According to statistics, three out of four Australians enjoy a good cup of coffee every day (not that we needed statistics to tell us that!). The coffee culture in Cairns is said to equal that of Melbourne, known as Australia’s coffee capital, so it’s no surprise that there’s a strong demand for a good cuppa in this tropical city.
Home to some fantastic award-winning cafes and speciality coffee roasters, Cairns has a huge range of coffee spots to go to kick start your day with a caffeine fix or catch up during the day with friends. We drove around the city (in a luxurious Porsche Macan from Cairns Luxury Car Hire, we just have to say!) to find the best cup of coffee in Cairns and the top cafes in the city, five which we’ve listed here (and not in any particular order).
Having learned that Cruze Coffee is owned by Gilberto Risa, an Italian affectionally known as the “Godfather of Coffee”, we couldn’t wait out the Grafton Street café and sample one of its 30 varieties of coffee. The boutique roastery, which sources coffee beans locally, from renowned coffee-growing regions of Australia and from all over the world, roasts its beans daily so you know your coffee is always deliciously fresh. Not only does Cruze serve up one of the best cups of coffee in Cairns, it also sells coffee beans to help you capture that same flavour at home (although it never really does match the in-café experience!).
Located in the leafy suburb of Freshwater, a short drive from Cairns’ CBD, Vines Café opened in 2014 and has become of the city’s secret gems of a café, visited by coffee lovers from all over Cairns. Nestled in the lush surroundings of Limberlost Nursery (an iconic Cairns’ nursery that’s been around for 63 years), Vines has become a popular coffee lovers’ hangout. Not only does the cafe serve outstanding coffee, it also has artisan cakes and desserts available, all freshly baked in house. If you’re after a hot coffee or an iced coffee in a relaxed outdoor environment that’s conducive for lingering and relaxed catchups, Vines is definitely a must-visit café.
Undoubtably, one of the funkiest coffee cafés in Cairns – if not the funkiest – is Caffiend, an inner-city hotspot for those who love fresh roasted coffee, hip art, fabulous food and chilled music. We heard that the café ranked 25 of Australia’s top 100 coffee spots by user-review website Yelp in 2016, so we just had to visit. We have to admit, we were immediately impressed and loved our coffees. As Cairns’ locals who like to promote local businesses, we also loved the fact that Caffiend uses produce from local coffee roasters The Tattooed Sailor Coffee Roasters as well as local farmers for their food menu. Foodie lovers also love this chic spot, where its chefs mix up the menu regularly to give regulars plenty of breakfast and lunch options made with fresh, local and seasonal produce.
Sipping the perfect cup of coffee while also enjoying picturesque views of Trinity and watching the passing boats cruise by is a must-do coffee experience for everyone who lives in or visits the city. That’s one of the reasons why we just had to stop for a coffee at Wharf One, at the northern end of Trinity Wharf. The coffee, made from fresh beans grown and roasted in the region without using harsh chemicals or fertilisers, was the first thing we loved. Then we checked out the menu featuring dishes also made with produce from local farmers. Not only does the café suit coffee lovers and lovers of good food, it’s also the perfect cafe for families with a Fig Tree playhouse just outside so parents can linger over coffee and keep an eye on their children. While we don’t have children yet, we were thrilled that our furry baby, our dog, was also welcome at this true family-friendly café.
Botanic Gardens Restaurant/Café
Tucked away among the sensational Flecker Botanic Gardens in Edge Hill is the best rainforest-setting café you’ll find just kilometres from inner-city Cairns (4kms, to be exact). The gardens itself are a tropical oasis with 38 hectares of plants, and the café is nestled coolly and in shade amongst the verdant gardens. It’s a fantastic spot to slow down, enjoy a perfect cup of coffee, breathe in the rainforest scents and just chill. While it’s known for providing delicious coffees, it’s also renowned for its large servings of breakfast and lunch dishes. While its huge plates of freshly made Belgium waffles are sure to leave you feeling very full, the good news is you can re-energise with a stroll around the gardens afterwards!
While we have only listed five of the best places to enjoy a coffee in Cairns, there are many more to explore, which we definitely plan to do. But what we really want to find next is the best drive-through coffee café/shop in the city. Not because we’re in a rush to grab a coffee on the way to work or a meeting, but because we’d like to sit back in style and enjoy a perfect cup of coffee while spending more time driving around in our Porsche Macan from Cairns Luxury Car Hire.