There was a time when your only choice for coffee in and around Maitland, the gateway to the Upper Hunter region of New South Wales, was at soul-crushing chain stores. But things have changed, with boutique coffee houses springing up to keep locals and visitors caffeinated in style.
Maitland’s coffee game is strong with a host of new coffee purveyors favouring local roasters and boutique producers to serve you the perfect brew. Its love of coffee has culminated in the annual Aroma festival, which celebrates all things coffee and chocolate. Local chocolatiers and roasters from across the Hunter come together to showcase their artisan products in the historic town.
Ready? Your Maitland coffee trail starts here…
Newcomer Bread and Water is the region’s first 100 per cent gluten-free cafe and bakery and is bound to attract a strong following for its quality cakes and treats. Located next to the historic Maitland Gaol, everything is made on the premises and owner Vanessa, who is coeliac, wants customers to indulge without the worry.
And indulge you can, with delicious treats served alongside Newcastle’s exceptional Darks coffee.
Address: Bread and Water Cafe, 6-8 John Street, East Maitland, NSW
This micro coffee house, previously known as The Hatch, started as a passion project for previous owner Helen. She gained a cult following for her award-winning sweet treats under the moniker Dragonfly Foods at local markets, followed by a successful stint in the Levee Mall’s shipping container pop-up. Popularity grew and it went on to take up permanent residency in The Hatch at the Levee.
Helen passed the baton on in May 2021 and now Birch & Coffee Co. is serving Newcastle-roasted Floozy Coffee alongside housemade seasonal sweet and savoury treats. They even make their own chocolate powder from scratch for those with little ones after a warming hot chocolate treat.
Address: 417 High St, Maitland NSW
New kid on the block COQUUN is causing quite a stir with its contemporary menu and modernist building at the Levee. By night it’s a wine bar and refined restaurant, by day it’s accessible and welcoming to all, serving pastries and coffee by the river.
COQUUN is sourcing its own Colombian single origin roasted locally in the Hunter with local celebrity barista Leah J manning the machines each morning.
Address: COQUUN, 396 High Street, Maitland, NSW
Black Label Espresso is a little espresso bar serious about coffee. Serving Delano Specialty Coffee, an independent coffee roaster from the South Coast, the cafe runs two house blends with a rotating single origin that changes weekly.
The main ‘B-Blend’ is a chocolatey nutty blend while the ‘Maverick’ has more fruity tones. Seek out these passionate coffee lovers on the corner of Bulwer and High streets.
Address: Black Label Espresso, 2/47 High Street, Maitland, NSW
Located in the historic main street of Morpeth, this contemporary cafe has a strong local following. Serving Glee coffee, a specialty roaster from the Central Coast, enjoy your coffee from either the sunny window seat or the spacious dining space at the rear overlooking the river.
Address: Common Grounds, 4/142 Swan Street, Morpeth, NSW
Come for the sweet treats and stay for the coffee. Its Silverskin coffee and T2 tea are the perfect accompaniment to the delectable pastries and cakes that are almost too pretty to eat… almost. The mini works of art are made with love and the chocolate raspberry mousse encased in a mirror glaze is so perfect you can see your own reflection.
Address: The Icky Sticky Patisserie, 2/27 Belmore Road, Lorn, NSW
Owner Tim Skinner has combined his two passions to create a local hub for the community centred on the complementary cultures of cycling and coffee. Bikesmith serves Suspension Espresso, a Newcastle roaster chosen for its aligned values based on growing and supporting the local community – and for its great taste, of course.
To keep things interesting for its coffee-loving community, it also features small-batch roasters for changing specialty and single-origin coffee such as Ground Control Coffee Roasters from the Tweed.
Address: The Bikesmith & Espresso Bar, 326 High Street, Maitland, NSW
The brainchild of tattoo artist Dave Bean and wife Bree, this space is a tattoo studio/cafe/recording studio in one with an inclusive community feel. Dave has previously been a survival instructor where he learnt the art of roasting coffee over fire in the bush.
He’s adopted this technique at the Cabin, roasting onsite over fire in what he calls a “primitive roast”: this gives the coffee toasty notes and an ever-evolving flavour profile. Dave likens the roast to music, which is also very heavy in the Cabin: “listening to the same song every day sounds boring, so you want to mix it up. We do the same with our coffee.” The primitive roast has garnered a cult following and offers a truly unique coffee experience.
Address: The Cabin Collective, 511 High Street, Maitland, NSW
The Cunning Culinarian favours boutique Sydney coffee roaster the Little Marionette at its High Street country-style cafe. Excellent coffee is perfectly matched with an all-day dining menu of hearty meals and incredible baked goods, making it the perfect brunch spot on your Maitland eatinerary.
Address: The Cunning Culinarian, 245 High Street, Maitland, NSW
Nestled within the stunning nursery grounds, this hidden gem serves a seasonal all-day brunch menu with edible flowers, leafy greens and herbs picked straight from the garden. The cafe offers alfresco dining surrounded by the stunning nursery grounds or comfortable verandah dining. Serving Glee coffee to enjoy alongside home-baked treats or its famous high tea.
Address: Heritage Gardens Cafe, Corner New England Highway and Four Mile Creek Road, Ashtonfield, NSW