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A Lesson on Australia’s Coffee Culture

Australia's CoffeeA testament to Australia’s coffee: When Starbucks fails to take root any place in the world where it is introduced, that’s big news, after all Starbucks reigns as “king” in the industry.

The strategy of opening high-concentration “clusters” in small districts effectively puts financial strain on smaller and less-competitive coffee shops.

In Australia, that strategy failed.

In fact, out of the 84 outlets opened in Australia in 2000, only 23 remained after 2008. Sixty-one closed.

Prepare for Australia’s Australia’s Coffee Culture said, The coffee in the little cafes around Australia is too good, and Starbucks could not compete! Starbucks’ coffee was quite different to what Australians were used to, and they charged more for it. There are some coffee chains surviving in Australia, but their offerings are more in line with traditional styles of coffee.”

The Proof of Australia’s Caffeination

Australia’s coffee culture is so unique it borders on obsession. Their love for coffee can be traced from the large Italian immigrant population. One of the wonderful things the Italians brought with them is their love of coffee.

Sydney Moving Guide in its post Coffee In Australia notes the presence of strong Italian influence everywhere you go.

“… there has been a boom of local cafes roasting their own coffee and distributing it in the city. The top and best …are Campos Coffee, Toby Estate and Single Origin. At almost any cafe serving any of these coffee brands you’ll be sure to get a really good cup of coffee.

Because of the strong Italian influence in Australia you will also see many Italian brands of coffee such as Vittoria, Lavazza and Segafredo Zanetti. I tend to favour the Australian coffee brands as they are fresher and local.

Australia’s Coffee Decoder

Sydney Moving Guide even offers a “coffee decoder” with an image to let visitors understand the coffee culture in Australia. Here are some descriptions to note:

  • Espresso: It is also called as “Short Black.” It is just that – a straight shot of coffee and nothing else. Ristretto is a like espresso, except it has less water.
  • Doppio: This consists of a double-shot of espresso; and Doppio with water added on top of the espresso is called “Long Black.”
  • Macchiato: A shot of espresso is topped with a small quantity of milk foam.
  • Flat white: This is a single shot of espresso with steamed or slightly frothy milk poured on top of it.
  • Latte: This coffee preparation is almost similar to Flat White except it has more steamed milk and topped with more milk foam.
  • Piccolo: This is Ristretto served like a smaller version of Latte. The concentrated espresso is topped with with foamed milk added and served in a tiny glass.
  • Cappuccino: This popular coffee preparation has about one-third espresso at the bottom, topped with one-third steamed milk, and one-third milk foam. The signature topping is cocoa powder.
  • Mocha: This is a Latte, but it has a layer of cocoa powder added, giving it a chocolate essence, before it is topped with steamed milk.

Get Into Australia’s Coffee Culture

If you are a tourist, there are a few additional things to remember to get that coffee just as you like it:

  • How strong do you like it?  Whether your coffee will get a single or double shot of espresso is not certain; it varies from café to café. To get a double shot, go ahead and ask for it. In the same way you must ask to keep it a single shot if you don’t like too much caffeine.
  • How big is your appetite for coffee?  Coffee sizes are served in regular and large sizes. It may also be served in a mug, which is equivalent to a large. Note that the barista may think you like a Doppio or Long Black when you want a double shot. If you want a big order of Latte, make it clear.
  • Regular drip coffee and cream are out! Australian coffee is all about espresso and milk. Regular drip coffee is almost non-existent here. What you can have instead is a Short Black or a Long Black. There is also no such thing as cream or half in half for at cafes; it’s just milk.
  • Milk choices! What you have are choices of milk – skim milk, rice milk and soy milk. The regular milk here is heavy being typically “full cream.” When you order your coffee with skim milk ask for ‘skinny flat white’ or ‘skinny latte’. If you like soy milk, ask for “soy flat white” or “soy latte” and so forth.
  • Sweet coffee! Flavored coffee is not totally unheard of around here. The barista uses flavored syrups to sweeten and impart the flavor.

Melbourne took the first lead and is said to be the capital of Australian coffee culture. With the way it is not tied in just the cities or trendy resorts anymore, you can experience the coffee culture anywhere in this caffeinating nation. Tourism Australia’s post Australia’s Coffee Culture offers a list of the coffee meccas.

For more about coffee culture, go to Following the Trail: The Search for the Best Coffee

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