Melbourne knows coffee. Because of the bean, we have established one of the world’s best cafe cultures and it has extended past Melbourne into cities all over the world.
I am a born and bred Melburnian. I love traveling the world, but I love my city and what we have on offer here – which I am so proud of. Every weekend, I and my network of friends and fellow bloggers, can usually be found eating at one of Melbourne’s most popular (or not so well known, but still awesome) cafes. It’s how we Sunday, it’s how we brunch and it’s how we maintain our happiness after a long week at work.
How Big Is Melbourne’s Cafe Scene?
Well, this is not an easy question to answer. What does one even class “Melbourne” as being? For us, Melbourne is the CBD area, and inner city areas of Melbourne. But, Greater Melbourne also extends out even further into places as far as the Dandenong Ranges, Mornington Peninsula and more. But us locals still head out to these places because they are that good. For the purpose of this article though, I will just be focusing on Melbourne’s CBD, and inner city suburbs which are located no further than 15km beyond the city limits. The reason for this, is some of Melbourne’s best cafes, are not found in the CBD of Melbourne at all and it would be shameful to leave them out of this article.
Hopefully this will open your eyes to all that Melbourne offers. And if you are a local, maybe this will highlight exactly what coffee and cafe culture we really have here that you’re missing out on. The cafes listed aren’t always the ones which make it onto “Melbourne’s Best Coffee” lists by Timeout and Broadsheet. No, they are simply the places that us Melbourne locals love going to all the time, because they are consistent, value for money and a memorable experience. These cafes are our “locals”. They are reliable and do great coffee as well.
Now, not every possible cafe is on the list – and many I will be adding as the years go on. But any of these cafes are well worth visiting, and to miss them on any visit to Melbourne would be the ultimate shame.
Melbourne CBD’s Best Cafe Stops
33 Guildford Lane, Melbourne
Nestled away inside a laneway full of plants – which you could easily miss on any day, sits a real hidden gem with more than one cafe (see Cafe Krimper below too). Brick Lane is a real destination stop, which many locals and tourists swear by as reflecting quintessential Melbourne cafe culture. And when you see it, you’ll understand why.
The decor is industrial Melbourne, with white brick walls, hanging lights and just a relaxed vibe. The food on offer is everything you would expect from a laneway cafe. From typical brunch fare of eggs and smashed avo, to lunchtime sandwiches and salads. But if all you have time for is a takeaway coffee, they also have a coffee window for this very reason as well.
The coffee is really good here and so it should be – they use Rumble coffee beans, which I have always enjoyed. I’ve tried many latte’s in my time, and this is one I will come back for. Brick Lane is Melbourne’s hidden gem – (but those in the know know it!) and rightfully so. Do not miss it – even if there is a wait!
Brick Lane is open 7am – 4pm weekdays, 8am – 4pm weekends.
Brother Baba Budan
359 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
One coffee icon of Melbourne since 2007 – Brother Baba Budan is a must stop when visiting Melbourne’s CBD. No stranger to a celebrity visit either, US comedian Arj Barker said recently that Brother Baba Budan is his #1 coffee choice in Melbourne. He always makes it here when he’s in town. And so do I when I travel into the CBD.
Brother Baba Budan is more coffee shop than large scale cafe, but they are a worthy choice when it comes to coffee. Sister to Seven Seeds, and using their coffee here too; Brother Baba Budan also offers a number of small cakes and pastries. But it is the compactness of this place which makes it memorable. The highlight here, is the wooden chairs which hang suspended from the ceiling making Brother Baba Budan one of the most interesting in regards to decor, in the city. But, it is the ambiance here, which is extremely Melbourne – friendly staff, unpretentious menu items, great coffee, novelty ceilings and small spaces. Everything a good Melbourne coffee shop should offer!
Seating is limited, with some bar stool seating and a communal table on offer. A lot of people do get takeaway coffee from Brother Baba Budan which helps ease congestion, but if you wish to try this place out and sit inside, pick your time of day wisely as it can get very busy!
Brother Baba Budan is open daily 7am-5pm.
20 Guildford Lane, Melbourne VIC
Submitted by Michela of Rocky Travel
If you like walking in Melbourne, you may bump into Cafe Krimper. A lovely place with quirky interior design. I discovered this place on a self-guided tour of the laneways in Melbourne, and I was delighted. The site is tucked away in Guildford Lane, right in the heart of the city.
Cafe Krimper used to be a former sawmill, later on, it turned into a cabinetmaking factory and only recently they made a restaurant out of it. The design is what strikes you immediately after entering the place. Right in the middle of the room, there is an old lift car, various cabinets and quirky lamps made from old wheels and chains hanging from the ceiling.
I couldn’t try the food on that day, but I checked the dishes coming out of the kitchen, and the food looked very promising. I then read a lot of good reviews about this restaurant. The cuisine is mostly international with French and Japanese influences. Moreover, they are quite famous for their excellent breakfast and brunches. A place to try out among the many fun things to do in Melbourne.
Cafe Krimper is open daily, 7:30 – 5pm weekdays, 8:30- 4pm weekends.
Dukes Coffee Roasters
247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Duke’s Coffee Roasters are one of the most popular roasters in Melbourne – and rightfully so. I love them the most out of all the coffee offerings in Melbourne. Like most roasters, compactness is key here, though they do have some seating available, which is limited. But this just adds to its charm.
Duke’s strive themselves as a company which focuses on creating the best coffees in the world, with innovation and methodic roasting practices. They also work hard to ensure environmental sustainability remains a priority in everything that they do. No matter when you visit, there is always a line of people buying takeaway coffees – but you won’t wait very long for your drink! They do have some small pastries available as well.
Duke’s Coffee Roasters decor is simple but modern, with light wood finishings being a central theme. Duke’s is a real coffee treat in Melbourne. I love everything about it. The coffee is delicious. The atmosphere is 100% Melbourne. Do not miss having a latte here. Even if you have to take it away.
Duke’s Coffee Roasters is open Monday – Friday 7 – 4.30pm; Saturday 9 – 5pm. Closed Sundays.
201 Spring St, Melbourne
Father John is nestled just outside of the major restaurant hubs of Melbourne’s CBD area. While still part of the city, it sits within a stone’s throw of Parliament Station and the Princess Theatre. There are a few cafes located up this way, but unlike other parts of the city, it is rather limited for what you can find up here – but thankfully for us, Father John is here for Melburnians.
Father John is a fully fledged cafe, with a wide variety of menu items, from coffee to focaccias, gourmet salads, all day breakfasts and more. The coffee is great, using Allpress coffee beans which was born out of New Zealand, and the staff are friendly. The decor is one of the best parts about this eatery, with modern light fixtures, plants scattered around the space, black iron finishings and creamy white walls. It just feels nice to eat here.
Father John was established to bring back the basics of Melbourne’s cafe scene. Whether it be a sit down meal, a coffee on the run or a light bite; the atmosphere here is really inviting and reminds you of why Melbourne’s smaller cafes are just as relevant as the bigger options. If not better.
Father John is open weekdays 6am – 4pm and Saturday 7am – 3pm. Closed Sundays.
517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Grain Store is one of the most popular cafe/restaurants in Melbourne. It is always busy, but luckily they have some extra space to accommodate people – particularly those who dine solo, with some communal tables available as well.
Grain Store is basked in Melbourne history, paying homage to the older days when buildings along the Yarra River would be used as holding spaces for things like grain. Thus, how it got it’s name.
Grain Store prioritizes nature. It strives to use as many wholesome and natural ingredients as possible. They source their ingredients from local and environmentally friendly distributors, those who don’t use chemicals. Their menu is varied – their baked items look divine! But meals here are meant to be enjoyed as a culinary experience which combines rustic with modern – and above all tastes great. When I stopped by here, it was a weekday morning before a flight out of Melbourne, and I had a latte and banana bread. The banana bread was quite elaborate and it would be safe to say that this is the best banana bread I have ever eaten. It came with toffee banana, passionfruit, candied walnuts and coconut yoghurt.
The decor at Grain Store is comfy. From the large barn door, to the industrial feel of the ceilings and the plating of the dishes. This is a great space to spend catching up with friends or passing the time on a winter’s morning; even if enjoying a delicious meal solo.
Grain Store is open 7am – 4pm on weekdays, 8am – 4pm on weekends.
650 Little Bourke St, Melbourne
A mixture of Melbourne cafe and restaurant at it’s finest, Higher Ground is a local favourite for so many reasons. For some it’s the coffee, for others the food. But for me it’s the large space and decor, and the truly New York mixed with Melbourne feeling that Higher Ground offers. As a lover in equal measure of both Melbourne and New York, this is the ultimate for me. And everyone else it appears!
When we ate here we dined upstairs on the mezzanine level, which I completely recommend. It was away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the restaurant and best of all, we were able to enjoy the view for a moment looking down on everything below. The windows offer a lot of natural lighting, as well as symmetry. The brickwork and modern furnishings give it that New York loft feel. The coffee makes it quintessential Melbourne. It is a truly great space to dine in.
Higher Ground always has a line – weekdays or weekends. It is that popular. The food is delicious too. When I was here last, I dined with my friend LC who has provided two submissions further down the list. She ordered the Spiced Cauliflower, while I had the Eggs Benedict. We both enjoyed our meals. I really liked how the Eggs were plated up and the extra flavour touches it had which made it more unique than most eggs benedict menus. The iced coffee was really nice as well.
Higher Ground is open daily with varying opening hours.
Monday – Wednesday 7am- 4pm, Thursday – Friday 7am – 10pm, Saturday 8am – 10pm, Sunday 8am – 4pm.
Hopetoun Tea Rooms
Block Arcade, 1-2/282 Collins Street, Melbourne
Hopetoun Tea Rooms are one of Melbourne’s real historic icons. Located in the famed Block Arcade, Hopetoun is a must for any first time visitor. The decor here is old english charm with a true tea room vibe. But it is their storefront window which makes even passersby stop and take a photo. The Hopetoun Tea Room window, which is full of all their available desserts – from Raspberry Tarts, to Lamingtons, Pavlova and most recently, a replication offering of the Duke & Duchess of Sussex’s wedding cake, which was a lemon and elderflower mix.
Hopetoun is always busy. It always has a line unless you go very early. There is a queue forming rope put out to ensure patrons don’t block the entrance to the Block Arcade. But man is it worth it. I have dined here many times, so I have tried everything from their pumpkin soup to their tarts, their fruit crepes and of course their amazing scones. They do offer an afternoon tea here too, but you do need to book in advance for that.
If you are staying in Melbourne, a breakfast or an afternoon meal is a must for any foodie here. This is Melbourne’s truest food icon. But if you don’t have time to wait in line, or eat here, then the least you can do is come and see the Block Arcade and take a snap of it’s prized Hopetoun Tea Room window, and buy a take away dessert. Staff do take desserts from the window as they sell them, so for the best photos come early when it has all been placed out and is ready to eat.
Hopetoun Tea Room is open daily 8am – 5pm, except Sundays which are 9am – 5pm.
South Melbourne’s Best Cafe Stops
285-287 Coventry St, South Melbourne
One of Melbourne’s most eclectic neighbourhoods is South Melbourne. Home to the iconic South Melbourne Market which draws people in to this area every single day.
Right across the road from the market sits Chez Dre, a warehouse converted cafe which serves French inspired cuisine and desserts.
On a beautiful warm Sunday, a brunch here is at the top of everyone’s list largely because of the back courtyard it contains which makes a meal here truly relaxed. The menu is full of variety, with traditional French dishes like Croque Monsieur – a ham and cheese toasted sandwich or Croque Madame – a ham and cheese style sandwich with egg.
After you’re done, head to their sister property next door – Bibelot. I recommend the $30 dessert board, which has a mix of all the offerings in miniature. And as always, a detour through the South Melbourne Market is a must!
Chez Dre is open weekdays 7am – 4pm, weekends 8am – 4pm.
South Yarra’s Best Cafe Stops
Stables Of Como
Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra
Stables of Como is located right on the Como House Estate, but transformed the stables into an amazing eatery as the pictures can attest. The decor is fun, the food is delicious and the industrial vibe is just truly relaxing. This is how you Sunday on the outskirts of Melbourne.
If you have a birthday, bachelorette event or mothers day brunch, you really can’t go wrong here. But a breakfast, brunch or lunch on any day is a great way to spend a weekend.
Stables of Como is truly one of Melbourne’s best kept secrets. But to locals, it is one of the best places to have coffee or a good cafe style meal. Get on it if you are ever looking for that unique dining experience in Melbourne.
Stables of Como is open daily 9am – 5pm, (10am – 5pm on Sundays).
133 Chapel St, Windsor
Tusk is a great restaurant which caters not only to the coffee crowd, but to Chapel Street’s bustling cafe and nightlife scene. It isn’t odd to spot a celebrity here either, whether along the the street or in any of the cafes. Last time I was here, I sat along the window facing out to the street and none other than Tony Martin, a Melbourne radio and tv icon sat a few seats up. As he has a noticeable voice, I recognised him immediately, so that was really cool!
Tusk has been around for what feels like forever. They have a varied menu with breakfast options catering to the brunch crowds, lunch fare options, as well as dinner, which makes it a great night out with friends before hitting the town. If I see a film at the Astor I often come here for dinner or lunch before heading there as it is only a short walk from Tusk.
I love the decor here too, and the counter by the window especially, because you get to take in all the street traffic. The coffee is also really good as well.
Tusk is open daily. 8am – 11:30pm Sunday – Wednesday, 8am – 1am Thursday – Saturday.
East Melbourne’s Best Cafe Stops
The Bakers Wife
414-418 Burke Rd, Camberwell
If there was a hidden gem within all of these cafes, The Baker’s Wife would be it.
Located in the hipster neighbourhood of Camberwell, the decor of this place, truly draws you in, but it’s the vibe which keeps you there. This has become one of my favourite brunch spots, and it’s really not hard to see why. With an industrial feel mixed with wood beams, splashes of floral colour and delicious food – this is more than just a bakery. It is a great way to start a weekend.
The menu is full of variety and the coffee is good. In fact, the coffee is constantly being made in an endless takeaway line – which shows just how popular The Baker’s Wife is for locals.
When I stopped in on my last visit, I had the Eggs Benedict and a Latte, both were amazing. Signature dishes that are worth considering as well, include the asparagus version. So many people rave about it!
The Baker’s Wife is open daily, 7:30am – 3pm weekdays, 8am – 3pm weekends.
South East Melbourne’s Best Cafe Stops
399 Centre Rd, Bentleigh
After housesitting in Bentleigh for a month, I made it to Fifth Chapter on Centre Road – Bentleigh’s main street. I was very impressed with them for a multitude of reasons, which ensured that I will always come back.
The decor is modern and not over the top. Staff are very friendly. They border on hipster because of the menu offerings they have right down to their coffee. I ordered an iced coffee, and it was served deconstructed. I really liked how they presented it, and getting to make my own drink made it a little more fun. The coffee was really good too.
As a lover of eggs benedict, I knew I wanted to try the benny here. But man did this take it to another level. This beauty was a $20 feast I haven’t soon forgotten. Poached eggs sit on a compressed pulled pork square (on the left) and a potato hash (on the right). Topped with apple cider hollandaise and pomegranate molasses – man was this amazing!
Fifth Chapter is one of my new favourite cafes in the South East of Melbourne, and I can’t wait to be back.
Fifth Chapter is open daily 7am – 4pm. (Dinner service operates until 10pm Wednesday – Saturday.)
4 Matthews Rd, Bentleigh East
Humble Creatures is one of my new favourite cafes. I have frequented this place more than any other in this area because I love it, and it is not so busy that you can’t get a seat – but it is a very popular option even so! Located smack bang within the suburban area of Bentleigh East, rather than the more popular Center Road, it is easy to miss if you aren’t familiar with the area.
Humble Creatures has a lovely decor and the food here is really good. I have eaten a few meals here now and never disliked anything. I can hate egg dishes at some cafes, but never here. The highlight so far has been the chilli scrambled eggs. Delicious is an understatement – definitely try that when you’re there. The coffee is nice as well which is always a good thing too!
If you happen to be around this area, a stop in at Humble Creatures for a quiet brunch would start your weekend off right.
Humble Creatures is open daily 7am – 4pm.
358 Koornang Rd, Carnegie
Remember when I said some of the best cafes in Melbourne are not located in the CBD of Melbourne? Cafes like Left Field are exactly why this is true. And it is always busy – the people in this photo represent a view that is constantly seen outside Left Field.
Left Field offer really delicious food options, from their take on the Eggs Benedict – which sits on pulled pork and comes alongside apple cider hollandaise and apple sauce. They also offer really cute “sampler” breakfast boards which means you can have a little bit of everything. My friend Kim’s breakfast board had Wild Muesli w/ Seasonal Fruits and Vanilla Yogurt, A Poached Egg, Smashed Pumpkin, Goats Cheese, Beetroot Hummus, Quinoa Toast, with Pepita Dukkah. She eats here a lot so it tastes as good as it looks!
The coffee is really good here too. Best of all, Left Field offer Gluten free, Dairy free, and Vegan friendly options. So, no matter what your diet and restrictions, you can eat good food here.
There is a reason why Left Field remains so popular. The decor is inviting, but simple. The food is delicious and plated sometimes too nicely to want to eat it. You are missing out, if you don’t make it over there when visiting Melbourne to see what all the hype is about.
Left Field is open weekdays 7am – 4pm, Weekends 7:30am – 4pm.
129 Church St, Brighton
What entices people immediately, is the decor – graffiti “street art” – which Melbourne is known for, and neon signs invite patrons in with such a happy feeling the minute they enter.
The food is insane here too. I ordered the famed “Donald Crumble” one morning for brunch. It was HUGE. Consisting of Pan Fried Churro Waffles, with Apple Pie filling, a macadamia crumble (which makes the dish in my opinion!), and a granny smith sorbet with persian fairy floss and berries. This remains one of the most memorable cafe meals I have ever eaten in Melbourne. How often can you say that about food?
The coffee is good here too – with a fun aspect being the DIY Iced Brews. Deconstructed coffee has become more of thing in Melbourne, and here they tell you so on the menu.
Brighton Soul is open daily 7am – 6pm.
North Melbourne’s Best Cafe Stops
71 Bouverie Street, Carlton
Submitted by Lyn & Steve Baker From A Hole In My Shoe
One thing Melbourne does well is breakfast, and Asian fusion is hugely popular. Humble Rays is the perfect place where you’ll find a new style brunch that is indulgent, nourishing and extravagant.
Located in a trendy spot with a great vibe, Humble Rays has a fresh, modern décor, with shiny white tiles, hanging plants, pastel colours, with friendly staff, confident to suggest menu options.
The menu is not your traditional brekky menu. Eggs Benny are served with ginger braised pork belly and a Miso and potato croquette with Yuzu hollandaise. Sweet dishes include Skookies, large cookies cooked in a skillet with chocolate chip and oreos or red velvet with boysenberry ice cream and Persian fairy floss. Both have generous serves of marshmallow. And then there is Belly Dancing Pancakes, with eggs, bacon, banana, salted caramel , Nutella and parmesan cheese.
Looking around the Crabmeat Scramble was the most popular dish but I ordered French Toast Forever. French toast stuffed with vanilla bean cream cheese, boysenberry ice cream, seasonal fruits, Persian fairy floss, walnut and almond oat crumble, seasonal coulis and freeze dried strawberry. The presentation of this dish and the fresh flavours made this a winner with me.
Steve devoured the Salmon Super Salad, grilled salmon, quinoa & edamame salad, sweet corn, almonds, broccolini, tomato medley, shaved zucchini, green tea durikaka, sweet potato & cashew relish and citrus dill vinaigrette. Every bite was moorish and all ingredients on the plate complimented each other.
The Granny smith ginger soda was fresh and delicious with edible popping pearls and the coffee was good quality.
We wish we could have tried more of the menu but the servings are quite generous and we were so full. The menu has a good balance of sweet and savoury with so many options we will need to go back.
Humble Rays is open daily 8am – 4pm.
Noughts & Crosses
32 Pin Oak Cres, Flemington
After housesitting in Flemington a few weekends, I really got a feel for what they did well here. Noughts & Crosses was by far my favourite eatery in Flemington and I kept coming back to try out more menu items.
The decor here is really quite simple, with wood furniture mixed against the white walls. Some could say it feels bare however, once you sit down and drink a coffee or have a meal, it really does have a cozy feel to it. I always a take a book when I eat at a cafe, and had some lovely conversations with my server on the book – so staff really are friendly and welcoming in my experience.
The food is the major drawcard at Noughts & Crosses. I have had everything from their poached eggs with bacon on toast, to their crepes which was the perfect combination of salty and sweet. The crispy bacon pieces were a real nice touch. I think the name of it had something to do with Elvis? They do have a seasonal menu – but there is always something delicious to eat here and best of all they source fresh ingredients and aim to be as sustainable in their offerings as possible.
Their main coffee provider is Small Batch – but they do offer some others depending on what you are after. But the coffee is very good here – dine in or to go!
Noughts & Crosses has a sister restaurant in Parkville, but the Flemington one is a great and my personal favourite.
Noughts & Crosses is open weekday 7am – 4pm, weekends 7:30am – 4pm.
Wolf & Hound
60 Pin Oak Cres, Flemington
Submitted by LC of Birdgels
Wolf & Hound looks unassuming from the outside, but don’t be fooled – it offers up some of the most delicious wares of any café in Flemington.
The menu is small, but pretty much every item on the menu is delicious (having extensively taste-tested most of the food there, I can say this with confidence). Their chilli scrambled eggs in particular hits the spot and if you see a dish with bacon jam included as a side, don’t hesitate, just order.
While their coffee is reputedly good, it’s not a place to go to if you’re craving the stuff in a mug which roughly rivals the size of your head. As a non-coffee drinker, I thoroughly recommend their chai tea, which is not only delicious but automatically comes with a side of honey, to drizzle in at will.
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Wolf & Hound is open 7am – 4pm weekdays, 8am – 4pm on weekends.
154 Pascoe Vale Rd, Moonee Valley
Submitted by Jean of Traveling Honeybird
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Hidden away in plain sight, on a major road, in the middle of surburbia is one of Melbourne’s most delicious cafes. From the moment you walk in, you are whisked away from the trams, the cars and the screaming children from the park across the road. A warm welcome from the staff awaits you. The décor on first sights isn’t anything particularly Instagram worthy, but it’s clean and by Melbourne standards up to scratch. There’s seating out the front on the street, in the small café around and down the back in the chickens playground.
But you don’t come here for the décor – you’re here to have brunch, perhaps even a Golden Gaytime Bao and enjoy the company of the resident chickens in the court yard. The food on offer is delicious and well and truly Instagram worthy. The coffee is served to the high hipster standard of the area.
Now I’ve mentioned chickens several times and for good reason. Where else in Melbourne can you sit back, enjoy great food and great coffee all whilst in the company of free ranging chickens?
Brother Hen is open weekdays 7am – 4pm, 7:30am – 4pm Saturdays, 8am – 4pm Sundays.
Western Melbourne’s Best Cafe Stops
9/11 Ballarat St, Yarraville
Submitted by LC of Birdgehls
The Cornershop in Yarraville is the kind of café that immediately makes you feel at home. It’s spacious and well lit, with a rustic feel. Colourful art adorns its walls, flowers sit in vases on tables with mis-matched chairs and it has a decent outdoor area, for a café of its size. It’s not unusual to see patrons reading books or flipping through newspapers as they sip their coffees – pleasingly this is more often the case, rather than a sea of heads stuck behind laptops.
This café does breakfast until 2pm and has a fairly extensive menu of modern Australia dishes, with a bit of a twist. Their coffee is delicious and if you’re so inclined, you can order an entire pot of chai tea to share with a friend (or drink alone, no judgement here!)
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We have some beautiful ceramic take away cups here from @georgina.proud. We are selling them with a free first fill for $45 each. They are great for large or small coffees and we’ve tested them on the machine. Very barista friendly, #reuse #recycle #ceramics #yarravillevillage #westisbest #coffee #cafe
If you’ve not spent much time in Yarraville, it’s well worth having a little wander around this eclectic suburb, after your meal is done. Tip: If you’re visiting on a weekend, get there early! The Cornershop is extremely popular amongst locals and fills up quickly.
The Cornershop is open weekdays 7:30am – 4pm, 8am – 5pm Saturday, 8am – 4pm Sunday.
Now, that you have a good idea on Melbourne’s best cafes…what are you waiting for? Go and check them out! And if you’re favourite isn’t on here – let me know, so I can plan my next cafe stop and add it in!