The best hidden coffee spots on the Sunshine Coast

A mediocre cup of coffee just doesn’t cut it anymore and Sunshine Coast baristas know they have some heavy competition when it comes to keeping their customers happy.

Some of the best coffee spots on the Sunshine Coast lie hidden in the most unlikely of places, so you need to know where to go if you’re serious about your caffeine hit.

If you’re after a quality brew, friendly atmosphere and tasty treats, drop in and say hi to these local grind gurus and get some travel tips for your visit to the coast while you’re at it.

Compound Surf Espresso, Coolum

Baristas: Abe Andrews and Aaron Bradley
Shop 23b/15 Heathfield Rd, Coolum Beach

Compound | Best hidden coffee spots on the Sunshine Coast

Compound | Best hidden coffee spots on the Sunshine Coast

Compound Surf Espresso in Coolum is a not-for-profit organisation whose profits go to Christian Surfers Australia. Run by local surfers Abe Andrews and Aaron Bradley, Compound is a cafe and surf shop selling quality second-hand surf gear for bargain prices. It’s definitely a hangout for local surfers, so if you’re looking for a wave, take a seat at the ‘espresso bar’ and you’ll likely get all the tips on where the best surf is.

Coffee beans: Slide Coffee Roasters, a Sunshine Coast speciality coffee supplier started by Aaron and Rahel Bradley as an off-shoot to take their drive for sustainability and community-mindedness through the whole coffee lifecycle.
Food/other drinks: Cold press juice, homebaked muffins and banana bread plus a self-serve toast bar.

Aaron’s tip on what to do with a day on the Sunshine Coast? “Definitely climb Mount Coolum so you can get a look at the whole coastline. Check out a few cafes and then go for a swim at Sunshine Beach in one of the bays.”

Open: Monday to Saturday 5:30am – 5pm (summer) and 6am – 5pm (winter)

The Birds & The Beans espresso bar

Barista: Silas Hack
114 Burnett St, Buderim

Vandy's Garage | Sunshine Coast coffee

Situated in an old service station, Vandy’s Garage that has been around since 1918, a stop at The Birds & The Beans espresso bar coffee is a morning ritual for locals of Buderim and those who come pushing the pedals up the mountain. Sit inside amongst the motoring memorabilia in the old workshop or grab a seat alongside the vintage petrol pumps and you sip your morning fuel.

Coffee beans: First Sight Coffee specialty house blend.
Food/other drinks: Selection of pastries and cakes and juices.

Open: Monday to Friday 6:30am – 1pm, Saturday 6:30am – 12pm

The Pallet Espresso Bar, Mooloolaba

Barista: Johnie Stark
Shop 2/161 Brisbane Road, Mooloolaba

Pallet Espresso | Best hidden coffee spots on the Sunshine Coast

Pallet Espresso | Best hidden coffee spots on the Sunshine Coast

If you’re loving furniture made from recycled wooden pallets right now, then you need to check out The Pallet Espresso Bar. Furniture wiz and barista Johnny has built all of the cafe furniture himself out of pallets and doesn’t mind chatting about his DIY hobby while making your coffee. Johnny and his wife Missy have been working in the coffee industry for almost 20 years and say they created their quirky little espresso bar for locals to be able to pop in for a quick takeaway or relax away from the hustle of Mooloolaba Esplanade.

Coffee beans: Private blend from Mambo Coffee Company.
Food: A mix of delicious gluten/dairy/refined sugar-free cakes and sweet treats from local supplier Noosa Whisk and Wild Child cakes.

Open: Monday to Friday 6:30am – 3pm, Saturday 6:30am – 1pm.


Baristas: Aubrey Nowland (Head Barista) and Josh Lazarevski (Coffee Director)
59 Rene St, Noosaville

Clandestino Coffee | Sunshine Coast coffee

As one reviewer on Beanhunter puts it, “coffee here is an awesome experience”. Think pour-overs, plungers, syphons and cold drip all made with great pride in highlighting the beans’ origin. The team at Clandestino, in Noosaville, not only roast their own and wholesale but also go to great lengths to find the perfect bean, with Adam, one of the team, living in Bolivia to work directly with growers.  A particular favourite is the Wonberta, sourced from Ethiopia, with delicious strawberry jam, tropical fruits and honey notes and is worth deviating from your regular brew.

Coffee beans: Own blends and single origin with suggestions on how it should be brewed.
Food: As one of the specialty providores within Belmondos Organic Market your taste buds are in for a treat once you have placed your coffee order. Be quick to grab supplies at Tanglewood Organic Sourdough Bakery or get the blue corn tacos and other hot deliciousness at Vanilla Food.

Open: Monday to Friday 7am – 4pm, Saturday 7am – 3pm.

Home Grown Cafe, Palmwoods

Barista: Sarah Wright
4/6 Main street, Palmwoods

Home Grown | Best hidden coffee spots on the Sunshine Coast

Home Grown | Best hidden coffee spots on the Sunshine Coast

Tucked away in the quaint little town of Palmwoods, Home Grown Cafe owners Sarah and Gary Wright not only roast their own award-winning coffee but also only buy all of their produce from local farmers. Their sustainable approach to food is reflected in their menu where you’ll find dishes made up of what is currently in season and available in the local area. They try and get everything from as close as possible and know all of the producers who supply their food. For example, if a local supplier has an abundance of basil in their garden, they’ll take advantage of it having it by making minestrone soup. When we were there for breakfast, the figs on our french toast were from a small farm in neighbouring Woombye.

Coffee beans: The Tin Shed Coffee which is roasted in-house.
Food/other drinks: Full breakfast and lunch menu using local seasonal produce and organic where possible.

Sarah’s tip on what to do with a day on the Sunshine Coast? “A tourist visiting the Sunshine Coast has a chance to take advantage of making the most of both the coast and the hinterland in the short space of a day. It’s quite possible to have an early morning walk or surf on the beach and a breakfast or coffee on the way up to the hinterland somewhere like Palmwoods.”

Open: Tuesday to Friday 6:30am – 4pm, Saturday 6:30am – 2pm.

Guru Life

Baristas: Leah Burgess, Emelia Rockliss, Brooke Bush and Abbey Crawford
522 Petrie Creek Rd, Rosemount

Guru Life | Sunshine Coast coffee

Guru Life Coffee | Sunshine Coast coffee

Photo by Guru Life via FB

Guru Life is almost a pilgrimage. It’s only a 15-minute drive from central Maroochydore by which time you’ve swapped unit blocks for green fields and tributaries of the Maroochy River. The coffee itself takes on a spiritual dimension too with the inclusion of beans that have been individually blessed by virgin Dakini, under the light of a full moon.

Coffee beans: In-house Guru blend offering enlightenment in every cup.
Food: Vegan-friendly with twists on traditional staples like bohemian mushrooms.

Open: Monday to Sunday 6am – 3pm.

Husk and Honey, Nambour

Barista: Johnny Collins
16/18 Queen Street, Nambour

Husk and Honey | Best hidden coffee spots on the Sunshine Coast

Husk and Honey | Best hidden coffee spots on the Sunshine Coast

This hidden gem in Nambour not only prides itself on a guaranteed delicious coffee, they specialise in gluten and grain free food. Husk and Honey make everything on site as lots of their customers can’t eat out for risk of getting sick and even going into anaphylactic shock from the cross-contamination of gluten or grain. Johnny says by making everything on site their cafe is a safe haven for celiacs and people with allergies.

Coffee beans: Tim Adams coffee seasonal blend that changes every 3 months and a single origin rotating every few weeks.
Food: Entirely gluten-free and grain-free cafe, offering an all-day breakfast menu, lunch menu, cakes and other treats all baked on site daily.

Johnny’s tip on what to do with a day on the Sunshine Coast? “The best way to enjoy a day on the coast, in my opinion, would be to head to one of the beaches in the morning and then up into the hinterland to check out one of the many rainforest walks (stopping en route at Husk and Honey for coffee).”

Open: Monday to Friday 7am – 3pm, Saturday 8am – 1pm.

So tell us, friends, what’s your favourite digs on the coast when you need a coffee fix?

*This post was first published in 2015 and updated in June 2018.