By Melissa Keogh
It seems simple; roasted beans, ground and brewed, milk frothed and poured into a mug cradled between two hands.
But it can also go so wrong. Too bitter, burnt milk, a cranky barista and you have a combination of coffee sins that is sure to (almost) ruin a morning.
But with more cafés adopting a choose local ethos by using South Australian dairy milk and locally roasted coffee beans, coming across a dud brew is almost hard to do.
Brand SA News has set out on the ultimate coffee quest – to find the best coffee shops in the land, the friendliest baristas in the burbs and the types of cafés that truly make you feel at home.
From regional coffee hotspots to trendy metro hideaways, we’ve searched the state with the help of fellow caffeine fiends and our pool of regional journalists, to find the best spots across the state for good coffee.
But this list is just scratching the surface, so if there’s a coffee shop we’ve missed, hit Brand South Australia up on social media using the #ichoosesa hashtag and spill your caffeine secrets.
The Meat & Cheese Club, King William Street.
Exactly what a hole in the wall should be, this coffee and sandwich shop is a new kid on the block.
Owner Damian Vasilevski is a solid I Choose SA supporter, frothing Paris Creek Milk for the coffees (which are always hot) and using Udder Delights Cheese and Barossa Fine Foods smallgoods for menu items.
La Moka, Peel Street.
A solid CBD favourite, La Moka is not only a perfect spot to soak up laneway vibes, but more importantly, this yellow-doored café makes good coffee. Every time. After dark on weekends those lattes can turn into espresso martinis!
Bond & Lane Canteen, Colonel Light Gardens.
They grind from 7am weekdays. Having a cuppa or a meal here is homely and comfy, and the owners are big I Choose SA supporters, so you know you’re supporting local.
The cake cabinet will leave you drooling.
Two Sparrows Coffee & Kitchen, Forestville.
A must-visit for the latte art itself.
Barista Brian’s creation’s will leave you highly impressed and almost unwilling to touch your coffee in fear of ruining the masterpiece.
The Organic Market and Café, Stirling.
An old Hills favourite that’s been around for decades.
Makes consistently good coffee, which can be enjoyed in a quiet corner or outside among the trees and many four-legged friends.
The menu is healthy, homely and nutritious, with chock-a-bloc salads for summer and hearty soups for winter.
The Good Pantry, Gumeracha.
This café uses locally roasted coffee and serves all day brekkie, soups, dips platters, and local juices. It also doubles as a little art and crafts gallery.
Metro Bakery & Café, Mt Gambier.
One of Mt Gambier’s most popular spots, the Metro Bakery not only knows how to bake a good pie and pastie, but their coffee is on the mark too.
Presto Eatery, Mt Gambier.
Located in a refreshed heritage building in Mt Gambier town’s centre, this café is exactly what a good coffee lover needs in a rural town.
Coffee is roasted by local roaster Bricks and Mortar Coffee. Relax with a cuppa inside or chill out the front and watch Mt Gambier life go by.
Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island
Cactus, Kingscote – KI
A fairly new addition to Kangaroo Island, this cosy café is popular with tourists and locals, so be sure to rock up early.
Pair a coffee made from custom roasted beans by Rio Coffee Adelaide with a sneaky sweet treat and soak up the sun on the blue and white deck.
3 Monkeys Fine Foods, Willunga.
These guys are taking a break and returning in September, but they’re worth the short wait.
The coffee is just how you’ll want it to be and you can sip your fix while browsing through gifts, homewares and gourmet goodies.
Mullygrub, McLaren Vale.
This café which also exists in food truck form is known for its simple dishes made from scratch.
Their coffee is also on the mark, with milk by the Fleurieu Milk Company.
Dal Mare Coffee, McLaren Vale.
Too early to sip on a red? This wine region is also well known for its boutique coffee shops scattered around the place.
A corrugated iron shed that is the Dal Mare Coffee headquarters is an unsuspecting caffeine haven, but these guys know their stuff.
Roasting their own beans, the main focus of the business is wholesales, but you can also spot them roadside through the travelling Short Black Caravan.
Grab a coffee and take a wander through the fresh produce stalls offering goodies from one of the state’s most renowned food and wine regions.
Coffee wise, local roaster artisan Bean Addiction will take care of you. Their actual shopfront in Nuriootpa is closed for renovations, reopening this month.
Yorke and Mid North
Red Hot Shot, Clare.
Jodi Weckert is the lady in the little red van, pulling up at businesses and giving locals their caffeine fix.
Passersby have also been known to give a wave or a toot as they see her on the road, signalling the need for a coffee fix!
Watervale General Store, Watervale.
This quirky store is run by well known local foodies, Louise and Neil Haines and is renowned for its quality coffee.
The store has a big focus on local produce and is a good spot to pick up a few traditional or gourmet groceries.
Coffee Barn Gelateria, Moonta.
We may be luring you here just for the ice cream… but the coffee is good too!
In summer, move fast though because lines will creep out the door.
Finding this Yorke Peninsula gem is half the fun. Turn off the highway and head off the beaten track.
Bluebush Café, Port Augusta.
Good coffee is possible in the outback.
Located within the stunning Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, the Bluebush Café’s setting alone is worth the visit.
It’s peaceful and serene dining before a stunning backdrop of the Flinders Ranges.
Murray and Mallee
This multi-award winning boutique coffee roaster will put a spring in your step. They service many cafés in the region.
Renmark-based Arrosto Coffee has recently collaborated with Glossop winery’s 919 Wines to create a coffee liqueur, The Firewater.
Made from Scratch, Waikerie.
Described as “Waikerie’s little health oasis”, this Riverland gem is hugely popular with locals.
Coffee is by the above Renmark boutique roaster, Arrosto. The café’s interior pays close attention to small, homely details such as locally grown flowers on the table, put together by Riverland business Daisy and Ginger.
Boston Bean Coffee Co, Port Lincoln.
EP locals Brian and Sue Scott run this award-winning speciality coffee roasting business that recently opened a coffee bar and roastery on Mortlock Terrace.
Born from a desire to lift coffee standards in regional areas, Boston Bean is all about the local game and are also supporters of environmentally friendly coffee cups.
Hitting Port Lincoln in summer? Try the cold brew over ice with a splash of milk.
Visit I Choose SA to meet the people building business and industry in SA, and to find out how your choices make a difference to our state.