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How to find a good coffee while travelling

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Australia has one of the most eclectic, thriving food scenes around and a cafe culture to match. So naturally, we don’t mess around when it comes to coffee.

Whether you’re a long black, cold drip, double strength or macchiato kind of coffee lover, finding a decent brew while travelling can be tricky. So we’re spilling the beans on how to find a great coffee wherever you are in the world.

Busy coffee shop shutterstock

Don’t be depresso, have an espresso! Photo: Shutterstock


Bean Hunter

This is a great app for intrepid coffee lovers to have in their arsenal. Beanhunter collates hundreds of customer reviews from cafes all around the world.

An app like this would have come in handy on my family holidays as a kid. We once spent 2 hours traipsing around Venice in search of a particular café with a half-decent Yelp review. It certainly wasn’t worth the hype, or the trek.

With an impressive index of coffee spots in Australia, Beanhunter is building its reputation on a global scale. And it’s not just the major cities that are being covered. Coffee reviews are popping up in countries off the tourist track, such as Israel, Hungary and even Romania.

There are now reviews for cafés in over 180 cities so you’ve got a good chance of finding a decent brew near you. Don’t forget to share your coffee experiences on the app so other caffeine fiends can check it out too.

Screen shot of most popular cafes around Australia

Trawl through thousands of reviews to find your perfect cuppa. Photo: Beanhunter


Expat forums

If you’re really keen on a good cuppa and don’t mind doing some research, try looking through expat forums online. You can often find detailed reviews and recommendations for coffee shops all over the world from big cities to small country towns.

The great thing about these forums is that you can find groups of like-minded people with the same taste in coffee as you. A ‘good coffee’ can mean two very different things to a German and an Australian. Asking an expat will help you find your perfect Australian-style barista-made dirty chai if that’s what you so desire.

Though a quick google search will churn out thousands of sites, is a good place to start.

Latte from Peel Street Espresso

A brew-tiful latte from Peel Street Espresso, Hong Kong. Photo: Alison Godfrey



Devoted to food, wine and coffee, the team at Smudge don’t just share generic lists of popular spots. They serve up real stories that delve into some of the world’s biggest foodie destinations.

Beautifully bound with quirky illustrations, their specialty coffee books bring the thriving café scenes of Sydney, Melbourne and wider NSW to your coffee table. Now that they’ve got the Australian market cornered, they’re setting their sights on global domination. Well, not quite, but they do intend to expand their coffee knowledge past the southern hemisphere. They’ve already sampled coffee all over Singapore, Bali and Hong Kong, and have some great recommendations for your next cuppa abroad.

To check out their collection, visit

"Coffee Book' front cover from SMudge

The ultimate coffee guide for New South Wales. Photo: Smudge


Brew it yourself

If you’ve lost all faith in foreign coffee shops, you might consider buying or putting together a travel coffee kit. For some, this may seem like overkill but you’d be surprised how many of these kits are on the market. The demand for good coffee is high and shows no sign of dropping.

There are a few things to remember when putting together your kit:

  • Make sure you get a grinder with a burr, not a blade. It’ll make airport security a lot easier.
  • Avid coffee drinkers will likely already have their brewing weapon of choice. But if you’re in the market for a more suitcase-friendly option, you’ll find all kinds of travel-size French presses, pour overs and gooseneck kettles.
  • Unless you’re going to BYO beans everywhere, you may have to widen your horizons and try the local produce. Swap your familiar Toby’s Estate for something recommended by the locals.


Latte in a clear glass on table with two pots of lavendar

If you don’t put a photo on Instagram, did you really have a latte? Photo: Meg Scott


A few tips

  • Specificity is key. Depending on the country you’re in, when asking for “just a coffee”, your barista could serve up anything from an American-style filter coffee to a punchy Italian espresso.


  • Personal experience has taught me that, even if you see a big fancy espresso machine on the counter, you’re not necessarily going to get a barista made coffee. Make sure you ask if your coffee is going to be made by an actual human or by a machine at the touch of a button.


  • Stop mindlessly scrolling and put your social media to good use. Follow hashtags such as ‘goodcoffeeinLondon’ or ‘goodcafeinHongKong’ to see where other people are getting their fix. It’s also worth narrowing your search results by location so you don’t get your heart set on one café only to find out it’s a 4-hour drive away. Unless you’re that dedicated to the cause…


  • Don’t be a total coffee snob. While at home, you wouldn’t dare torture your taste buds with a coffee from McDonalds or Starbucks, but that might just be your best option overseas. With the generic Western menu, at least you know what you’re going to get.


Staff Picks

At Family Travel, our team shares two common addictions;  travel and coffee. When the adrenaline runs out, we turn to caffeine to fuel our adventures. To prevent you from ever suffering coffee withdrawals while travelling, we’ve put together a list of our favourite cafes around the world.


Infographic: list of favourite coffee shops around the world

The Family Travel team’s favourite coffee shops around the world. Photo: Family Travel


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