The 10 Most Popular Coffee Drinks in Australia
Australians love their cup of coffee and take pride over the fact that they have an internationally recognized strong coffee culture. This coffee culture is unique and based on Espresso variations and not run-of-the-mill Filter Coffee. But how did this Australian love story with coffee begin? It all started after WWII when the Italian and Greek immigrants came Down Under along with their love for Espresso. And the rest is history! Australians love their coffee so much that they brook no compromise on quality. Apart from high-quality standards, this coffee culture believes in being innovative and evolutionary. Hence you will find the latest technology, special training to baristas with emphasis on artistic innovation and originality, and seriousness to the point of being snobbish. But in the end, coffee has to be good whatever the variation. It is the very reason why Starbucks failed so miserably in Australia. In this backdrop, you would want to experience this amazing coffee culture in Australia. So let’s find out the 10 most popular types of coffee in Australia.
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Australia’s love for “Latte” may be diminishing as is evident from dipping sales figures, but at 33% in sales, it still reigns supreme as Australia’s No 1 coffee taste. Also called Cafe Latte, it is one shot of Espresso in a glass tumbler with added steamed milk and foam on top. The most prevalent ratio of Espresso and Milk is 1:3, topped with 1 cm of milk froth. It is arguably the milkiest coffee and is best suited for palates looking for a sweeter version of the bitter taste of the coffee. Due to the heavy dose of milk, Latte is the mildest coffee on offer, prompting some to question whether it is coffee. As expected from milk infusion, Latte has low Caffeine content. Those who prefer Latte as the coffee of their choice may also like to add variations to it. You may like to go for added flavourings like hazelnuts, chocolate or even plain vanilla. So what are you waiting for? Indulge yourself in Latte, the most popular coffee in Australia to date.
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2. Flat White
Close on the heels of Latte in terms of popularity, is the iconic Flat White – the very name that evokes sentiments of something uniquely Australian. However, the invention of Flat White may be generating some tensions between Australians and New Zealanders with claims and counter-claims. However, Flat White has become a matter of national pride for an Australian. So what is this famed Flat White that is so dear to Aussies? It is a coffee drink that was first formulated in Australia. It utilises the steamed milk from the bottom of the jug, which is then poured over a shot of Espresso. Reason for doing so is that the steamed milk at the bottom of the jug is more creamy than frothy. Espresso to milk ratio is generally kept at 1:8, but some demand their Flat White with Espresso to Milk ratio of 1:4.
Flat White enjoys 24% of sales of coffee in Australia. It is the coffee of choice for hipsters and also gaining grounds in south-eastern territories, where presently Latte holds the sway. Among Flat White aficionados, there is a raging debate on whether it should have a thin micro-foam on top of the cup or not. But it is entirely up to you to give detailed instructions to your barista to suit your taste. If you want the consistency of cream in your mouth, then go for a thin film of micro-foam to top your cup of Flat White.
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At present, Cappuccino is the biggest mover in Australia. Its resurgence from 12% to 19% sales is a testimony to the fact that Aussies, especially in New South Wales, are reposing their faith in foam again. Cappuccino is after all creamier version of Latte. Instead of putting 1 cm of micro-foam on top of your tumbler as in Latte, you can ask for 2/3 cm of micro-foam and you get our Cappuccino. However, cappuccino is usually served in a cup and topped with chocolate or cocoa dust. This is resented by some roast-focussed establishments who believe that this detracts from the original aroma of the bean.
You can also order for Dry Cappuccino, wherein there is more foam than milk. You can also have chocolate spread over Espresso, then steamed milk and finally dusted with cocoa dust on top. Cappuccino has more caffeine content than Latte since it has two shots of Espresso instead of one. This coffee drink is gaining popularity in Australia because of its creamy texture and taste.
4. Long Black
Take a double shot of espresso with hot water and you have your Long Black, aka Americano. It’s a popular breakfast beverage, which is high in caffeine content. American soldiers during WWII, who came to Australia, infused this habit into Australian homes. The name Americano stems from this little piece of history. However, in Australian lingo, it is popularly addressed as Long Black. It is a strong concoction with no added flavour. Those who want to eschew dairy products for health or taste purposes can pursue this option.
It is easy to get a dose of these diluted Espresso shots in your home. But then you will be missing the taste of Long Black coffee which is expertly extracted from single-source fresh coffee beans with the help of technically advanced Espresso machines in an Australian coffee shop. You will also be missing the ambience of exquisitely designed and tastefully decorated neighbourhood coffee shops in Australia.
5. Short Black
Short Black is nothing but a single shot of Espresso diluted with hot water. This means that the recipe gives no chance to a cafe shop to hide its errors. Everything has to be perfect for that good cup of Short Black coffee. Starting with the quality of single-sourced beans to the freshness of beans, nothing can be hidden from the customer. Hence some also call it the Tester of a Coffee Shop. To get the taste right, some coffee shop owners go to the extent of cleaning up their machines whenever a Single Black is ordered. This ensures that no pieces of earlier grounded coffee beans are present, to ensure freshness. Since Australians are crazy about the quality and taste of coffee, coffee shops owners long for just a friendly nod when the coffee served is perfect. If they do not get the nod, then they get a mouthful. So if you are the unadulterated coffee fan and like your coffee straight, you will get your perfect coffee in Australia.
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6. Short Macchiato
Some people find Short Black a bit too harsh on their palate and yet crave for the exotic aroma of coffee to permeate through their senses. For them, Short Macchiato is the perfect answer. It is a single shot of Espresso, pattered with a dollop of steamed milk and foam. By adding steamed milk instead of hot water, it is ensured that the harshness and bitterness of Espresso are mellowed down while allowing the aroma of coffee to percolate your senses. How is this achieved? The Australian baristas take great care in preparing their Short Macchiato. Firstly, one shot of Espresso is placed in a tumbler. Then a dollop of steamed milk and foam is gently placed on top of the Espresso. Now the tumbler is gently rotated clockwise for a few turns so as gently mix the lower layers of milk with the upper layer of Espresso. This operation when completed, presents our Short Macchiato in three distinct layers – lower layer comprising of Espresso, mid-layer containing a mixture of Espresso and milk, while the third and top-most layer displaying steamed milk with foam.
On the same lines, one can construct a Long Macchiato. Instead of using one shot of Espresso as done in Short Macchiato, use two shots of Espresso. Follow rest of the process of making Short Macchiato in letter and spirit, and you have your cup of Long Macchiato. As is expected, Long Macchiato is higher in caffeine content than Short Macchiato.
7. Ristretto and Magic
Ristretto is an ingenious way of extracting espresso shot to decrease the caffeine content and make it look dark. It is an extraction process that presents a double concentrated form of Espresso. A Ristretto shot is prepared by stopping the machine 15 seconds into its extraction, instead of 30 seconds which is done for standard Espresso shot. This allows the extraction to be completed just before the Espresso shot starts to get blonde, and hence we have a dark looking beast. Alternatively, we can extract the Espresso shot with the same amount of coffee but half the amount of water – the result will be almost similar in taste and content. Ristretto is usually served double since it has half the liquid content of standard Espresso shot.
Magic is an Australian variation of Ristretto. It is prepared by pouring steamed milk over a double serving of Ristretto in a 60-ounce cup. It is claimed that this concoction was invented in Melbourne, but some maintain that it originated from Sydney. However, Magic is certainly unique to Australia. But one has to admit that Magic is not very commonly known outside of Melbourne and Sydney.
Mocha, is a peculiar coffee drink popular in Australian coffee shops. It is felt by many traditional coffee fans that Mocha is opted by those who do not like to have coffee. It is chocolate syrup with an Espresso shot. First chocolate syrup is prepared by vigorously whisking chocolate powder with a bit of hot water. Then your barista will extract a single Espresso shot and whisk it with the chocolate syrup. Next step is to add steamed milk with microfoam. Finally, a generous dose of chocolate powder is sprinkled over this drink and you have your Mocha ready to be savoured.
In all fairness, Mocha is a blended drink of hot chocolate and espresso coffee. In this blended drink, the bitterness of the Espresso shot is lessened by hot chocolate It is usually served piping hot, but there is also a cold variation called Iced Mocha.
Experimenting further with coffee and its possible variations, Australian coffee shops offer you Affogato. This is more of a coffee dessert than a coffee drink, but you will love the variation if you have a sweet tooth. It is one shot of Espresso coffee with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. But in case you want a stronger dose of caffeine, you can ask your barista to fix your Affogato with a double shot of Espresso coffee. Again as per your liking, you can get Affogato served to you either hot or cold. Affogato is not a breakfast drink and can be treated as a dessert. The bitterness of Espresso shot is mellowed out by more than an elaborate helping of vanilla ice cream to give you that creamy and delicious taste.
Last on the list of the 10 most popular types of coffee in Australia, is this fix called Piccolo. It is a Ristretto served with frothed milk in a small glass. Another way to construct Piccolo is to have two ounces of Espresso coffee served with two ounces of steamed milk. Baristas then decorate the coffee with a minimal design using micro-foam. Piccolo is meant for people who want to taste Espresso with as little milk as possible.
Piccolo is also served with one Espresso shot and steamed milk or one Ristretto shot and steamed milk. It gives a very strong espresso taste that any genuine coffee lover would fall for. But it is not too harsh because of the presence of little quantity of steamed milk.
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