Local Obsessions

Get a Cuppa Down Under: This Is the Best Coffee in Byron Bay

by Terase Davidson
Coffee It's a serious cup of joe at Combi Cafe. Photos by Terase Davidson.

When she was in Byron Bay last year, Fathom founder Pavia Rosati spent the morning getting an insider's look at the city's emerging food scene with Taste Byron Bay founder Terase Davidson. They explored and ate their way through the farmers' market, walked along the coast to the lighthouse, and stopped for great coffee, a local obsession anywhere in Australia. If you took a tour with Terase, these are the spots she'd take you to caffeinate.

BYRON BAY, Australia — I could easily talk about the growing food culture of Byron Bay all day long, but the question I get at least three times per day is “where's the best coffee in town?” This is Australia, after all, and we take our caffeine very, very seriously.

Having worked as a chef for many years and now in my work leading local food tours through my company Taste Byron Bay, it would be fair to say that I neeeeeeed an awesome brew to start my day. And while there are many great caffeine kick providers in Byron Bay, when choosing where to get a cup, the factors that go into my decision-making process are at once complicated and simple: What time is it? Do I want something to eat or just coffee? Do I only have time for a quick grab-and-go or can I sit and hang out? I work this all out on the ten-minute drive from my place in the hills into Byron and fast-track it to one of these spots:

McTavish Surfboards
91 Centennial Crt.; +61-2-6680-8807
Yes, a surf shop. The dudes that make some of the best custom surfboards in Australia, have recently added seriously epic barista skills to their list of collective awesomeness. The surfboard shop-cum-café is located in the Byron Arts and Industrial area, which is perfect for me when I’m on the go. And the early morning eye candy is also rather sweet.

Three Blue Ducks
11 Ewingsdale Rd.; +61-2-6684-7795
The café at The Farm Byron Bay opened three years ago and has fast become a mecca for locals and tourists alike. In addition to serving amazing coffee, the Ducks is also home to The Bread Social bakery, which makes the most insanely divine sourdough bread as well as a killer pain au chocolat (my weakness). The baristas know me, which helps if I need to do a cheeky "I’m running late … can I jump the queue … wink, wink." And in a shameless plug, the Three Blue Ducks produce store stocks my Salted Caramel sauce.

Combi Café
Shop 5b 21-25 Fletcher St.
Think vegan, think organic, think everything awesome in one place, and you’ve got Combi. These guys rolled into town from Melbourne two years ago with their spin on healthly food almost to pretty to eat. The shop is one block from the beach and has a big communal table made of concrete as the centerpiece. Their Instagram account @wearecombi provides a daily does of Byron Bay good vibes to go with the healthy food inspiration.

Doma Cafe
They serve more than coffee at Federal Doma Cafe.

Top Shop
65 Carlyle St.; +61-2-6685-6495
Top Shop is a local icon that has long supported local farmers and seasonal produce across their café menu. It’s located a few blocks from the beach on a corner with a big grassy area in the front. On a busy day, you’ll find a cool local crew decorating the grass with their bronzed tanned and toned limbs. It’s people-watching, Byron Bay style.

Federal Doma Café
3-6 Albert St., Federal; +61-2-6688-4711
The Japanese café tucked up in the hills surrounding Byron Bay was once a well-kept local secret, but, to the credit of the staff, has transitions seemingly seamlessly into keeping locals and tourists equally happy with their offering of traditional Japanese food with a local twist. The girls on the coffee machine are guns at turning out consistently awesome coffee using locally roasted Moonshine Coffee.

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