“Hey, wanna grab a coffee?” Conversations in Australia inevitably, at some point, will end up involving coffee. And why shouldn’t we? Allow me to toot our horn a little bit, but the Australian coffee culture is one of the best in the world. It is not just a beverage, but a way of life that is as Aussie as meat pies and Vegemite.
Why Australian coffee culture is a big thing
Socially we love to get together for coffee, and even when alone we have a special personal moment with our favourite cup. We immerse in its aroma, celebrate its taste and revel in its culture. We simply enjoy coffee to the full!
1. We consider quality to be important
We like coffee from the bottom of our hearts. This doesn’t mean that we are all coffee snobs (nothing wrong in being one) but it means that we won’t settle for average stuff.
We will forgo an instant coffee at home in the morning for a proper one from our local café. I am sure most of us have the experience of walking or driving further out of our way to get a better coffee if the nearest café isn’t good enough. Maybe even to pay a litte bit more to ensure the coffee is amazing!
This tends to mean freshly roasted ground coffee beans, pushed through a filtering system that creates the perfect hot crema. And then perfectly topped with silky frothed milk. We don’t demand latte art, but more often than not, a good barista will give this to us anyway.
Starbucks famously hasn’t made it in Australia because their coffee wasn’t good enough. Once you have had proper coffee, why go backwards? We weren’t going to settle for less than we were already blessed with!
2. We treat it with respect
In Australia, baristas are treated like chefs, and the good ones have been through nearly as much training. Coffee isn’t just buying a good quality bean and only using it fresh. Coffee changes in personality every day and even across the day.
And it takes a skilled and talented professional to keep up with it.
The temperature and humidity affect the beans and how fine they grind – so you need to adjust the grinder several times a day to keep it perfect. And this is just the beginning of small tweaks and assessments you need to make of your coffee making equipment to ensure that you always get the perfect brew.
Some baristas swear by using a milk thermometer to ensure you have the ideal temperature for frothing. Others will always go by the feel of the bottom or sides of the jug.
There is an art to it, and a science as well. And there is also a flair for it; some people have that sense of how to make a great coffee, and it can’t always be taught.
3. The café culture
Cafés as unique as you
Our cafés are gorgeous; filled with good food, friendly people and a welcoming atmosphere. They encourage you to sit and linger and contemplate and just be.
Brought to us by Italian immigrants who flocked to Australia after World War II, tiny little ambience-rich coffee spots started cropping up all over the country. Australians learned how to drink their coffee from the Italians, who make perfect espresso.
Our most popular coffee drinks have traditionally all been based on espresso coffee, to which we have added water, milk and latte art.
Apparently, 95% of cafes in Australia are independently owned, and the passion and personality of each individual owner are loudly declared. These places are quirky and interesting, but more importantly, they are inviting, with owners and staff who really care about the quality of your whole experience.
There’s something to suit everyone
You can explore new cafés every day of your life if you live in one of Australia’s bigger cities, and you will literally never run out of cool and eclectic new places to uncover.
Like a diamond in the rough, Aussie coffee drinkers search for the perfect café in the same way they search for the pot of gold at the bottom of the rainbow. And when they find it, it is just as treasured.
And the perfect café is an enigma – impossible to define and subjective to every individual. It is a combination of the atmosphere, the convenience of locality and parking, the comfortability of the seating, the food, the staff, and of course, the coffee.
You might also have different ‘perfect’ cafés depending on what you are doing that day. The perfect café for brunch is different to the perfect one to get some work done in, for example.
These are also different to the best one to take kids to, the perfect one for your mid-afternoon pick-me-up and the one you would go and sit by yourself if you had a spare hour to while away.
4. We evolve and are always trying new things
Many cultures of the world found their ideal brew centuries ago, and then kind of stuck with it. Turkish coffee is like this, as is the Italian espresso. High-quality coffees certainly, but a style perhaps captured forever in time.
In Australian coffee culture, we are constantly evolving and always trying something new (broccoli coffee, anyone?). Not all of our experiments work, but it’s fantastic that we are willing to try. From cold-filtered coffee to activated charcoal lattes to almond milk cappuccinos and more, our tastes grow and develop. We have taken this ancient drink and made it decidedly modern, and always changing. We have made it Australian.
And that is why Australian coffee culture is the best in the world. Not that we’re biased.
Wishing you a great day,
Suk-yi is a caffeine lover, blogger, entrepreneur, air quality consultant, environmentalist, world citizen, wife and mother. She explores various topics related to coffee, tea, chocolate and everything in between on her blog. Make sure to follow her on her Facebook Page, Instagram Page and Pinterest Page.