With coffee plantations right on its doorstep, Cairns has no excuse for a lagging coffee scene and luckily there are some new cafes in Cairns that are raising the bar.
You’d think that Cairns would have a buzzing coffee culture given that so much of Australia’s coffee is produced in the nearby Tablelands, but coffee connoisseurs visiting the city have often been left disappointed.
However, perhaps because of the slow migration of people from Melbourne and Sydney who expect high standards from their baristas, the Cairns coffee scene is finally starting to percolate.
You might have to compromise on ocean views but these are the cafes in Cairns causing most of a stir with the locals:
1. Industry One (110 Scott St)
Industry One was the first Specialist Coffee Roaster in Cairns and since they opened in 2010 they’ve also been doing barista training courses so they are to be commended for single-handedly taking on the mission to kick start a Cairns coffee culture.
This is actually a really cool place to have coffee but since it is located in the industrial area of Cairns it mainly caters for locals and only a few very keen tourists.
2. Ozmosis (Collins Avenue, Edge Hill)
This café has been doing a roaring trade for a couple of years and it has become one of the best cafes in Cairns. It is certainly one of the places to be seen in Edge Hill, a suburb near the Botanic Gardens with its own village hub.
Directly opposite Ozmosis, there’s also a nice little cafe called Ten One Twenty, which is also popular.
If these two places are busy, try Wild Bean in the visitor centre just past the Botanical Gardens.
3. Caffiend (Just off Grafton St)
Hidden away down a graffiti-walled laneway, you need to go looking for this funky little coffee shop so walk down Grafton Street on the opposite side of the road to Rusty’s and look for the graffiti wall in this photo.
It is a cool little spot that serves great food and coffee.
Definitely a local’s favourite.
4. Blackbird Espresso
This tiny little cafe is tucked away down a shopping arcade between Grafton and Lake Street. You will be happy you found it.
5. Frame Espresso (McLeod & Upward)
This is a nice little café outside the main city centre that’s attached to a picture framing/art/homewares shop.
6. Billy’s Coffee @ Crate 59 (and Rusty’s Markets at the weekend)
The locals love Billy’s coffee. Its casual and rustic with no air-conditioning, so it’s hot in the summer, but its an appealing place to hang out since it also showcases the work of young emerging artists.
7. Bang & Grind (Spence St)
This place has been one of the best cafes in Cairns for a quite some time but it has changed hands and names a few times. It is still worth checking out if you’re in the centre of town.
8. Chill Cafe
If you do want a cafe with a great view, you can’t beat Chill Cafe in Palm Cove. Grab one of the stools overlooking the ocean and enjoy the chilled atmosphere.