13 May 2019

Cupping Room named Canberra’s best cafe by Lonely Planet

| Glynis Quinlan

Lonely Planet has praised the Cupping Room’s excellent coffee. Photo: Supplied by the Cupping Room/Ona Coffee.

The Cupping Room in Civic has been named Canberra’s best cafe in international travel guide Lonely Planet’s Global Coffee Tour, with the popular venue praised for its “exceptional food, laid back vibe and excellent coffee.”

The concept cafe located at 1 University Avenue also bears the distinction of being the only Canberra cafe to make the international publication which has chosen its preferred cafes, roasteries and plantations in 37 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.

The Global Coffee Tour which has just been published tells caffeine-addicted travellers to be prepared “to queue for a table at Canberra’s best cafe as it’s well worth the wait.”

Lonely Planet’s Global Coffee Tour book. Photo: Supplied by Lonely Planet.

“Local speciality roaster Ona Coffee set up the Cupping Room as a concept cafe with an educational component, but customers pour in for the exceptional food, laid back vibe and excellent coffee,” the publication states.

“It’s not as simple as ordering a short black or a flat white here. If you order a black coffee you’ll be presented with a choice of single-origin beans and if you order a white, a choice of blends – all of which are revised daily.

“Otherwise you can simply ask what hot filter or cold-brew they’re currently pouring.

“We’re particularly fond of the dark fruit and chocolate notes of flat whites made using the Founder blend.”

The Cupping Room. Photo: Supplied by the Cupping Room/Ona Coffee.

The judgement call on which cafes to include in the publication was made by coffee-loving travel writers who assessed both the quality of the coffee and the visitor experience.

In every place included in the book, visitors should also learn something about coffee and meet people who are passionate about the industry.

A spokesperson for the Cupping Room, Jordan Montgomery, said Lonely Planet’s selection of the cafe as the best in the city is “amazing” and “a culmination of the dreams of the company”.

“To be named Canberra’s best cafe is obviously an honour and we have worked hard to achieve the sort of coffee we do. It could not have been achieved without the Canberra community supporting us,” said Mr Montgomery, while also acknowledging that there are a lot of other good cafes in Canberra.

The Cupping Room is managed by Katie Bowen with around 20 staff and is one of five cafes owned by Ona Coffee, which is Canberra’s largest speciality roaster. The other four cafes are located in Manuka, Fyshwick, Dickson and Marrickville in Sydney.

The Cupping Room opened in November 2013 and is designed to take customers on a “flavour journey”, with cupping being the process coffee roasters and growers use to judge coffees next to each other.

The cafe is open every day of the week and is also popular for its food as this previous review attests to.

“Even though we are quite well-renowned for our coffee, more often than not people come back for the food,” Mr Montgomery said.

The Cupping Room is also popular for its food. Photo: Supplied by the Cupping Room/Ona Coffee

According to the Global Coffee Tour, Australians have long been known as passionate global pioneers when it comes to the specialist coffee craft.

“It’s a country where coffee isn’t a practicality but part of a lifestyle where drinkers also care about where their food comes from and which designers they support,” states the publication.

“And we’re now seeing increasing numbers of coffee connoisseurs learning the roasting process and mastering the entire seed to cup process.”

Melbourne and Sydney are the cities with the best reputation for their coffee but the publication also acknowledges “the incredible variety of coffee experiences across Australia.”

When it comes to Australia’s signature coffee style, the book states that it’s “a long black for the purists or an Australian-invented (if you believe Australians) flat white”.

And what should you order with your coffee here? “Smashed avocado on toast.”

Click here for more information about the book or to buy a copy.

Are you surprised that more Canberra cafes haven’t made the book? Do you agree that long blacks and flat whites are our “signature coffee style”? Let us know in the comments below.

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