Lonely Planet Writer

Melbourne’s latest coffee trend is all about 'drinking-in'

Melbourne is proud of its coffee culture, okay, yes they’re obssessed. The question now is: will the latest in Melbourne coffee trends take the city and the world by storm? No more takeaways.

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One Melbourne cafe has banned takeaway coffee. Image by ©Jodie Johnson/Shutterstock

A cafe in the inner Melbourne neighbourhood, Fitzroy, has declared that it’s drink-in only from now on. Even reusable takeaway cups like Melbourne-born-and-bred Keep Cups (more on those later) are not welcome at this local favourite, Napier Quarter.

Co-owner, Daniel Lewis, told Melbourne’s Broadsheet the decision to ban takeaway coffees at Napier Quarter was initially fuelled by environmental reasons, with the world producing a rising tide of single-use coffee cups with nowhere to go, but they quickly realised that sitting down at a table to enjoy your espresso or ‘flat white’ has social and personal benefits that are equally important. “We want to encourage it as a simple pleasure of one’s day, to be able to sit and have a moment,” Lewis explained.

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Relax with a coffee in Fitzroy. Image by Noelia Ramon - TellingLife/Getty Images

For those stopping for a coffee, the lack of people coming in and out and queuing for their quick fix on the run, has also improved the overall cafe experience. Napier Quarter also reduced the price of a coffee as an extra bonus for drink-in coffee lovers.

Melbourne takes its coffee seriously, with cupping courses, tasting notes on coffee menus, and barista competitions. Its coffee-drinking obsession can be traced back to the migration of Italian and Greek families after World War II who brought the iconic espresso bar with them. While going out for a coffee might seem like a luxury to some, to Melburnians a proper coffee is an affordable luxury they cannot forgo - even on a weekend away to regional centres where the cafe culture is also strong.

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This cafe wants customers to take time to enjoy their coffee. Image by Boy_Anupong/Getty Images

As well as a thriving cafe scene, Melbourne is the birthplace for the world’s first ‘barista standard’ re-usable coffee cup, when Jamie and Abigail Forsyth designed and made their own back in 2007 – the Keep Cup – now sold globally. Will Napier Quarter’s decision to ban the take-away latte be the beginning of a global trend where walking down the street with a plastic cup is akin to smoking a cigarette outside a hospital entrance? Time will tell.

Meanwhile, if you want to talk coffee in Melbourne with the locals, read this advice from our Lonely Planet Local, Sofia Levin.