Australia, The New Coffee Capital of the World
Let’s be honest, when we hear the word Australia, all we think about is kangaroos and koala bears. Of all the things the continent down-under reminds us of, coffee is probably the last, so let’s delve together into Australian coffee culture to discover why the Perfect Daily Grind nominated it as the coffee capital of the world.
A little history.
Australians love for coffee is very recent. Until the 1930’s, the continent could only source filtered coffee and did not have access nor demand for coffee beans. The situation changed quickly with the end of World War II. The migration of Greek and Italian people brought with them their passion for espresso and all other varieties of the brew that were still unknown in the country. The love for coffee kept on growing, and still does today, with Australia having the highest per-capita consumption of fresh beans in the world, as reported by Australian Health Survey.
Australia is not a place for large coffee chains.
One of the most interesting facts about Australian coffee shops is that, according to a study from IBISworld, almost 95% of them are independent. Even the coffee giant Starbucks was not able to create an economically sustainable chain of stores. They started opening shops in the early 2000’s and built 84 locations. However, they were forced to close over 60 of them in 2008 because Australians were used to a different style of coffee and were not willing to pay a premium for the Starbucks brand.
The land of choice.
The variety of coffee brews offered by Australian cafes is astounding. Most of the coffee is made from an espresso base of freshly ground beans usually lighter in taste compared to their European counterparts. Over the last decade, clients became more demanding and coffee shops worked hard to please them by developing new specialty coffee. This process as seen owners traveling to the countries of origin to source the best products, new small coffee roasters starting up and an overall increase of the varieties of tastes available.
Served with high quality food in a quiet and relaxing atmosphere, coffee is now an integral part of Australian weekends and the perfect way to spend a few hours catching up with friends.
Australia is now exporting their most famous coffee creation, the ‘flat white’, frothed hot milk on top of an espresso shot, all over the world with New York and London leading the charge.
Being a Barista is more than a part time job.
The position of the barista is a real career path in Australia and is taken very seriously. To be a barista, you need to acquire a certification either through nationally recognised schools such as the Australian Barista School or a higher level of hospitality qualification. During this courses, people learn how to create all the different coffee styles, the origin and history of the different varieties, how to properly grind beans and, last but not least, how to master coffee machines. Baristas are, as the Aussies would say it, “tradies” and that is why the standards are so high no matter where you go. Proof of it is the victory of baristas from Canberra of the 2015 World Barista Championship.
Although still unknown to most, Australia does have coffee plantations. Located in Queensland and New South Wales, they produce sweet Arabica beans with a medium body and a nutty flavour. Australian plantation is not subjected to serious coffee diseases (such as leaf rust), which makes it easier for the farmer to grow organic beans and not spray the crops with harmful pesticides, creating more sustainable harvests that can be sold locally to boost the market of environmentally friendly products.
Italian coffee aficionado, emigrated to Australia in 2013 and is always on the lookout for new and exciting coffee flavours and styles to discover. For about a year, he has been working as a freelance translator and content writer in both English and Italian.