I’ll admit it. This week’s blog isn’t exactly in keeping with the ethical travel vibe of avaycay, however, this week’s topic is equally as important. And, given this is my last weekend in Newcastle, consider this my parting gift to you and your future visit(s) to the Hunter. During our three month isolation, I devoted my time to one important thing: caffeine. It seemed important at the beginning and to be honest, still feels important now. I made a list of the fifteen best cafes in Newcastle to frequent, based on research and word of mouth (and it really grew from there.) I set out to see if the coffee hype in Newcastle was as good as the crowds were saying. New Flash: It IS!

Feeling lost on what’s been happening on avaycay? Here’s where we’re currently at since the global meltdown.

Traits I tend to look for in a cuppa include: consistency, flavour, depth of flavour, temperature and strength. I exclusively drink a long black (that’s two shots of espresso, topped up with hot water.) So, I guess you could say it may be a harsh (or perhaps not harsh enough) judgement based on my independence from dairy.

So, if you’re thinking, Huh? Eighteen cafes in Newcastle, are you serious? Yes and I mean it. And believe me, there’s more! I missed out on Signal Box, Press Bookstore, Bluedoor and Core (although I have been to Core many times on previous trips, from memory it’s a decent four and a half out of five). My sweep over Newcastle’s best cafes didn’t extend further than a 5km radius from the city centre and admittedly, I ignored the suburbs of Hamilton and Merewether.

I feel tremendously comfortable recommending any of the below to you, if and when you’re next in the Hunter.

But, please remember, the city was in lockdown during the period of these ratings and thus, only a ‘take-away’ was experienced.

Hipster scale is based ON THE VIBE of the place, which, in my opinion, greatly influences the coffee… or so I’d thought.

good brother, newcastle

Good Brother Espresso Shop- Newcastle – five out of five

Unreal coffee, fun staff, perfect temperature.

Hipster Scale: five out of five.

Suspension – Islington – five out of five

Okay, maybe this isn’t fair because Good Brother uses the same coffee beans and their baristas are likely trained by the same folk. But it does deserve the rating, in fact, it’s a close six out of five.

Hipster Scale: five out of five.

Welsh Black – Cooks Hill – five out of five

I’ve only linked one cafe, and I chose this one because it was my top pick from all eighteen cafes in Newcastle. The most consistent, the most in-depth flavour and the most perfect drinking temperature imaginable.

Hipster Scale: one out of five (this shocked me to pieces.)

New Slang – Newcastle – five out of five

These guys clearly take their coffee seriously and it was most appreciated. Minimalist decor, aloof staff and most importantly a divine brew.

Hipster Scale: four of out five.

new slang newcastle

Equium Social – Mayfield East – five out of five

Just on the outskirts of the five kilometer radius, I had to make an exception for Equium. Word of mouth proved this was worth the drive. Everything about the place was exceptional. The coffee was sublime.

Hipster Scale: top notch at five out of five.

HuBro – Bar Beach – four and a half out of five

On the cusp of The Junction, this little converted gem had a lot riding on it. Especially when I always seemed to arrive on the days they were closed. “It better be worth it” I said once I finally got my hands on a cup of joe. I only marked them down because the temperature was scolding. Some people like that sort of masochism, I thought it best to mention.

Hipster Scale: five out of five.

Sherwood – Newcastle West – four out of five


Good vibes. I can’t remember the reason it didn’t make five out of five status. Ours is not to reason why.

Hipster Scale: four out of five.

East End Hub – Newcastle – four out of five

Situated on the doorstep of Newcastle Beach, this venue has a lot riding on it. Prime location in the ‘new part of town’ yet off the main drag of morning coastal path ramblers. East End Hub is a bit of a destination. I’m excited to see if they last. One thing I know for sure, the coffee was bang on.

Hipster Scale: two out of five.

Bank Corner – Newcastle West – four and a half out of five

This place has a certain Melbourne feel about it. Perhaps it was the Italian barista? Or the unpretentious decor? Don’t judge them on looks alone (pictured below), while the furnishings are a little tired, rest assured the beans were full of energy!

Hipster Scale: two out of five.

bank corner, newcastle

Brew Tales – Wickham – four out of five

It had everything I needed except for depth of flavour. Minor I know. Something a weak, skinny latte would easily conceal. But for the long black drinker among us, it matters.

Hipster Scale: four out of five

Autumn Rooms – Cooks Hill – four out of five

After years and years of watching the trade on Darby Street change hands over and over again, the fact remains; if you’re not making good coffee, you won’t be making next month’s rent. Novocastrians are loyal, but not if you’re unwilling to produce a decent cup of java. By my accounts, the coffee was good, so good luck to them!

Hipster Scale: three out of five.

Corner House – Newcastle – four out of five

Bustling is the word for it. This place goes off and considering it’s tucked off any of the obvious main drag/s they must be doing something right.

Hipster Scale: four out of five.

The Hood – The Junction – four out of five

Are you bored yet? My patience is dwindling. Perhaps I need a coffee? Alas. The Hood is great if you’re in The Junction.

Hipster Scale: Two out of five.

ground up carrington

Ground Up Espresso – Carrington – three and a half out of five

I had high expectations. I mean, just look at that tiling (pictured above). They fell a little short. I would have liked to give them a second go, this rating might have been too harsh.

Hipster Scale: three out of five

Estabar – Newcastle – three and a half out of five

They don’t HAVE to try hard because they’re positioned in a high footprint area. They COULD be better.

Hipster Scale: one out of five

One Penny Black – Newcastle – three and a half out of five

I did originally give this a four out of five, but sadly after a second visit, it didn’t live up to my first impression and thus the drop in score.

Hipster Scale: two out of five.

globetrotter newcastle

Globetrotter – Bar Beach – three and a half out of five

Only open in the early morning, for months it felt like an urban myth until one morning I gained enough courage to get up and go for a walk to Bar Beach.

Hipster Scale: two out of five.

Baba Yaga – Cooks Hill – three out of five

I’ve never seen such queues on Darby Street for coffee. “It must be good”, I thought. Sadly, it feel a little short for me. That’s not to say it wasn’t good quality. I did give them extra kudos for offering free coffee grounds to the community to use in their gardens. That’s cute stuff.

Hipster Scale: two out of five.

Note: All visits were unannounced and (unfortunately) all paid for. Free coffees are always welcome.

From here, its adios Newcastle! Adios New South Wales in fact! and hello Victoria. What a brew-tiful week for a fresh start (yeah, not my best pun, but, I’m not even sorry about it.)

Until then xo

Feature Image via Unsplash

Let me know what you think....