Along with stunning views and plenty of unforgettable adventures, Queenstown is renowned for its coffee culture. A host of cafés serve up some of the best coffee in the country here.
Locals are passionate about the perfect coffee, and enjoying the brew is a ritual here, morning, noon and night. There are many excellent local coffee brands on offer in Queenstown and some cafés even create their own in-house roasts. The preparation of the brew is almost as critical as the flavour, and local baristas turn each coffee into an art expression.
Whether you need a coffee to kick off your day, want to indulge in a long brunch, or unwind from an adventurous morning, check out these must-try coffee spots in central Queenstown.
Best Queenstown takeaway coffee
Off on an adventure? Grab your reusable cup and head to one of these takeaway coffee spots to fuel your day ahead. If you forget yours, many Queenstown cafés offer cups you can borrow through the Chunky or AgainAgain loan cup system for a $10 refundable fee, just ask your friendly barista.
Life’s a Grind
The silver Life’s a Grind caravans have become an icon in Queenstown, and locals' coffee stop of choice. Find their funky, retro-style caravans at markets and events across Queenstown as well as their convenient central Stanley Street location, opposite the bus stop. Friendly, local baristas serve Allpress coffee, hot chocolate, teas and a selection of delicious slices. If you're staying a while in Queenstown, grab a loyalty card – every 10th coffee is free!
The Coffee Hatch
This tiny, convenient coffee hatch serves a solid cup of joe. Made with locally roasted Octane coffee beans, the brew is strong, the staff are friendly, and the hatch’s handy location on Camp Street (across from the Snow Centre) makes it a go-to for those on the go.
From the heart of Mackenzie country, the Wyatt family switched from dairy farming to selling tea in the 1960s. Swept up with the coffee revolution of the 1990s, the team at Mackenzie Coffee Co. have been serving their own roasted espresso ever since. A true South Island brew for people on the move.
Mackenzie Coffee's specialty espresso bar is in the heart of Queenstown along Cow Lane. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, the team actively encourage their coffee drinkers to avoid single-use. Whether it's a mug from their mug library, a Chunky loan cup or your own reusable cup, they say, 'Whatever the vessel, our team are more than happy to use it for your favourite brew'.
Life's a Grind, image: @lifesagrind_espresso
Best locally roasted coffee
The coffee culture in Queenstown is constantly expanding, with passionate local roasters importing the finest beans and infusing them with Queenstown’s adventurous spirit.
This gourmet salad and sandwich bar serves 'Tāhuna blend' coffee by one of Queenstown’s newest roasters, Black Lab. Locally roasted in the Fernhill suburb of Queenstown, it’s made with beans ethically sourced from small lots. It’s a smooth and easy-to-drink blend with notes of chocolate, nuts, and spice. Plus, when you bring your reusable cup, you'll get 50c off your coffee. If you forget yours, they have spare mugs in store for you to borrow.
Bean Around the World
This cosy café and roasting room serves award-winning coffee roasted locally in the Whakatipu basin. Established in 1995, this family-run roastery is dedicated to making the finest coffee blends in small batches. Their award-winning, richly flavoured Arrow Gold blend is a must-try for serious coffee connoisseurs.
Corner of Rees Street and Queenstown Mall
Argentinian couple Alex and Lorena came to Queenstown seeking adventure but missed the exquisite chocolate of their homeland so much they opened Patagonia Chocolates in 2005. In 2012, they began roasting coffee using Arabica beans sourced from sustainable growers. As you can imagine, they make the best mocha in town.
Locally roasted coffee from Arthur's. Credit @arthursqueenstown
Best cafés with relaxed vibes
Sit down, relax and enjoy your coffee in these cafés with chilled, laid-back vibes.
A fun combo of funky wallpaper, art and houseplants along with great Supreme coffee – Yonder is well-loved by locals for its relaxed and chic atmosphere. You’ll also find a good range of specialty coffees here, from charcoal or beetroot lattes to oat milk flat whites. Things pick up a notch in the evening with live music and events, making Yonder a great spot to hang out, day or night.
Marmolada café may be central, but you won’t find a sense of busyness here. Expect a relaxed atmosphere, Scandinavian-style décor and a range of cabinet food and hot drinks. It’s wheelchair accessible, open early and not far from pick-up and drop-off points for many activities and day trips.
Best cafés for tea and cake
If you're in the mood for a sweet treat, most cafés in Queenstown offer a tempting range of cabinet food to accompany your coffee. Indulging in a treat alongside your tea or coffee is a cherished Kiwi tradition, and it's well worth sampling local favourites such as lolly cake, ginger slice, and ANZAC biscuits.
Vudu Café and Larder
Vudu Cafe and Larder is a long-time Queenstown local favourite nestled by the lakefront. It's known for its fantastic vegan food and to-die-for cabinet food. Tuck into fresh sweet or savoury scones, excellent banana bread and delectable cakes made with local produce. The carrot cake is a must-try. There are plentiful speciality teas to choose from as well as Allpress coffee.
Awarded New Zealand’s Best Café 2016, Bespoke Kitchen is renowned for its organic, gluten-free, raw, and vegan food alongside traditional Kiwi café favourites. Their beautifully decorated cakes, raw slices and other treats almost look too good to eat. Along with Allpress coffee, a beloved New Zealand brand, this café also offers an extensive selection of specialty drinks like teas, kombucha, chai and matcha.
Coffee with a view
Many of Queenstown's cafés are spoilt with spectacular views. Here are some spots to sit down and enjoy your coffee with a lake vista.
The Bathhouse, located centrally lakeside near Queenstown Gardens, is a historical gem built in 1911 with regal crown-like architecture to commemorate the coronation of King George V. Located on the beach, it originally served as a changing room. These days it’s the perfect location to sit by the lake and soak up those quintessential Queenstown views while enjoying your morning cup of coffee.
Nest Kitchen + Bar
An uphill walk or short bus ride from central Queenstown to the neighbourhood of Fernhill will be well-rewarded with the great coffee and ever-better views found at Nest Kitchen + Bar, the highest alfresco dining in Queenstown. This popular spot gets busy, so bookings are recommended.
Al fresco dining at Nest Kitchen + Bar, Fernhill
Coffee spots beyond central Queenstown
If you’d like to mingle with the locals, take a 20-minute drive to Frankton and choose from one of the many cafés dotted amongst the shopping precincts that surround the airport, or even find one or two that seem to float over the water on the shores of Lake Whakatipu's Frankton Arm – discover more Queenstown cafés.