People living in capital cities in Australia – particularly Melbourne – are spoilt by excellent coffee and take it for granted that good coffee will be anywhere (I’m guilty of this mindset!).
Fortunately, when you visit Byron Bay, you aren’t let down in the coffee department.
The tricky thing when visiting Byron – indeed when visiting any place – is knowing where the good spots are.
This is especially true of Byron, where there are just so many cafes. And due to the sheer number of people in town, most cafes look busy, lending an air of credibility. After all, if the cafe is busy, it must be good, right?
Here are some of the popular places – in no particular order of preference – that almost always have a crowd.
Dip Cafe is the Ray White “local”, at least for coffee.
The coffee is solid, and the food is great. I’m always very jealous of the other patrons when I spy their food.
Insiders tip? Try the bacon and egg roll, which is on soft Turkish bread. Delightful.
Pretty much next door to Ray White Byron Bay is Mary Ryan’s Bookstore and Cafe. A really nice setting and interesting array of food, as well as the cafe and bookstore, keeps this place pretty busy all the time.
Bay Leaf does what I think is the best coffee in Byron, no question.
Local Nico runs Marvell St Roasters and supplies the cafe (which he owns) and the attention to coffee excellence shows.
Try a double ristretto to see what I mean.
The food is very good (check the specials board), with the corn fritters standing out (for me).
The only problem with Bay Leaf is it’s so small and gets so busy that you’ll often have to wait, or squash in somewhere, or go back later.
I ended up at Mokha one day with friends from Melbourne as Bay Leaf was full.
I was pleasantly surprised. The coffee was very solid and the food was great – check the presentation out.
The staff were really friendly, so it was a good all-round experience.
Definitely worth a look.
Whilst we’re told that coffee can be a bit hit and miss at Succulent Cafe, the food sounds and looks delicious.
Really wholesome and tasty, with an interesting menu, expect a great feed.
The juices (made to order) are fantastic; my insiders tip is something like watermelon, ginger and apple.
Top Shop is located handily on the way to The Pass for a surf. It’s always crazy busy and is very popular. Locals tell us that the coffee is great and the juices are awesome too.
Grab a coffee and head for a surf, or, sit on the grass out the front and relax for a bit!
Just up the street from Bay Leaf is cafe/bar/restaurant Targa. A really neat fitout, we’re told the menu is really good, especially the breakfast and coffee.
There’s a bit of space and it’s marginally less busy than other places in the busier areas of Byron so getting a spot shouldn’t be a hassle.
Located right near the Beach Hotel is Byron Fresh. Always busy, awesome menu (best pork belly I’ve ever had) and pretty generous breakfasts.
Byron Fresh is a great spot for people watching, too.
Tucked away and a good little place to get away from the hustle and bustle is Espressohead. We hear it has a steady following of regulars and puts out very well rounded coffee and great food with generous breakfasts.
Located an easy and enjoyable 30 minute drive from Byron, is Quattro Country (sister to Quattro Coast in Lennox Head) in Alstonville.
This place is a fair dinkum gold mine.
First up, they have two very decent baristas, one of whom roasts his own coffee under his own label (called Jesspresso as his name is Jesse).
The pastries are muy excelente. Insiders tip? Get the chocolate fondant! Everything is made in-house, and the other sweets like chocolate mud cake, muffins and so on are just awesome. The attention to detail is amazing – perfect hand-cut chips with the Angus hamburger is a case in point.
The food is just excellent. The wood fired pizzas are great (award winners), as is the rest of the menu.
Definitely worth a visit if you’re driving out in the hinterland.
Just outside Byron is Harvest Cafe (and adjoining deli). Rocking Allpress beans, this is a serious restaurant, so make sure you book especially on weekends and in peak times.
The coffee is really quite good and the menu is expansive and very interesting. It’s a little pricey, probably given its proximity to the Gaia Retreat, but you won’t be let down.