte or a sit down experience you will be equally satisfied. Excellent espresso by boutique Melbourne roasters dialled in to perfection by the baristas. For something more take a seat at the brew bar and experience a constantly revolving menu of some of Australia's and indeed the worlds best coffees. Served in a multitude of alternative brewing techniques. The team will demystify specialty coffee and offer you a unique and often life-changing experience. Try something different you will not be disappointed. Great space in the air conditioned restaurant or out on the sunny porch to catch up with friends. 6 out of 5 stars!”- Char Lee Bucket via Facebook

    SCORES

    BEANHUNTER: 9.3/10

    FACEBOOK: 5/5

    TRIP ADVISOR: 5/5

    ZOMATO: NA


    Bang & Grind

    AVERAGE SCORE: 4.14 OUT OF 5

    LOCATION: 8/14 Spence St

    FAVOURED BY: CBD office and retail workers, tourists on their way to the Esplanade, business people in meetings, Johnathan Thurston

    GO THERE FOR: Friendly staff. Anti-snobbery coffee service. The chance to spot a footy legend. Informal business meetings. The Fizzy Back Slap - a kind of carbonated cold coffee with plenty of kick. 

    NOTABLE QUOTABLE:

    “Coffee is creamy and delicious, such a delicious flavour. Definitely worth going just for the coffee. Food is awesome food, best Turkish bread/toast, EVER. Service is just as good. Fave cafe, hands down.” - SalaA313 on Beanhunter, March 2017

    SCORES

    BEANHUNTER: 7.7/10

    FACEBOOK: 4.7/5

    TRIP ADVISOR: 4.5/5

    ZOMATO: 3.5/5


    Blackbird Espresso

    AVERAGE SCORE: 4.53 OUT OF 5

    LOCATION: Shop 13/Oceana Walk, 62 Grafton St

    FAVOURED BY: Coffee lovers, visitors from Melbourne and Sydney, Cairns Taipans players

    GO THERE FOR: Supreme coffee knowledge and expertise. Arcade ambience. Healthy snacks and treats. We love the "Magic" - a sort of 3/4 flat white.

    NOTABLE QUOTABLE:

    Noteable quote: “Best coffee in Cairns by a long way! These guys know their craft. Weighing the coffee so it's consistent, ensuring the timing is perfect and not burning the coffee like many cafes. They use 'proper' milk & clean the milk jug before each coffee is made. The cafe has a lovely earthy feeling about it too. The staff are a delight, and service is prompt despite the time and care put into every cup. Give this place a go, you won't regret it!” - Bronnie16 on Beanhunter, May 2017

    SCORES

    BEANHUNTER: 9.3/10

    FACEBOOK: 5/5

    TRIP ADVISOR: 5/5

    ZOMATO: 3.5/5


    Shop 3 Coffee & Tea

    AVERAGE SCORE: 4.88 OUT OF 5

    LOCATION: Cairns Square, 42 Abbott St

    FAVOURED BY: Locals in the know, tourists venturing off the Esplanade

    GO THERE FOR: The blends made from Golden Bean Award winners The Coffee Roaster Brisbane. Art exhibitions on the walls. Lunch salads. Excellent cold drip coffee.

    NOTABLE QUOTABLE:

    “It was the best coffee we have ever tasted. A nice quiet little corner of the world in the Cairns CBD. Very much a haunt of the locals more so than the tourists out on the main street but once we found it we made sure to partake of it's hospitality and, course, it's great coffee and very friendly service.”- Lauris J on Tripadvisor, June 2017

    SCORES

    BEANHUNTER: 9.3/10

    FACEBOOK: 5/5

    TRIP ADVISOR: 5/5

    ZOMATO: Not rated

    Pineapple Cafe

    AVERAGE SCORE: 4.68 OUT OF 5

    LOCATION: 92 Lake Street

    FAVOURED BY: The young and health-conscious, CBD workers, trendy travellers.

    GO THERE FOR
    : A cute and trendy coffee spot with some of the best wall art in the city. Healthy foods, acai bowls and raw desserts.

    NOTABLE QUOTABLE:
    "I had previously had coffee from this great little place and considered it to be some of the best coffee I have had since coming to Cairns."- Randi S on Tripadvisor, June 2017

    SCORES

    BEANHUNTER
    : 9.1/10

    FACEBOOK: 5/5

    TRIP ADVISOR: 4.5/5

    ZOMATO: Not rated


    Other hot spots for coffee in and near the Cairns CBD

    There are a range of other coffee providers in and around the Cairns CBD who don't quite fit into their own category, but they're all worth checking out.

    Rusty's Markets:

    Features some of the city's best coffee from Friday to Sunday, including Billy's Coffee, Barista Sista, The Coffee Works and iced Vietnamese coffee specialist Annee's Caphe. While not technically part of Rusty's, you can get a tasty cup from Refuge Clothing, which is on Grafton St right next to the entrance to Rusty's.

    CBD food joints with great coffee:

    While technically more popular for their food than coffee, local spots such as Candy, Paleo Cafe, Perrotta's and re:hab serve a mean cup of caffeine in their own right.

    Close to the CBD:

    Some of the city's best coffee is found just beyond the boundaries of the CBD.

    Best picks include Ten One Twenty at Edge Hill, Smith St Cafe just off Sheridan St heading out of town, Mama Coco's on Aumuller St (awesome dinners here too), Frame on McLeod St, Industry One on Scott St, Flying Monkey on cnr of Sheridan and Upward Sts and Ozmosis on Collins St, Edge Hill (across from Ten One Twenty!)

    Needs improving:

    If there is one gripe about coffee in the Cairns CBD, it relates to the quality on offer at local restaurants.

    While we love the food they serve, you'd be hard pressed to find the same level of coffee knowledge and expertise in local restaurants as you'll find in the coffee outlets and cafes listed above.


    Did we miss something?

    The cafe scene is always changing. So if there's a new addition to the CBD coffee lineup, please let us know by clicking here.