Believe me – Australians can sometimes be a bunch of coffee snobs. Starbucks wasn’t successful here, and for good reason. Australia has one of the healthiest cafe cultures in the world. As a uni student, you will probably turn to coffee for a pick-me-up somewhere between lectures, assignments, notes and tests, so it’s helpful (and hopefully interesting) to be up-to-date with the Australian way of drinking coffee.
Drinking coffee is a daily ritual for most adults in Australia. It’s very common for Australians to visit their favorite cafe every day (or at least during the working week). With the average Australian adult drinking 9.2 cups of coffee a week, it is understandable that most people build a relationship with their barista (coffee maker) who probably knows their name, and possibly their order. Most Australians love this personal connection and seeing a friendly face first thing in the morning before they get to work. Hence the appeal of the local cafe. The Australian cafe becomes a community centre, a place for people to chat, catch up with friends and get a cup of coffee (just the way they like it) day in and day out.
This cafe culture is partly the reason why Starbucks wasn’t successful in Australia. Australian’s aren’t used to drinking their coffee at a large chain store, where they don’t recognise the barista. And not to mention the actual coffee.
Italian migrants introduced espresso coffee to Australia in the 1950’s. And since then, we have never looked back. Rachel Oaks-Ash of the Sydney morning herald says that she detoxes before trips to North America as the migraines induced by withdrawals are far better than “the pain of drinking filter coffee served in a thermos that the masses seem to thrive on across the pacific.”
It’s true. Most Australians hate the American style of coffee, and it’s pretty hard to find being served at a cafe here. Proof is in starbuck’s failure to successfully penetrate the coffee market in Australia. The popular american chain closed 61 of it’s 85 stores in 2008 after it failed to sell Australians their milky, oversized and sweetened version of caffeine. For Australians, ordering a “grande” or “tall” seems bizare and is just as confusing as the incredibly large menu of hot drinks. In Australia, coffee orders are much more streamlined. The sizes are usually limited to either regular or large, and most people choose between a latte, flat white or cappuccino with light, full cream or soy milk.
The image bellow is a good demonstration of the types of coffee found in Australia and what they are made of so that the you can work out which is most similar to your order back home:
Drip coffee is scarce in Australia, so if you are used to ordering an “Americano” you should probably opt for a long black. Similarly, if you are used to ordering doubles, you will have to ask for a double shot at the end of your coffee order, for example a “long black double shot” would be similar to a “Red eye” from Starbucks. Lots of Australians also say “skinny” to indicate that they would like skim or light milk. For example a “skinny cap”. to indicate a skim milk cappuccino.
Where to get great coffee close to ACU’s North Sydney Campus (in order of my personal preference):
– The Roots Espresso
– Bacino bar
– Northside Bunker
– Bourke st Bakery
– Ground Espresso
– The Cafeteria at Uni (If you’re running late).
What’s your coffee order at home and what do you think it would be in Australia? Is it the same or different? Let me know in the comments below!