Coffee on Campus: A Somewhat Comprehensible Guide

Eliza S. is a 2nd year BA student studying Media and Comms and Film and Cultural Studies. She enjoys coffee, procrastination, fantasy fiction, wasting time online, rhyming, long walks far FAR away from any beach and (obviously) writing.

When I first set foot on campus I formulated a plan. A plan to get a cup of coffee from every available café and kiosk on campus. Today my aim to gather as much intel on campus coffee as I could without going bankrupt will finally be of use to the world. All you coffee lovers out there, I now bequeath my knowledge to you.

(All awards awarded in this blog piece, while researched, are very much opinion based. If you believe them you are making the conscious choice to trust me: a second year who spends all her money on glorified bean juice.)

The Best Service Award goes to….

Garage Café

The Garage Café, located just down the road from the Spot, is one of the coolest coffee shops I’ve ever set foot in. This is the sort of café where they give you a menu when you sit down, but somehow also a place where you can get coffee and a decent meal for $10-$15. A rare combo.

The staff are kind and smiley, the service is quick and the chairs are comfortable. Is it to cliché of me to claim that the short walk from the street into the garage transports you into a beautiful world of high ceilings and echoing footsteps with the smell of coffee instead of petrol? Well that’s my impression of the place, and my impression of their calamari is even better.

The Strongest Coffee Award goes to…

Porta Via Espresso Bar

Riddle me this dear readers, who among us values strong coffee the most? Law students, that’s who. If you feel like making your way across University Square for a good strong coffee, then Porta Via is the place for you.

Located on the side of the law building, these baristas know how to make a single shot cappuccino taste like a double. I’m not sure how they doing it, but I figure it’s better not to question the magic and instead to get off at Lincoln Square on the Swanston St tram and detour here before a morning lecture.

The Cheapest Coffee Award goes to…

Union House

If you don’t pass a 7/11 in your travels to uni ($3 jumbo coffee, and it tastes better than you think it would, especially at 8am) or if you’re already on campus and looking for something cheap, union house is your saviour.

La Bonne Bouffe and Chill Out both have small coffees for $3. Ultimately the coffee at both is lovely, and your choice should therefore be based on what snack you want to pick up along with that coffee. If you’re in the mood for sweets by all means head over to La Bonne, but I generally take advantage of the $5 muffin-coffee combo at Chill Out.

The Jumbo Award goes to…

Professor’s Court Cafe

If you’re near the Baillieu Library you really can’t do better than Professor’s Court Cafe. It’s recently been moved to the prime location of just inside of the Co-Op, and the jumbo coffee here is the biggest size cup I’ve seen on campus. Plus it’s only $4.50, not bad for a coffee I struggled to finish. Also the muffins here are amazing. Seriously I’m considering giving the muffins their own award. You know what…

The Most Amazing Muffins Award goes to…

Professor’s Court Café Muffins. This cafe taught me that cookies and cream muffins exist in the world. Need I go on?

The Hidden Gem Award goes to…

Books n Bites

Okay so this cafe isn’t technically on campus, but it’s literally across the street from the Spot and it’s my favourite cafe, so I’ve elected to make an exception. This is the Central Perk to my Friends, the Luke’s Diner to my Gilmore Girls.

Have you ever dreamed of having a coffee shop remember your order? Well that happened to me at this coffee shop. The staff are wonderful, nine times out of ten you will get a table, I want to steal all the crockery for my own kitchen and, most importantly, the coffee is incredible. Take the time to sit down and have lunch or meet with a friend at this place. Bask in its glow.

Honourable Mentions to…

Carte Crepes

Coffee and crepes, what an amazing idea. However, have you ever tried to hold a coffee and eat a crepe at the same time? Let me tell you now, it’s impossible. But the coffee is good and reasonably priced, and the crepes are amazing, just make sure you have somewhere to sit.

Castro’s Kiosk

This kiosk has, undoubtably, the best named coffees on campus, and also the widest variety of flavour. Feel like a little butterscotch, grab a Cowboy Mocha. Like banana flavouring with your caffeine, grab an Hawaii 5-0. As a result this kiosk is always crowded even though it’s small and hidden in between Physics South and Elizabeth Murdoch, but worth the wait if you have the time. The hot chocolates here happen to be the best I’ve found on campus.

Toothpicks Cafe

If I had to sum up this cafe in one word it would be charming. Since I’m not limited to just one word, I’ll also give you convenient and cosy. There’s a wide selection of food on offer, as well as lots of seating. This is the kind of cafe where you can sit and talk with friends and not feel crowded or rushed. It’s located just near the Swanston street tram stop, outside of the Royal Dental Hospital, but somewhat ironically the coffee is more sweet than strong.

So what say you? Did I miss your favourite coffee shop? Have I unearthed somewhere new for you to try? Got any recommendations for me? Leave them in the comments below!

– Eliza

10 Comments

  1. Lot 6 cafe at the 1888 Building has IMO average coffee but the cakes are ok. The place rocks on a Friday evening with people

  2. I think the best coffee on campus is the one I make myself with freshly ground beans from Padre… The best one to buy IMO is Standing Room.

  3. Hi Eliza!

    You should try Coffee Nomad at Tin Alley in front of Melbourne Uni sport, they have a pretty good coffee as well :) also a unique way to sell coffee😅😅

    >

  4. I’ll admit the coffee is hit and miss, but I love sitting at the cafe in the walkway of the Alice Hoy building. The food is good and the staff are just so HAPPY. 100% makes my day! My friends and I can’t remember the name, it’s just “The Happy Lady Cafe” to us.

    1. I believe you’re talking about the Shanti Bhagwan Cafe, I’ve only been a couple of times but they were a front runner for best service, the staff are lovely :) Great recommendation!

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