November 30, 2012


78 Grafton Street, Cairns     (07) 4051 5522

You would think this little hidden laneway café was in the Melbourne CBD with its graffiti walls, innovative food and great coffee. Normally when I travel I like to ask people in the street where they go for their daily caffeine fix and as I did, this name kept getting shouted out as the place to be. It was a little hard to find, as it was not on main street frontage and it had two entrances, one through a lane the other through an older style arcade. Once we got there it seemed this little gem was the part of the local scene for the coffee crowd in Cairns. The barista I instantly recognized from Tasmania who had come to Cairns chasing some winter sunshine. I enjoyed a well-made espresso from Di Gabriel Coffee and later a nice long black from their guest coffee from the famous Roger Bright of Supreme Roasters in Brisbane.

Being the first day of our short holiday I was hungry for a great breakfast and I went with the local favourite of Chilli Eggs, which I can recommend for those who want a spicy start to a day in paradise. The café was very busy which contributed to a great coffee service. On the walls of the espresso bar were many awards and accolades to the Caffiend staff as they had won local barista competitions. It’s nice to know this was a café that had taken coffee to another level encouraging there team to get involved in national coffee events.

The mornings sun was very inviting as we enjoyed the laneway seating, bathing in the tropical Queensland winter rays. I always like to observe staff interaction and they were all very welcoming as new customers and regulars entered the warm café space. The fitout is open plan with lots of wood fittings and a good communal table to spread out the local newspapers. The kitchen is open styled also and was quite busy over a normal midweek breakfast shift. I could imagine weekends would be very busy so an early start would be recommended.

The café supports local musicians and artist with regular events in the café. The graffiti on the laneway wall is very impressive and gives the business a city feel in a regional location.

All the online reviews were good, and many a traveller searching a local away from their home found their way to this Grafton Street treasure. I will be back.

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