The rise of Australia's coffee culture

Michael Elligett

In recent decades, Australian coffee culture has become one of the most recognised and celebrated globally, and Aussies have inspired many café trends around the world.  


Cafe background


The biggest difference between our Aussie cafes and those that operate off our shores? We don’t just go to cafes for coffee and a croissant. We go to see friends, for work catch-ups, first dates, to study, to have difficult conversations... For us, cafes provide much-needed spaces for socialising and relationship-building.   
We have pretty high expectations of our coffee, and atmosphere and aesthetics are everything when choosing where to get brunch so that we can snap up the perfect Insta shot.  

So, how did we get to the point where we are happy to spend $30 on a latte and eggs on toast? 

The rise of coffee started in the 1870s, where a shift to earlier pub closing-times encouraged people to grab a coffee instead.  
However, Australia only had filter coffee until the 1930s, when Italian immigrants first brought espresso to our shores. In 1928, the first commercial espresso machine was introduced in Café Florentino in Melbourne. The popularity of espresso rose in the 1950s with an increase of European immigrants around the time of WWII. An introduction of new, decorative styles of coffee shops attracted a fresh crowd of trendy Australian bohemians and young adults.  

While other countries had a head start in their espresso addictions, Australia is now continuously ranked as producing some of the best coffee in the world. Our home-made flat white is offered in coffee shops globally. Most of our cafes are independently owned, expressing their individuality through interior designs and the type of unique coffee brew that is served. We also focus on employing skilled baristas and consistently have high levels of barista training.  

Its rare to find Australian cafes that serve filter coffee, and our beans are freshly ground to give our coffee the best quality taste. We also have a brunch culture that promotes healthy food options, complementing the rise in health-oriented lifestyle trends. 

All these factors have come together to give Australia the popular social coffee culture that we have today.   

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