Farrago’s definitive guide to coffee on campus.

Our campus has a surplus of cafés throughout its buildings and hidden in little pockets. Many of these have changed since 2019, with notable favourites the Brew Sisters (a moment of silence for my triple shot flat white for $3.50 </3) and Animal Orchestra leaving. Consequently, I had to conduct some research to find which cafés remained open and which newcomers had joined the scene.


Few things unite students across campuses and faculties better than caffeine. Be prepared to be scrutinised for your order: it’s simply a Melbourne right of passage, with the city’s identity so profoundly entrenched in coffee culture. Australia and coffee have become somewhat synonymous worldwide, with “Australian” coffee chains (think ‘Di Bella' from India or ‘Fineprint’ from Hong Kong) popping up all over the world, even forcing Starbucks to adopt the flat white in recent years. Naturally, as a student of UniMelb, you are inheriting this caffeine-drenched legacy, and what better place to start than right here on our campus.

Our campus has a surplus of cafés throughout its buildings and hidden in little pockets. Many of these have changed since 2019, with notable favourites the Brew Sisters (a moment of silence for my triple shot flat white for $3.50 </3) and Animal Orchestra leaving. Consequently, I had to conduct some research to find which cafés remained open and which newcomers had joined the scene.

To get an idea of what the wider student community thought, we shared a preliminary poll across our socials with our contributors. The results were… varied (I’m looking at you voter who gave 7/11 a 10/10), but as students, we are nothing if not inconsistent. We polled 18 cafés, averaged out the votes, and visited the top five


Firstly, the eliminated.

Axil Coffee Roasters

  • Located in the corner of the western Biosciences building on the Tin Alley pathway, Axil is a name you’ll frequently see around Melbourne. Their coffee is great, although somewhat inconsistent across locations and baristas. Our community shared similar beliefs, with votes at extremes of 4/10 and 10/10, resulting in a solid 7.2/10

Baretto Espresso Bar

  • You can find Baretto on the ground floor of the Alan Gilbert Building. A lovely assortment of pastries and some large tables make it great for stress-inducing group project discussion. However, in terms of coffee, it averages at 4.8/10, with one voter adding, “Baretto is so bad I want to score it in the negatives. It’s off the scale terrible.” Oh my!

Books n Bites

  • It's a quaint, easy-to-miss little café near the Haymarket entrance to The Spot on Pelham Street. It's been around for years as a consistent source for quick bites and a cosy interior to study. 5.2/10

Cafe Commercio

  • You’ll become intimately familiar with this one if you’re a BCom student. Located on the ground floor of The Spot, Cafe Commercio covers a wide range of café food and drinks. If you only have five minutes between tutes, they’re your guy for a quick caffeine boost. If you have longer, make good choices and walk a little further. Our community has rated this a 4.5/10.

Carte Crêpes

  • Perfect for a light coffee drink and a variety of sweet crêpes. In previous years, they’ve offered free crêpes to students who’ve completed exams (it truly does make the pain of barely passing go away, if just for a blissful moment). Located just to the left of our campus’ main “Welcome” entrance, Carte Crêpes is known for its beautiful outdoor seating, with many of our voters calling it their “comfort place”. 7/10.

Commuter Coffee

  • Commuter Coffee is a newcomer on the block just opposite the Earth Sciences, Geology and Meteorology wings on campus. Our voters have given it a 6.7/10, but broader reviews on the café’s socials are incredibly positive—definitely one to keep your eye on.

EDIT: as of May 2022, they have a small coffee truck in the car park opposite the student pavilion!

Dr Dax Kitchen

  • Large restaurant cafe located in The Dax Centre and overlooking Royal Parade. It has a large variety of food options alongside your standard café beverages. If you ask me, the feeling is a little corporate, but it's a good one to bring your family to during O-Week. 6.3/10

Haymarket Place Cafe

  • Impossible to find unless you’ve been here before. It's… somewhere off of Haymarket Walk. At the time of writing, none of the editors have ever visited this elusive cafe, but voters have given it a 5.9/10

Ho Ho’s Canteen

  • Located on the G/F of Union House, Ho Ho’s benefits from location and… that's primarily it. There's charming outdoor seating near unusable during lunch hours (and stupol season), but overall, it's charming, somewhat cosy, and the staff are friendly. Coffee is decent, as reviewers agree, rating it a 5.9/10

Scholar & Co

  • Another newcomer to the scene, this café is located at Stop 1 on Grattan Street. Currently, reviews for this are varied and few, ranging from 3/10 to 10/10, but they are likely to step up with the New Student Precinct (NSP) opening. There’s no doubt that Scholar & Co have had enormous shoes to fill (another moment to mourn the loss of Brew Sisters), but we’ll be looking forward to seeing how they do. 5.3/10

Professor’s Walk

  • Found at the G/F entrance to the Baillieu Library, this café has the benefit of prime real estate. Walk too close to the windows, and you will see dreary-eyed students collapsed over their laptops, a single croissant hanging from their lips. At Farrago, we think it's pretty run-of-the-mill, but the community rates it a 5.5/10, with one commenter going as far as to say, “It’ll make you wish you never began drinking coffee.” Yikes.

The Potter Espresso Bar

  • To anyone unfamiliar with the Material Sciences side of campus, this café is near impossible to find. Just off of the alley by the Physics South Building and a little bit beyond Castro’s Kiosk lies The Potter, a small, easy-to-miss shop front with a charming outdoor setting built just under a grassy ledge. It's quiet and secluded, but it can be impossible to get a seat at peak times. 6.1/10


  • It's a dollar. 4.7/10


To investigate further, we visited the five top-rated cafes personally. I ordered a flat white, whole milk, regular size, and no sugar at each location. Now, these ratings are personal—they solely reflect the views of one grumpy coffee addict.

5. home.two

  • home.two is an NFP working towards eliminating youth homelessness. A beautiful café with a heart-warming ethos, home.two has been a part of our campus for a couple of years now, moving to its new location on Tin Alley, right next to the Swimming Club. They’ve been known for their jaffles and assortment of teas, and as of writing in May 2022, their kitchen is back in production! In my opinion, the coffee was a little weak in flavour. 7.5/10

4. House of Cards

  • The community adores HOC, having been graced by its presence on our paved avenues for 7 or 8 years. This is for good reason: House of Cards has a lovely variety of pastries and a great location. Order from their extremely friendly staff to receive a playing card which you drop into a box labelled with the charity of your choice. HOC frequently comes into a final showdown scenario with Castro’s, having just been beaten out by its rival in the last coffee showdown by UMLL in 2019. 7.8/10

3. Castro’s Kiosk

  • This is a controversial placement. Castro’s has been a long-time favourite of Farrago writers (you can see it mentioned in articles from as far back as 2007!) and the wider student body, having won UMLL’s 2019 poll. You’ll often find groups of student politicians loitering around the outdoor tables, but do not fear; we are all equals at the kiosk. Castro’s is also known to make a mean cup of hot chocolate. 8/10

2. Standing Room

  • Previously both at Union House and MSD (now only located at MSD), Standing Room makes one of the best cups of coffee on campus, hands down. They’re consistent across all their shops around Melbourne and are placed in such a great location (for caffeine-addicted UMSU workers and design students) with a lovely shopfront aesthetic. The staff are lovely, and they have a small variety of pastries, cakes and sandwiches up for grabs. 8.5/10

1. Seven Seeds

  • By far, consistently the best coffee in terms of flavour. It's further out from the central part of campus (not too far from the NSP, though) but conveniently located near the Commerce buildings. Trust me, BCom jaffys—you’ll need a solid caffeine source by midterm season. Every other Seven Seeds associated shop in Melbourne also never misses. Their menu features your basic Melb brunch staples for… prices… that are less basic, but the coffee pricing is standard, and they have a wide array of blends and varieties if you’re feeling adventurous. 9/10.


EDIT: This article was originally printed in Farrago’s Declassified UniMelb Survival Guide in February 2022. It has since been edited in May 2022.  


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