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Australiain v European habits

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  • Australiain v European habits

    Hi guys,

    I am a frenchman (I know it is bad ) I am a complete coffee lover. I would be interested if you guys could answer to some questions. I am curious to know more about how Aussies do appreciate and know about coffee (here in France, we often talk about australian people that are mad about coffee)

    Is it true that Australian people are loving coffee? Is it a part of your culture? Or is it only for a small part of the population, a kind of elite?
    In other world; are Aussies "connoisseur"? Do they appreciate coffee and make a difference between mainstream coffee and gourmet coffee? Are they really able to talk and hear about flavour, savor and aromas?

    Is it true that we can find a lot of roasters/coffee shops in almost every streets? Is there lots of places for drinking excellent coffees? Is it true that we can buy good italian espresso machines and quality grinders in every supermarket? Do people own such (expensive) expresso machines and grinders? do they roast by themselves frequently?

    If this is true, is it relevant comparing Australian coffee passion with our (as french) wine culture: I mean, you probably know that for us wine is very important, much more than a drink but a major part of our culture like cheese or gastronomy. I mean for most of us drinking wine is a kind of ritual, a social act shared with almost everybody. So could this be compared with coffee for you?

    Last, if all of this is true, could you please tell me if it is a new recent culture (by new I mean less than 10 years) or if it is a much older one?

    Sorry if I bothered you with all these questions, but it sounds sooo strange for me. I cannot imagin a population with a coffee culture. I would definitively like to know what is urban legend, myth and what is true and real.

    Thank you very much for decypering my english and reading me!

  • #2
    Re: Australiain v European habits

    Originally posted by 182C3B303D36275E0 link=1163710607/1053#1053 date=1275580806
    I am a frenchman (I know it is bad ) I am a complete coffee lover. I would be interested if you guys could answer to some questions. I am curious to know more about how Aussies do appreciate and know about coffee (here in France, we often talk about australian people that are mad about coffee)
    Hi and welcome!

    This thread is more for introductions rather than questions so Ill leave it to a moderator to determine of a move is needed but you can still tell us a bit more about yourself.  8-)

    My understanding of French is that they prefer darkly roasted coffee prepared with milk (cafe au lait) and served in bowls. I love French cinema and I notice this is how I have seen it in some movies as well.

    In answer to your questions: yes, Australia is a high per capita consumer of coffee and we may even be evolving into a nation of coffee connoisseurs. I dont think it is part of our culture more so than other countries.

     Ill leave it to those who are more well-travelled than I to provide comparisons but certainly we are turning more to espresso style coffees or other preparation techniques rather than just instant.

    Yes, there are quite a few cafes and roasteries in the major cities of Australia with Melbourne probably more recognised for that sort of culture but not sure if it is really that much ahead of Sydney. If you visit these cities are you are certain to find good coffee. I believe there is also some rural areas where good coffee is served. I have heard a rumour of a bakery in a place called Wee Waa.

    The people on this forum do own expensive espresso equipment and do our own rossting - thjis is what the forum is about but  it is more about coffee appreciation.

    By no means are we as famous for our coffee appreciation as the French are for their wine appreciation. I would say our wine appreciation exceeds our coffee appreciation and I think it is safe to say there are many more wine connoisseurs in Asutralia than coffee connoisseurs.

    Yes, it is recent. This site has only been around since 2004 and I think that arose from a relatively small group that has grown to tens of thousands across Australia (naturally), New Zealand and several other countries.

    I think most of our inquiries on the forum are from people looking for advice on buying a new machine. The more common coffee machine choices are the appliance type that can be bought in major department stores or the super automatic type which only require the user to place a cup and push a button to create a cup of coffee. Increasingly, some are turning to the European-made espresso machine, spending thousands of dollars; my machine costs up to $3000AUD - over €1800 in Australia.

    Your English is very good.


    • #3
      Re: Australiain v European habits

      I read last week (in the Age I think) that 60 per cent of Australians drink instant coffee. I also read they have the highest proportion of home espresso machines anywhere in the world.
      One thing I like about Melbourne, having moved here from London, is it doesnt seem as poisoned by the ubiquitous coffee chains.


      • #4
        Re: Australiain v European habits

        Gday Frenchy and welcome!

        Im no expert on this, but I think if you wound the clock back to the 1960s youd be hard pressed to find anyone in Australia drinking an espresso or latté. Australia has been well served by the post-war immigrants. We got a large influx of Italian, Greek, and northern Europeans in the 50s. I strongly suspect it is the influence of those folk that have given rise to coffee appreciation in Oz.

        When you travel outside the capital cities or major regional centres though, coffee quality drops through the floor and people are much less fussed about it. Having said that though, if you take an Aeropress and some freshly roasted beans to those places, you can cause quite a stir!

        The other curious thing is that some of the older generation (Im nearly an "older generation"!!) view an espresso sized serve as some kind of rip-off. When they want a coffee, they expect a honking big mug of hot beverage.

        Thats my take on it. And again, salut!



        • #5
          Re: Australiain v European habits


          Thank you for your kindness and for having taken time for replying me! That is really interesting for me!
          Your answers and comments knid of confirm what I heard from you and your coffee habit. It seems you are much more advanced than we are in France. Actually, even if we have quite a long and old story with coffee (regarding our colonies in the past), we are now underdevelopped. It is hard to find in Paris a good coffee shop: maybe 2-3 houses of coffee and a few more roasters (roasting very dark...). And only a few people are buying coffee beans. Expresso sold in our "café" "restaurant" and "bar" are most of the time awfull. And people like to drink Nespresso at home: they actually think that Nespresso is the best an expresso can offer... Worst (and quite new for us) coffee franchises (, McD....coffe) settle down. Some coffeelovers says that it can help people discover that coffee can offer much more than what they used to drink. Maybe things are changing (or will change) slowly.

          But anyway, thanks again for your answers and I will keep reading this forum regularly, now that I know it a little more.



          • #6
            Re: Australiain v European habits

            Nice to hear from a Frenchman on this Australian forum. As I was recently in Paris, I discovered how bad french coffee really is (please forgive me for being blunt). Even in a specialty store selling multiple single orgin beans, the espresso they made me was from preground coffee they kept in a bar fridge under the machine. This wasnt rural France it was Rue Mouffetard in the Latin Quarter of Paris. The espresso was bitter, watery and tasted horrible.

            Sydney and Melbourne have quite a few good coffee shops now (I dont know Brisbane or other cities well enough to comment), and every day I see more people getting interested in real coffee. Lots more places are serving fresh brewed coffees from chemex, or syphon, or plunger, and I see this as the next step in coffee culture in Australia.

            Most Australians drink very milky, sweet, cafe latte or flat white or cappuccino, and cannot tell the difference between good and bad espresso because they dont drink espressos.

            ps. French coffee might have be bad, but the french wine, french food and the parisian people were all wonderful.


            • #7
              Re: Australiain v European habits

              Originally posted by 737275380 link=1275580807/3#3 date=1275640629
              We got a large influx of Italian, Greek, and northern Europeans in the 50s.I strongly suspect it is the influence of those folk that have given rise to coffee appreciation in Oz.
              My father was one of those Greeks and had an espresso machine in his NSW country cafe back in the early 60s.
              I was too young to remember it and Mum didnt use it so she doesnt remember much about it.


              • #8
                Re: Australiain v European habits


                Welcome to CS and I hope that you keep in touch with us from now on.  I agree with others that we have a high per capita consumption of coffee, and that tastes are evolving in this country.  There are parallels with wine.  We had vineyards and wineries throughout Australia a hundred and fifty years ago, but it is really only in the last 30-40 years that wine appreciation has completely spread through Australian society.  Similarly we have had reasonable coffee available in parts of Australia since the early 20 th century.  In Brisbane, where I live, there was a very well known Russian who moved here in the mid 1920s and established a roastery and coffee shop by about 1930 which was known to and frequented by almost everyone (his family still have a commercial roastery 80 years later).  When I was first at University in 1970 there were a number of good coffee shops in Brisbane and the visiting Frenchmen (and Frenchwomen!!) seemed to find them very easily.  

                However the current level of very widespread interest in coffee is a relatively recent phenomenon, no more that 15 years old at the most.  As flynn_aus said , this site was only established in 2004 and the interest was initially small, but grew very quickly.  In part it is the availabilty of good advice, freely and happily given, which I think is helping to spread the interest in high grade coffee and all that goes with it.

                And from perhaps a more male viewpoint (he ducks quickly :) this is a hobby which encourages gratification of the senses while at the same time giving us a never ending array of shiny new electrical and mechanical toys to play with (grinders, espresso machines, filter systems, roasters etc, etc) so I predict that we will now never see coffee culture diminish in Australia.

                Hope thats of interest and try to visit and see for yourself.

                Bon Chance