What fills your cup?

Not everyone in the world's coffee-loving capital favours the bean for their morning kickstart or daily caffeine buzz. Melbourne's movement towards coffee alternatives is alive and strong with hot and cold beverages, in all shapes, cups and flavours, for a fresh start to your day.

So why not swap your single-origin coffee for an oat milk matcha latte? A banana and tahini smoothie? Or sip on one of these?

1. Bubble tea

Narocha Werribee, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

This Taiwanese milk tea tipple stems back to the '80s, since bursting onto Melbourne's fast-drink circuit from Box Hill to Footscray and beyond. Mega-chains like Cha Time, Coco and Gong Cha pump out fruity boba tea fixes, featuring vibrant flavour bombs brimming with tapioca pearls and foamy toppings. Naröcha Werribee and Industry Beans are just two Melbourne venues championing boba and taking tea-lovers taste buds by storm.

2. Chai

There’s a chai for every season, from soul-soothing masala chai to refreshing ice-spiked chai. This Indian spice-steeped tea drink comes in milky cupfuls of elaborate blends with spicy hints, on an ever-evolving menu of infusions. Balaclava’s Monk Bodhi Dharma cafe is dedicated to the cause serving up an aromatic range of Monk’s organic chai, while in the city Dropout Chaiwala models authentic street chai.

Monk Bodhi Dharma, Balaclava, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

3. Matcha

Matcha green tea has made its way onto many Melbourne menus as this Japanese 'super powder' is regaled for its antioxidant properties. For centuries, green tea leaves have been meticulously pulverised to create ceremonial- and culinary-grade matcha powders. Melbourne venues such as Little Rogue make matchas like pros with their Gramworthy lattes.

Matcha Mylkbar, St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

4. Hot chocolate

A velvety hot chocolate wraps you up in a warm hug-in-a-mug, all topped with whipped cream and pillowy marshmallows. More inventive iterations have morphed into fully loaded hot chocolates which take old favourites to next-dimension desserts-in-a-mug. But for drinking chocolate die-hards who prefer their dessert on the side, try Mörk Chocolate brewhouse, Sonido or Bowery to Williamsburg.

Mork Chocolate Brewhouse, North Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

5. High tea

In Melbourne there's tea aplenty – in all varieties – but it's as part of a celebratory High Tea ritual that the modest tea leaf really makes a splash. Our love affair with chintzy cups of fragrant tea served with delicate petite-fours never fails to delight. From Brunswick's Mary Eats Cake to the soon to be re-opened historic Hopetoun Tearooms, there's no shortage of venues saluting the humble cuppa.

Mary Eats Cake, Brunswick, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

6. Shakes

Ignite your inner kid, alongside your appetite, as you sip on a milkshake and some nostalgia! From regular shakes to thick shakes, they're more decadent than ever. If you're keen to trade up tried-and-tested flavours like chocolate, vanilla and strawberry, head to Huxtaburger or 8bit.

7. Juices and smoothies

Nothing beats a juice or smoothie to cleanse and refresh. Guzzling a glass of liquid goodness is just the tonic to hydrate and boost your body's vitamin needs. Along with dedicated juice outlets or juice bars like Jungle Juice, most cafe menus trade in cold-pressed blends, bottled or handmade, but check out Windsor's Oppen or Albert Park's Lenny for serious smoothies to 'glow'.

Higher Ground, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


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