Coffee is a real institution in Australia, if Australians can often be “Lay-back” for many things, they do not mess with coffee.
Everyone has their habits, their favorite coffee shop and barista, but don’t be fooled by appearances, their habits change quickly. The café also undergoes fads, a new café opens and people rush until a new café opens.
The cafes open and close regularly, this is due to a fleeting enthusiasm of the customers but also to the difficulty of sustaining this kind of business in the long term.
Australians often leave work to get a coffee and bring it back to drink at their office. This, even if the coffee often provides the office free of charge and of a quite acceptable quality. They often go there in groups, the social moment is the journey and the wait for their coffee.
Most Aussies take their coffee with milk, and baristas are imaginative in making patterns with milk froth.
If the city of Melbourne is proud to be the international capital of coffee, the other Australian capitals today have nothing to envy. In any Australian city you will never be far from a coffee shop.
Be careful, this does not mean that the coffee is excellent everywhere. As Australians take it with milk, it forgives some imperfections. If you take it without milk, you will realize that sometimes the coffee is bitter, served too hot. Adjusting the temperature of the percolator or the lack of dexterity of the barista causes the grind to be slightly burnt, hence the bitterness.
The other aspect of coffee shops, unbearable for the French, is the waiting time to be served. On the one hand the baristas are sometimes not very fast but also it takes much longer to serve a coffee with frothed milk and to make a pattern with the foam. You are warned…
When arriving in Australia, the first thing to do is to forget your espresso and study the coffee menu.
If you like it full-bodied then you will ask for it with an “Extra shot”, the coffee will be more “tight”.
If you take your coffee with milk, you will have to decide on the type of milk you want: full, low fat, skinny, lactose free, soy, rice, almond, oat, etc.
If you like your coffee with milk and not too strong then ask for the “Topped up”. It’s a typical Western Australian habit. For the uninitiated (if there are any left), topping up simply means drowning a perfectly successful coffee (macchiato for example) in milk, or even in some cases, in milk substitutes.
The Flat White
The flat white is composed of a dose of coffee (1/3), on which is added milk (2/3) heated and frothed with steam. It is usually served in a cup and the milk froth covers the coffee by half a centimeter.
Australia and New Zealand dispute the paternity of this beverage.
A café latte or a latte is a dose of coffee on which heated and steamed milk is placed. Latte coffee is most often served in a glass, larger than a cup, so there is a little more milk and the milk foam covers the coffee by one and a half centimeters.
Just like the Flat white, if you like it full-bodied then ask for an “Extra shot”, the coffee will be more “tight” and if you ask for a “three quarter latte” a quarter of the foam will be removed.
Please note that the latte is not a café crème. In the latter there is as much coffee as steamed milk.
Cappuccino is similar to latte coffee. The difference is that there is more milk froth in the former. The barista finishes the cappuccino by sprinkling it with powdered chocolate.
It is an espresso in which you pour 1 to 2 teaspoons of hot milk and a little foam on top. The macchiato is served in a cup. In some places it is also called Piccolo.
The Long Mac (macchiato)
It is the long version of the macchiato, a long black to which we add a little milk and foam. It is usually served in a glass.
It is a mixture of coffee, chocolate and frothed milk. This is the basic version, a more elaborate version uses whipped cream instead of milk.
The Long Black
One or two doses of coffee on which the barista adds hot water. They are served either in a cup or a mug according to your preference. For a long coffee, just ask for a “weak long black”. The long black is an excellent test to know your coffee shop makes good coffee, without milk, the slightest bitterness will be felt right away.
Espresso and Ristretto
An espresso in Australia is not the espresso you can find in France, it is generally smaller and tighter. Ristretto is generally smaller than espresso, but in Australia it’s hard to tell the difference. It’s not easy to find places that make a good espresso or ristretto, I often find them too bitter.
Babyccino is served in Australia to young children. In an espresso cup, but it’s actually steamed milk, sprinkled with chocolate powder. The babyccino is often accompanied by a marshmallow. That is to say that the culture of coffee starts early.
More quirky, you won’t find this anywhere. It’s a drink for dogs. Or rather, a mini dose of whipped cream served in a paper cup. A real treat for our canine friends.
A little history
Coffee arrived in Australia with British settlers who stopped over in Brazil on their journeys to Australia. But it is the European, Italian, Greek and Hungarian immigrants who made it prosper, the coffee shops appear. During the Second World War, the GIs introduced American-style coffee at the same time that tea began to run out. Australians are starting to drink more coffee.
Some interesting numbers
Today, despite appearances, coffee consumption per capita for the year 2021 is 2 kg per capita, while in France it is 4.3 kg.
The distribution is also surprising: in Australia, it is 0.7kg of coffee beans and 1.3kg of soluble coffee, while in France it is 3.7kg of coffee beans and 0.61kg of soluble coffee.
Australia is not one of the countries that consume a lot of coffee. The Finn consumes 12kg per year.
95% of coffee shops in Australia are independent, franchises are not very popular, even the American giant Starbucks has failed to establish itself and has only 39 stores across the country.
You’ll never drink your coffee the same way…