CAFE CULTURE: For the love of perfect espresso & the artisan

Or for the love of coffee, culture and creativity

Discover the best espresso in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Learn how Café Culture is thriving in Australia because the best operators are devoted artisans.
From the best espresso and atmosphere to engaging the artisan and the community. Broadly, they commit to the makers, the clients and creativity: these elements underpin and enhance common cafe experiences immesurably, both directly and indirectly. While the emphasis differs in each case, still the outcome remains that of quality, open ideas and involvement.


OLS (Our Little Secret)

Camberwell, Melbourne

It’s no secret…we pride ourselves on pouring quality coffee all day long.



Café culture in Melbourne is broad and deep: still, many operators think that a location, machine and traffic are all it takes – not true. By merely walking into a café, the predominant image and atmosphere will tell you a lot about its origins and distinct personality, how long it has been there, what the operators consider important, the unique strengths etc.

For example a La Marzocco, La Pavoni or Gaggia machine usually means the café is serious about good coffee.



Similarly, a cabinet bulging with delicious treats and pastries conveys a dedication to fresh & immediate food, plus a sense of enduring busyness.

While intuition is not always foolproof, trust it generally to identify the institution’s positive vibes that will predominate if they know what they are doing. Among them ambiance, professional staff, and a sense of commitment.

The Heartly designed interiors are creative and ingeniously understated. Perfectly nuanced around old and new, open and compact, sophisticated and homely: an ideal spot to unwind!

Heartly designed the interior of Our Little Secret [OLS]…with a focus on a creating a relaxed and welcoming ambience.




Edward Street, Brisbane CBD  /  545 Queen Street, Brisbane
Intuition is usually a firm indicator: if it is busy, looks good, and feels good it probably is!  If it is a ‘first-time visit’ these attributes will be accompanied also by a sense of rising excitement!

When the elephant finally deigned to impart the random discovery of Marchetti hidden away off Edward Street in Tattersalls Arcade, to say scepticism engulfed the room would be a serious understatement! Hitherto, spectacular cultural discoveries had eluded him, so as you can imagine I was not confident.

Next time – ‘OK, if we must!’ as he dragged me to the arcade. Upon arrival though, my spirits lifted immediately! I was instantly back in Melbourne and in the spirit of the old Greek and Italian cafes in Smith St, Collingwood, or Cucina in Prahan – authentic in every sense.  It was a bit like quietly discovering a hidden club frequented by those in the know.

Bello, tradizionale, intimo e indaffarato

(Apologies to the fluent!)

The interior window bar perfectly tiny and decidedly European – unsurprising since the owner is Greek.

Image: Beanhunter

The experience was immaculate, Cafe Culture in Brisbane now edified by this find and a ‘must visit’ when in the city.

It is easy to spend ‘the hard earned’ on a bad situation, so taking a little extra time to research when visiting a new cafe or city for the first time, is worthwhile.

 Coffee from Allpress remains a core focus as always…

Allpress hails from New Zealand originally and it is one of the best flavours out there: one of the best espresso’s in Brisbane. If you ever see the Allpress icon, you can be assured, at least on one level, that the institution is a good one.  Moreover, the knowing hand of the artisan can be seen and tasted in the pastries which are beyond expectation.

A certain positive and easy ritualism naturally evolves within savvy institutions: attending to small details, engaged operators and timely attention means the cafe has strong and clear values.


Italian espresso, wine and delicious food!


Image: The Weekend Edition / 545 Queen Street


Marchetti is a small Italian café and wine bar located…now at 545 Queen Street. 

A central coffee bar and kitchen is surrounded by a spacious seating arrangement…and a classic Italian style that will be familiar to long-time Marchetti fans.

Marchetti has a small yet considered menu – featuring Italian pastries – that are baked on the premises by the all-Italian staff, including croissants, sandwiches and antipasti. Things change from week to week, but regulars can attest that Mike’s Mum’s Meatballs are always on the menu.  Breakfast until 11.45am over the weekend.

In a Cafe Culture ‘club’ that includes the best espresso in Brisbane the experience will linger subliminally for the right reasons long after you leave.


Thanks to The Weekend Edition, Brisbane, Beanhunter and Broadsheet, Brisbane for various images and information.



Bronte, Sydney
The Ducks is a great story of food, born in the surf! It all started with three good mates travelling the world, cultivating ideas around a better, more sustainable approach to living. Somewhere there, in a shared belief in good ethical food – Three Blue Ducks was hatched.


Image: Sydney on Sunday
I’ll never forget arriving at Three Blue Ducks for the first time, after an hour’s walk from Coogee in crucifying heat with a monumental hangover!  It was akin to arriving at an oasis in the desert!
An immediate adrenaline shot hit the spot by reason of the atmosphere: a bustling, beachside homliness permeated everything.


Exactly the right amount of engagement, soft-eccentricity and dishevelled aesthetics define the Duck.

A commitment to sustainable practices and the singular easy vibe is the point of difference here.

‘Educated’ populations are increasingly seeking memorable and personal experiences.  A focus on the importance of the artisan in the Duck’s narrative is something inherently understood by the operators.

“As co-owner Chris Sorrell describes, the Ducks ethos is about “ethical and authentic food, made with love from mindfully sourced ingredients that don’t hurt our environment”.” The Upsider

Read about one of The Blue Duck’s recycling initiatives here!

Knowing instinctively what is important to their customers keeps people coming back: firstly to engage the sense of community and secondly to partake in the quality wholesomeness projected by the Three Blue Ducks as well as some of the best espresso in Sydney!
We can rejoice and be grateful that a dedicated Cafe Culture exists in this Sydney institution. 

Thanks to Broadsheet , Adventure Baby , and Sydney on Sunday for images



Founded in 1927 by Giuseppe and Bruno Bambi, La Marzocco had its beginnings in Florence, Italy, birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and home to Leonardi da Vinci, Michelangelo and Brunelleschi…

…La Marzocco would earn a reputation for making…superbly crafted espresso machines with exquisite attention to detail…Giuseppe Bambi’s great experience and professional pride live on after more than 80 years.

Whilst it was Angelo Moriondo at the Turin General Exposition of 1884 who patented the, New steam machinery for the economic and instantaneous confection of coffee beverage.

In 1901, [Luigi] Bezzera came up with the idea of forcing pressurized water through a handful of coffee powder to produce…the espresso, so called because it could be prepared expressly for each customer and because the water had to be expressed through the coffee.

Bezzera was later bought out by Desiderio Pavoni who went on to found the La Pavoni espresso machine empire.

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