Spilling the beans on Darwin’s best coffee shops
“Who said Melbourne has the best coffee?”
The pace has certainly picked up over the last few years when it comes to great coffee shops in Darwin. Having lived in Darwin for over 20 years I can say The Cool Spot at Fannie Bay, Duck’s Nuts in the City and The Groove Café in Nightcliff now have some serious competitors.
Here’s my list of the top 8 coffee shops in Darwin. Is yours amongst them?
The Cool Spot in my mind has to be the most consistent and reliable coffee maker in Darwin. Some may say I am bias as it is my local coffee shop but why has no other coffee shop opened in the same complex? It speaks for its self.
They use the ever popular and I also say almost fail proof Vittoria Oro Coffee even a bad barista can produce good coffee. My coffee is also being made by the same barista’s for over 10 years.
A fantastic place to meet friends or take the kids after school for a milk shake or locally made Locastro ice cream. They also have a divine selection of locally made cakes and Greek deserts.
Duck’s Nuts boasts they have the best barista in town! So you would expect a great coffee which I am happy to say they do know how to make a great coffee. Currently using Di Bella coffee from Fremantle, it has a smooth, balanced and refined flavour. My experiences have been memorable and the quality is consistent.
One thing to note about Duck’s Nuts is it is also a Bar, although separated expect on some occasions it may be a bit noisy. But don’t let this stop you having a great coffee, you can always take away, wander across the road and enjoy the views along the Esplanade. Don’t forget to grab one of the raw cheese cakes or bliss balls they sell. The Jaffa Bliss ball was like eating a really Jaffa.
If you prefer to drink organic coffee The Groove Café serves Fair Trade coffee from East Timor one of Darwin’s local neighbours. They make the most amazing muffins which change daily. Predominately vegetarian there is also meat dishes on offer. Has a hippy kinder atmosphere but they are always friendly and very relaxed.
Another old favourite is The Roma Bar in Cavenagh Street. Probably one of the oldest cafes in Darwin and a great breakfast venue. It is busy first thing in the morning because of the take away coffee rush but worth the wait. A perfect place to chill and read the newspaper over a few coffees, as one is never enough. If you stay long enough lunch is also a well worth option, the food is extremely fresh.
Eat at Martins located at Coconut Grove just off Dickward Drive (you will see his VW Kombi out the front) is a vegetarian café using mostly organic produce. A quite little place with a real community feel. They make the best raw juices along with their coffee. My friend also recommends the Chai Latte’s too. A great place to catch up with a friend.
Java Spice on Bennett Street in the City is the coffee shop you go to if you want morning or afternoon tea. They have great cakes and serve Illy coffee. When you walk into the coffee shop the air is filled with a mixture of spices, vanilla and of course coffee. The décor is Asian art deco if there is such a thing, mixed with eccentric art work. Once seated they offer you a cold towel to refresh yourself and take your order.
So a couple of newbie’s which have recently opened are Eva’s at the Botanical Gardens and the Laneway Café in Parap.
Eva’s has the ideal setting amongst the Botanical Gardens and operates from the heritage listed Wesleyan Church. It is beautiful in the Dry Season but not sure how it will go in the Wet season as most of the seating is outside. It is dog and kid friendly you can even have your dog sit next to you at the table, not sure if everyone likes this idea but works for me as my little Frankie is a mummy’s boy and likes to be close by. The café uses mostly organic produce and the prices reflex this. They serve Petra’s Raw Cakes which are delicious and coffee by Botanica which I enjoyed. Service is a little slow and disorganised but I’m sure this will improve. A point of difference is they do offer many different types of milk to have in your coffee, such as coconut and almond milk so probably a good spot for coffee lovers with allergies.
My final review is on the most recent café/coffee shop to open The Laneway Café in Parap. If you can get a table and seat you are lucky. This place from day one is packed all day. I have managed to get a seat a couple of times and other times I have chosen not to wait outside in the line up to get a table. Yes people line up outside waiting for a table. It is not a huge café and a lot of room is taken up by a big table which you need to share. Expect it to be noisy but I don’t think anyone cares. Besides that the menu offers a fresh alternative menu different from others, coffee (Campo) is good and you also get table service so don’t get too relaxed and walk out without paying.
It sounds like all I do is go out and drink coffee (in my dreams) however it is important to me to make the time to catch up once a week with a friend to have a coffee or two and is always great to check out some new places and keep going back to my local.
I’m keen to visit Alley Cats along Mitchell Street they also have Campos coffee but their specialty is their homemade sourdough bread. If you have been there or want to tell me your favourite coffee place I would love to hear.
“you’ll never want to take them off!”