Australian Coffee: What You Need to Know

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 11th, 2022

Australia’s unique coffee history comes from the large Italian immigrant population. The Italians brought their love for coffee to most cities, including Sydney. A notable boom in the coffee cafes in the town facilitated the roasting of Australian coffee. Some popular café chains include Campos Coffee, Singleo, and Toby Estate. These cafes serve the best-tasting coffee.


The large Italian influence also means you will get some of the popular coffee brands in Australia. They include Vittoria, Segafredo Zanetti, and Lavazza. Australian coffee brands are highly preferred since they are fleshier and local.

Australian coffee

The Australian coffee culture has become known worldwide because of its tasty brews and laidback lifestyle. Before the Coffee Brassii (our home-grown java plant) was discovered in Cape York in 2011, the coffee bean was not considered native to Australia. 

So why has the coffee craze taken the world by storm?

The history of Australia Coffee

Australia

The history of Australian coffee dates to the period after World War II when the Greek and Italian immigrants left their devastated countries. They brought some stovetop coffee makers that were common to Europe and most other parts of the world. The machines were superior in coffee making, unlike the good filter coffee used in Australia at the time.

The laidback culture in Australia means people have more time to enjoy sitting together and having a cup of coffee on the sunny beaches. Milk was a useful component used in making macchiato to the flat white boomed coffee.

Why Australian Coffee is the best on the planet

Australia

Australia has the best coffee in the world.

In 2008, Starbucks closed over 70% of its Australian stores after losing $143 million because no one was buying their coffee. Currently, there are only 22 Starbucks outlets in the entire country.

Only in Australia has the coffee shop experienced a scale back in their operations. The reason is that Australians do not buy crappy or average coffee because they have the best coffee in the world. Their coffee is easily stimulating and dark-roasted.

The rise of Australia goes back to Hitler. Really?

During WW2, Hitler bombed Europe, which forced Greek and Italian families to move out and look for new homes. Some eventually landed in Australia and brought with them the stovetop coffee-makers.

The stovetop coffee makers were used in making espresso. It yields better coffee than drip coffee or filter coffee. During the ‚Äė50s, a network of Italian coffee shops and cafes popped up, all selling espresso. Over time the caf√© culture developed and was rooted in improved coffee quality.

The Italians had been doing it for decades. What makes the Aussies apart? It’s creativity and milk.

Italian coffee is staunchly traditional. 60% of their coffees are espresso, eschewing milk, hot water, and adulterants. They only drink a latte in the morning, which is not different from what was happening half a century ago. Like¬†Marco Arrigo, head of quality at a world-renowned coffee Illy says, ‚Äúespresso takes many years to perfect.‚ÄĚ

Americano got its name from American GIs based in Italy during WW2, who added hot water to their espresso.

In Australia, they took solid groundwork and built on it. They invented the Flat White and the Long Black. They serve iced Vietnamese strong Turkish, or sweet Mexican-style brews. They experimented with beans, blends, and temperatures with baristas who are trained as chefs.

If you are looking for the near-perfect cup of antipodean java juice in London, here is where you can go:

What does Starbucks have to do with coffee culture?

starbucks

Despite the coffee snobbery in Australia, the role of Starbucks in influencing coffee culture in Australia cannot be overlooked. During the 90s, Starbucks ran campaigns that helped people change their perception of drinking coffee.

Instead of taking the bulky concoctions, they encouraged people to consume the fancy concoctions by introducing milky coffees with fun flavors, sugary pastries, and other baked goods.

Food and coffee: the ultimate pairing

Like Starbucks, most Australian coffee shops pair coffee and a snack, replacing the sweets with smashed avo on toast. It is the perfect place to refresh after a gym class, run, or walk your dog out.

All their beans are ethically sourced and have many healthy milk alternatives (oat, almond, soy, coconut). A raw protein ball or vegan veggie bowl is part of the power breakfast served in the café. The pairing makes the cup of coffee more refreshing.

The Rusty Rabbit

In Sydney, coffee specialties are served with smashed dishes and cakes. You can try different styles of coffee from other parts of the world from the coffee shops. From iced Vietnamese with sweet condensed milk to the string Turkish.

The coffee connoisseurs who make it happen

There are professional obsessive baristas who take their work seriously. They will give you all the details when you ask them about any coffee origin. The latte art has been taken to social media, where websites and pages are talking about it. Baristas earn fair wages regardless of the size of the coffee shop they work for hence promoting the Aussie coffee culture.

Australian coffee culture overseas

Australia

Australian coffee cafes are known all over the world. Whether you are in London, New York, or LA, find an Aussie coffee café. You will be served a world-class brew for a couple of dollars that makes you smile as you enjoy the best Aussie coffee.

Australians demand coffee that is memorable and distinctive. When you walk to any coffee shop, the baristas will tell you the coffee was grown, what variety it is, and who produced it. The menu will showcase the specialty grade offered in that season. Labels on retail bags indicate the time coffee was harvested.

According to Ben Bicknell (a coffee director and strategic project manager for Five Senses Group), the culture of cafes is diverse. For starters, they are mainly focused on espresso-based coffees rather than filter coffee with a lighter roast as compared to the USA and Europe.

The local vernacular for our coffee is the flat white, short black, and the magic long macchiato. Most of these drinks are made by slight adjustments of espresso milk to form quantities. The small differences make the brew hit the spot.

A Single O flat white

According to¬†Fleur Studd,¬†design and detail are common themes. ‚ÄúThere will be flat white on the menu or smashed avocado on toast. As a nation, we make a great breakfast/brunch and a great coffee combo. White espresso menus have dominated for the longest time; filter coffee has recently become a fixture on the menu. It is a customer favorite in some specialty coffee shops.‚ÄĚ

Australia,¬†Dion Cohen,¬†director of Sydney Caf√© and roaster Single O is an innovator in the caf√© world. ‚ÄúIn the espresso arena, we have paved the way with the intense espresso paired with finely textured milk.‚ÄĚ Coffee is largely served without additives such as caramel and other flavorings. A person can earn a modest living as a barista.

The details of great coffee

The Australian baristas are constantly pushing for great coffee. Key variables must be controlled to produce a high-quality espresso shot.

  • Freshness

The first detail of any good coffee is the beans’ freshness and the grind. When beans are roasted, carbon dioxide gas is formed inside the beans. It is useful for baristas to wait until the beans degas to avoid uneven extraction, which impacts the coffee flavor.

The perfect time to grind is after degassing. Waiting too long results in oxidation; hence the coffee tastes stale. That is the reason espresso tastes best with freshly ground beans.

  • Cleanliness

In every food or beverage preparation, cleanliness is key. A slight contaminant will affect the taste of the coffee. The basket must be wiped with all the residue, grind, and oil.

  • Dose

This refers to the amount of coffee in a basket. When hot water is pushed through the coffee, it moves to the bottom, extracting oils, dropping temperatures, and turning into espresso. When the dose is increased or decreased, it changes the time water takes to pass through, affecting the extraction quality.

In a commercial setting, consistency is key. The dose needs to remain the same to keep the extraction consistent.

  • Grind

Coarse grinds allow water to pass through them faster while extracting coffee. When the grind is too fine, water takes longer to pass through, and high pressure must be applied. A medium grind is perfect for great taste and extraction.

  • Tamp

Tamping is the process of pressing down on the coffee bed before pulling the shot. It condenses the space between the grind and ensures coffee passes through. Moving the grind in a basket ensures even tamping. Uneven tamping results in channeling where water passes on one side of the bed resulting in an unsatisfactory shot.

Understanding the science of extraction takes a lot of time and practice. Other key barista skills include milk steaming and free pouring. To succeed in these barista skills in Australia, you can apply for the Kenvale barista course today.

Best Coffee shops in Australia

Dawn Patrol is a small batch specialty roaster in McLaren Vale. They only open doors one day a week; on Sunday from 9.30 am to 4 pm. You can enjoy the free coffee tasting sessions from the fresh roasts and good music.

Reuben Hills is a micro-roastery based in Surry Hills that has been selling tasty coffee since 2012. They travel to coffee-producing nations, meet farmers, cup their crops, and select the best-tasting beans only. Every Saturday at 10 am, you can join them for coffee cupping and tasting sessions in their Lab.

It is named after Baba Budan, who smuggled seven seeds of coffee from Yemen. The cute little shops from the best roastery, Seven Seeds. They sell the best experimental coffee brewers, micro-roasters, green bean traders, and country of origin specialists.

Australian Coffee Beans: A Flavor Profile

Coffee grown at ground level tends to be lower in caffeine. It also appears to have a certain sweetness, lack of bitterness, and a medium body with chocolate and nutty flavors.

Other flavors include ash, tar, and tobacco, all suggesting the overall milder beans taste. Generally, most Australian coffees tend to be less strong.

Growing And Processing Methods

Much of Australia‚Äôs coffee is grown at 650 ‚Äď 1300 feet above sea level, which may explain why Australia‚Äôs coffee-growing community has struggled.

Most Australian coffee farms also tend to be smaller, consisting of 50-100 acres.

Processing methods differ across the board, with some cherries being processed dry, others being processed wet, and even others using a special process developed by Mountain Top Coffee Company called double pass, which involves leaving the beans on the trees to dry and then rehydration for pulping.

Coffee regions in Australia

Most Australian coffee is grown in New South Wales and Queensland in subtropical regions along the country’s eastern coast.

New South Wales

New South Wales (NSW) is the center of Australian coffee-growing culture.

The subtropical climate means the area has slightly cooler temperatures, allowing beans to grow even longer. It also has good water and soil; although colder, coffee plants don’t get too cold.

Queensland

Queensland is on the continent’s northeastern side, closer to the equator (and thus the more tropical regions) than NSW.

Although the area produces slightly less coffee, it still regularly generates excellent beans ‚ÄĒ including some award-winning coffees from local estates!

Honorable Mentions

Skybury Estate

It’s set in Queensland’s Atherton Tablelands.

Though there are many coffees grown in Australia, Skybury Estate is one of the few that can claim to have grown one so nice that the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show won a gold medal.

Although the estate produces a vast array of coffees, the gold medal winner had a ‚Äúwow factor‚ÄĚ to note, offering a ‚Äústrong middle palate flavor depth and long finish.‚ÄĚ

The Current State Of Coffee Production In Australia

Australia‚Äôs coffee development was never what you‚Äôd call ‚Äústellar.‚ÄĚ For example, according to AgriFutures, 1000-ton coffee (just over 2 million pounds) was grown in 2012. Compare this to the nearly 1.5 billion pounds produced in nearby Sulawesi (a part, only a part, of the Indonesian coffee industry) that year!

Much of this comes from the flat, low nature of many coffee plantations in Australia, along with growing coffee plants in the sun in a monoculture crop setting.

The industry’s mechanization needs this less-than-preferable growing process. Simply put, making things competitive and making Australian coffee farms alive!

That said, infrastructure, equipment, and machinery are definitely less of a problem here than in more remote coffee-growing regions. While the situation may not be optimal for coffee production, the Aussie coffee-growing industry is not floundering.

If anything, Australia’s long love affair with coffee, and its proximity to so many coffee-growing regions, has kept it at the front and center of the coffee world, engaged in importing, roasting, and growing its beans, which will certainly continue to pick up steam as it matures down the road.

Best Australian coffee beans

Skybury Estate’s

Vittoria Coffee

Merlo Coffee

Mountain Top Coffee

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Disclosure: No compensation or free products were received in exchange for writing this review.

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Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.