australian coffee ask melbourne

Australian Coffee Culture 101: How To Order Coffee Like An Aussie

Melbourne and coffee. Coffee and Melbourne. It's rare to think of one without instantly thinking of the other – after all, Melbourne is the coffee capital of Australia and home to some of the best cafes and baristas in the world.

When it comes to different coffee types, being the caffeine loving Melburnians that we are, surely we all know the difference between, let's say, a latte and a flat white? A macchiato and a mocha? And how about fancy pants types like Galao and Espresso con Panna? (If you're sitting there feeling a little confused, don't be, we thought a Galao was some sort of tropical bird!)

Over the years, Australia has become home to the best-tasting specialty brews, which has created a coffee culture that is as serious as it is unique. You may remember when Melbourne was crowned as one of the world's coffee capitals or when the popular chain Starbucks closed down 70% of their Australian shops after losing almost $143M? This is clear proof that we take our coffee seriously and that there's no room in our country for an average cup of Joe.

Know Your Way Around An Australian Café

In Australia most cafés offer 'table service'. That means a member of staff will come to your table to take your order. The staff member who serves you is usually called a 'server', or you can use gender-specific terms like 'waiter' for a male and 'waitress' for a female.

If you are not planning to stay in the café while you drink your coffee, you might go up to the counter and specify that your order is to 'take away'.

The person who makes your coffee is called a 'barista'.

Check this also Coffee In Australia.

Let the taste lead you.

aussie coffee

Even though latte art is becoming more common also in Finland, it's not guaranteed that you'll get it if you order a cappuccino. In Australia, a café will probably not last a month if the baristas don't know how to make latte art. The common belief is that it only makes the coffee look pretty, but actually, it affects the taste of the coffee. Why? Well, there are 3 reasons:

  • if your milk isn't perfectly frothed, it's impossible to do any latte art
  • if your milk isn't perfectly frothed, it is quite possibly either burnt or not smooth, shiny and silky
  • if your milk isn't perfectly frothed, it's going to ruin your perfect espresso experience.

And hey, even the old proverb says that the look is half of the taste when it comes to food and the plating. We should definitely treat coffee the same way!

Learn more about Australian Culture.

Café Language

There are several phrases you may be met with when you arrive at a café.

"What can I get you?" is a common café greeting. It means: "What would you like?" Or you may be asked: "What do you have today?"

Customers who visit the same café are often referred to as 'regulars' – a short form of 'regular customer'.

If you are a 'regular' at a café, the staff might start to remember what you order each day. In this case, they might greet you by asking: "The usual?"

They mean:

"Do you want the same thing you usually order?"

"What can I get you? Your usual?"

"Are you being served" is a common way of asking if a staff member has taken your order? You might also be asked, "Are you being looked after?" which means the same thing.

A: "Are you being looked after?"

B: "No, not yet."

A: "What can I get you?"

The experience is unique.

Our local cafes completely understand that drinking coffee is about more than just the caffeine hit; it's also a form of relaxation and socialising. This is why Australian cafes make sure they provide great coffee and great service and provide a complete coffee drinking experience.

experience australian coffee

Australia's coffee culture is also solidly focused on the many different types and varieties of specialty coffee. As Fleur Studd, the founder of Melbourne's Market Lane, says, "When you walk into many cafes now, the barista will be able to tell you where your coffee was grown, who produced it, and what variety it is. You will often be offered coffee brewed as a filter as well as espresso. The menu will showcase coffees that are in season and specialty grade, and the labels on retail bags of beans will tell you when it was harvested and roasted." Do you see? It's serious business!

How To Order

If you're going to order coffee, you need to know just what sort to ask for.

An 'espresso' or 'short black' is made by forcing very hot water through ground coffee beans under pressure. This concentrated form of coffee is the base used for most coffee drinks. If you order a 'short black' or 'espresso', it will be served in a small cup or glass. You can also order a 'double shot espresso'. You'll get twice as much – but it's also twice as strong!

The barista will pour an 'espresso' over some hot water to make a 'long black'. It's served in a larger glass or cup.

Milk?

If you prefer your coffee with milk, there are a few options on offer. In cafés, milk is heated with steam. This causes it to 'foam'.

A 'macchiato' is an espresso with just a small amount of milk foam. A macchiato is sometimes shortened to 'mac'.

A common coffee ordered in Australian cafes is the 'latte'. Served in a glass, it's an 'espresso' topped up with steamed milk with just a dollop of milk froth on top.

milk coffee ask melbourne

Then there's the Australian specialty, the 'flat white'. It's served in a cup and is also an 'espresso' with milk. In this case, the milk should be a mix of liquid and froth.

A 'cappuccino' is also an 'espresso' coffee with steamed milk, but it has a thick layer of milk foam. It is served in a cup and is often dusted with chocolate.

More variations

On top of this, you might want to specify the type of milk you prefer in your coffee.

If you ask for a 'latte', for example, it will be served with full cream cow's milk. This is the standard milk in most cafes in Australia.

In many places, you can specify that you'd like a 'skinny latte'. That means it's made with low-fat milk.

Or you can order a 'soy latte'. That's a 'latte' made with soy milk.

Most milk coffees have these options. So you can order a 'skinny cappuccino', or a 'soy flat white'.

In some cases, you could order your milk 'on the side'. This means it will be served with a small jug of milk so that you can add it yourself.

If you have coffee seated at the café, you usually go up to the counter to pay once you're finished. There's no obligation to tip for service in Australia, though you might choose to add some small change to the tip jar on your way out.

Where is Australian Coffee Culture More Dominant?

No matter where you wander around the country, coffee culture is vibrant and hard-to-miss; however, you'll notice a few key differences from city to city. One of the largest rivalries to claim Australia's coffee capital is between Sydney and Melbourne.

Statistically speaking, the residents of Sydney buy more coffee per kilo than any other national city. According to a 2017 study done by Lavazza Australia, on average, Sydneysiders order 4.41 cups of coffee from cafes each week. Whereas residents of Melbourne only drink 3.91 cups of barista-made coffee. Nonetheless, the Victoria capital ultimately touts a higher percentage of locals that order their brew from the city's plethora of cafes rather than making it at home.

All across the country, you'll find thousands of cafes that serve phenomenal coffee and hundreds of thousands of locals lining up to enjoy it. Are you ready for a sip?

How to Order Iced Coffee in Australia

All year round, Australians like their coffee hot! Especially in the summertime, it's perfectly sensible to drink an iced version of your usual coffee; however, the cold coffee movement has only been adopted more recently in Australia and is not nearly as common. Nonetheless, you can find artisanal cold brews at a few special spots, like Monster Kitchen + Bar in Canberra, which miraculously serves filter coffee too! Additionally, you can also request your long black to be iced, but do not expect to find "iced coffee" on a menu.

The Most Popular Coffee in Australia

Three main coffee drinks dominate across Australia- the Flat White, Cappuccino and Latte. While each beverage involves a single shot of espresso and steamed milk, they offer a distinctively different drinking experience that Australians adore.

While you're guaranteed to find this holy trinity of coffee on every single café menu, each drink's popularity varies ever-so-slightly from state to state. While the latte is officially the best-seller across the country, folks in Melbourne and the surrounding state of Victoria prefer cappuccinos. Across Western Australia and Queensland, the flat white reigns supreme. What is the least popular coffee drink in the nation? The piccolo, a 100ml glass filled with a ristretto shot and topped with warm, silky milk.

Learn the difference between good and bad quality

Starbucks has failed to enter the markets in Australia because Australians didn't like the poor quality of their coffee and their average customer service (Munchies). Australians want to drink coffee that actually tastes like coffee. 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.

It obviously makes a huge difference to the taste and quality, if your grinder is correctly adjusted or not. In Finland, people don't know or care about the fact that you should adjust it every single day. Every. Single. Day. If you're not doing it, you're most likely selling bad coffee. That's the truth.

ask melbourne coffee

And the saddest part of this all is that cafés get away with it because most customers don't know the difference between bad, ok or excellent coffee. It's ok to be demanding when it's about a beautiful thing you love. You wouldn't eat old chocolate or surf with a broken board because that would ruin your overall experience. The same goes for coffee.

Here's A Guide to Aussie Coffee Terminology:

Flat White

Be warned, and if you love a Flat White in the morning, you might not want ever to leave Australia because it's not that common elsewhere. You can get it in New Zealand and perhaps the United Kingdom, where Aussies are taking over the coffee game, but most other places won't know what you're talking about. The Flat white is an espresso shot with steamed milk. Less frothy than a cappuccino, not as much milk as a latte, perfect. If you want to try and get an equivalent abroad, ask for a latte with no or very little foam.

Short Black

Elsewhere, like in the United States, this is called an espresso, but you're just going to get a confused stare in Australia. Here, a short black is simply a shot of espresso.

Long Black

A long black is a shot of espresso mixed with hot water. It's usually called an Americano outside of Australia.

Doppio

Rather than a double shot espresso, you should order a Doppio.

Macchiato

This can be a confusing one as in Australia, and you can order two types – a short and long Macchiato. A 'Short' is an espresso with just a dash of milk, and a 'Long' is a glass with two shots of espresso and a small amount of milk. In the United States, though, it's a cup of hot milk with a shot of espresso poured in. Make sure you get the right one when you order.

Iced Coffee

Even cold coffee drinks can be confusing. Here an iced coffee is a shot of espresso with cold milk and ice cream, whereas, in other countries, it's used to refer to a cup of drip coffee over ice.

Enjoy Coffee To The Full

enjoying coffee in melbourne

Here in the cold Nordics, we tend to keep everything quite simple, stick with the old habits and think that change is bad. When it comes to coffee, we're drinking a lot of it. First, it wakes us up in the morning and after gets us through the day. We don't understand that we're allowed actually to enjoy coffee.

And perhaps, quality wins over quantity. In Australia, coffee is basically a way of life. People are breathing, feeling and dreaming of it. It's ok to love it from the bottom of your heart, maybe also to pay a little bit more to ensure it's amazing and even walk a bit further to get to your favourite café.

Why do we drink our morning coffee at home in Finland? Why don't we walk to a close-by café and order a well-made quality espresso or hand-brewed filter coffee and sit down to enjoy it? In Australia, that's part of people's morning routine, no matter where you work or how big is your paycheck.

 

Resources:  How To Order Like A Local ,8 Ways to Order a Coffee in Australia, Things You Should Know About Australian Coffee Culture, The Idiot's Guide to Coffee , Reasons Why Coffee in Australia is the Best, How To Order A Coffee In Australia, How To Order Coffee Like A Proper Aussie

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