Europeans love to think they invented coffee culture, with little cafes on cobbled streets serving strong espresso the norm in every Mediterranean country you go to. But Australian cafe culture is on another level.
Despite coffee beans typically grown in Africa and Central America, and Italy being renowned for its obsession with the strong stuff, Aussies still believe they serve the best coffee in the world.
To find out more about this coffee phenomenon and learn where it came from, read on:
After a wave of Italian immigrants moved to Australia following the Second World War, they brought with them their love and respect for good-quality coffee beans.
Instead of drinking filter coffees like the Americans, Aussies learnt to love rich espressos and cappuccinos, using pressurised machines to create thick foam on top.
Over the years, the Italians showed Aussies the beauty of cafe life, and coffee shops began to crop up all over the place. Bohemians loved the cultural scene, and the trend of sitting in cafes while taking in the buzz of city life grew and grew.
Something else the Italians drummed into Australians was the importance of good-quality coffee. You can bet they won’t tolerate a shoddy brew now, so poor cafes don’t last long.
This is also the reason why big chains such as Starbucks don’t stand much of a chance, with the American brand closing 60 of their 84 shops in 2008 after being hit by catastrophic losses. Indeed, the vast majority of cafes Down Under are independent, and that’s the way customers like it.
As a result, every cafe is vying for customers, and does so by producing ever-better coffees. That is why coffee in Australia has become second to none.
Australians might be obsessed with their morning drink, but this doesn’t mean they will chuck it down for the caffeine hit. They really value good customer experience when they go to a cafe and are happy to wait in a long queue so everyone’s drink can be made with care and attention.
According to 50 Best Stories, customers expect the barista to know where the coffee has been grown and produced; what variety it is; what coffees are in season; and what the speciality grade is. They really take an interest in how, where and when the beans were roasted and harvested, so their morning espresso is as good as it can be.
“People are demanding quality flavours and aromas, quality roasting and brewing and simply just caring baristas who’ll treat the coffee the way it should be treated,” Barista Institute explained.
It is clear the fast-paced service at Starbucks and other major US brands was not appreciated in laidback Australia, where going for a coffee is as much about the experience as it is about a delicious beverage.
All Australians think they are masters at coffee, but the real test is opening a cafe in Melbourne, in particular. Considered to be the coffee capital of the world, if a cafe serves below-par espressos, offers poor customer experience, and doesn’t have a creative and vibrant atmosphere, it simply will not last a minute in Melbourne.
Two-thirds of Melbourians are thought to go out for coffee every day because local brews are so good, so if they are going to spend their money on tiny shots of espresso at steep prices, it certainly has to be worth it.
If you want to have a taste of Australian coffee culture in London, head to our Hammersmith cafe to enjoy delicious drinks and some classic Aussie snacks.