Flat whites and long blacks – A Peek into the Coffee World in Australia

*Disclaimer: Written by a tea-drinker

The unmistakable aroma of fresh coffee. Di-vine. 

Why is it that even tea drinkers enjoy this delightful aroma? 

I have this feeling that I will one day take a bigger step into the coffee world but as of right now I have not made an effortful attempt. If it's meant to be, I'd like my taste for coffee to develop naturally. Nevertheless, I can recognize a country where coffee is serious business. Australia has fairly recently become one of those places. Going back only a few years, Australia wouldn’t have been the first (or second or third) country I would have listed as being known for its coffee. Aussies, it seems, have put a lot of heart and soul into changing this.
For the love of coffee
Barista-made coffee is highly preferred
There's always the option of coffee from a van, with its own barista and espresso machine
Cafes in Australia are almost as plentiful as kangaroos. You won’t find many coffee shop chains (other than Starbucks and Gloria Jeans) and asking about one may result in a disgusted look. In Sydney and Melbourne you may even come across shops that only sell coffee – you can forget about asking for tea at these locales (first-hand experience, of course). New cafes seem to pop up every week and can quickly develop a loyal following, if their coffee makes the cut.   

My funky local coffee shop, situated in a parking lot and alleyway

Take a seat for a lesson in good coffee
Coffee, Sydney-style
Watching the world go by with a cuppa in Sydney
Starting at AU$3.50, you have a choice of coffees with varied water to coffee ratios, as well as different amounts and types of milk (soy milk seems to be an option at all cafes). Australia is the world of flat whites, long blacks, cappuccinos and everything in between. You won’t find drip coffee in many (if any) places and asking for a “double-double” (Canadians take note) will only get you strange looks. Shops regularly advertise which blend they are featuring and what roaster they are using. Heck, even McDonald’s highlights their “barista-made” coffee!  

Not even a complete list but still plenty to choose from
Shiny machinery in each and every cafe
It’s not uncommon for coffee-lovers to have a favourite barista and to stay loyal to them. A prominent Sydney newspaper publishes a yearly cafe guide that is segregated by neighbourhood (only the best ones make the list) and also features the best baristas in the city. I'm not aware whether cities in Canada put out similar publications. Perhaps there aren't enough independent cafes to compare at this time?

A handy little guide to have in your purse
But how good is the coffee in Australia? 

It wouldn’t be fair for me to comment (see top of post). You’ll have to make your way over here and try it first-hand. I have heard testimonials from well-traveled individuals, however, that rate Australian coffee, and how it's served here, very high.  

I can, however, comment on my current version of the daily fix - chai tea. Aussies also do chai-tea very well in my opinion. I had my fair share while living in Australia with loose-leaf chai tea brewed with milk being my preferred type. I recommend staying away from the powdered or syrup-style chai - unless you prefer that artificial taste.

What's not to like in this presentation?
Tea at a bookstore cafe, perfect for a rainy day
Tea by the pool anyday
 For now, my love for tea remains strong, but I can't say it will remain this way forever. There's always room for coffee, right?



  1. Great post, S!! You're making me crave a good ol' Aussie chai late now.. :)

    1. We will have to have one together soon in Melbs! ;)

    2. Hey, you know I'm always up for that! ;) Except when I'm not in Melbs, of course.. :P

  2. I advise you to start with latte, maybe with some syrups. It has THE aroma but the taste is not so strong, so it's good for a coffee beginner. Have you tried it?:)

    1. Mmmm good idea! I have one from time to time. :)