The Scoop on Australian Coffee Culture
Bach wrote a cantata about it, it’s the second most traded resource in the world and over 2.25 billion cups of it are sipped and savoured every day. Coffee is more than just a pick-me-up for most: it's life-giving black gold. Without that early morning cuppa, society as we know it would likely grind to a halt. In ancient Turkey, failing to provide your wife with her daily quota of coffee was even grounds for divorce. Get it? GROUNDS!
Contemporary Australia is particularly keen on the bean, with buzz words like “single origin” and “barista” working their way into our culinary vocabulary. Australian coffee culture is experiencing something of a renaissance – our collective consumption has doubled over the past few decades. In honour of our favourite social lubricant and the caffeine flowing freely through our veins, let’s take a gander at who roasts the most along the east coast.
What's brewing in Brisbane
The amount of cafes and hole-in-the-wall espresso nooks popping up in Queensland’s capital boggles the mind – it’s pretty much a daily occurrence, keeping street press on their toes and reaching out for a second soy-latte. Us pesky Gen Y’ers probably don’t remember the grunge-bogan Brisbane of the ‘80s, but the old fogies can’t seem to shake that stigma from their cobwebbed minds. That’s cool though, Brisbanites are happy to keep their sleek, chic inner-city to themselves. Move along southerners! Nothing to see here!
BrisVegas has the privilege of being the first locale in the country to grow coffee, perched on the cliff tops of Kangaroo Point circa 1832, thankyouverymuch. Today’s Brissie is perpetually abuzz, awoken from her slumber by the harmonious roar of coffee grinders from Newstead to West End. It’s a beautiful thing.
Local roasters: Brew, Fonzie Abbott, The Single Guys
Where to get your fix: Ltd Espresso, Bean, Bunker
Sipping espresso in Sydney
Self-assured Sydney vigorously contests Melbourne’s moniker as the coffee capital of Australia. We may only rank 45th when it comes to global coffee consumption (jittery Finland takes that crown) but what we lack in quantity, we more than make up for in quality.
Stray away from the Starbucks-bedazzled CBD and let your inner caffeine fiend loose in the inner-city pockets – Newtown, Marrickville, Surry Hills, Darlinghurst, etc. For guaranteed buono coffee and lots of flailing hand gestures, the inner-west Italian hub of Leichhardt has you covered. Like everything that is good in life, espresso was created by the Italians. You’re welcome. The Italian cafe is where life happens and is discussed accordingly. Just don’t order a cappuccino after morning tea and you’ll fit right in.
Local roasters: Coffee Brothers, Bay Coffee, Double Barrel
Where to get your fix: Coffee Alchemy, Reuben Hills, Single Origin Roasters
A macchiato in Melbourne
Your favourite cafe is a home away from home, filled to the brim with all those little things that make a good cup of Joe: kindly people behind the counter, conversation wrapped in joviality, mountains of accompanying cake and perhaps even free Wi-Fi. For experiences beyond the cup, Melbourne goes alright. Their laneway coffee haunts are cosy and deliciously aromatic; their urban cafes oozing effortless cool.
There’s a reason Melbourne is full of coffee snobs, boasting the first “proper” coffee machines and the first roastery in Australia (Quists is still roasting away on Little Collins St). Up until the late 1940s, Aussies were a tea-drinking, rum-guzzling, pint-pounding nation. It took a while, but Melbourne’s coffee loving migrants managed to outplay the old Earl Grey and we’ve never looked back.
Local roasters: Sensory Lab, Seven Seeds, Axil
Where to get your fix: Dukes, Proud Mary, Cup of Truth
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