Video by Tom Compagnoni
Australia loves coffee.
All you have to do is log onto Instagram on any given morning between 6 and 10am to discover umpteen posts about how much we all crave the beloved brown beverage. We can't live without it.
“Australia's love affair with coffee is still relatively new. Europeans have had it ingrained in their lives for much longer, whereas Aussies are still enjoying the ritualisation around it,” said Rolando Schirato, managing director of Vittoria Food and Beverage.
Australia is ranked 42nd in the world for coffee consumption at 3kg per capita. Finland (12kg) is number one, in case you were wondering.
“My grandfather migrated to Australia in the 1940s. Back then there was a small migrant population who were missing the staples of home -- be those sparking mineral water, parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar and coffee," said Schirato.
"He decided to import these products to supply the community, and in the 1950s began roasting and supplying European cafes with coffee.
“We saw the popularity of coffee spike in a big way in the 1980s, and the country was spoilt for choice with a strong independant cafe culture, and the chain-style approach of the U.S. didn't really take off,” says Schirato.
So, how do we like it?
“Still by the far the favourite would be the cappuccino or the Aussie flat white, but I have also seen an increase in piccolo lattes,” said Jad Nehmetallah, owner of cafe Jad’s Place.
“Aussies are known for their flat white, though cappuccinos and lattes are just as popular," he said.
"Purists will argue that they won't make coffee with skim, soy, or decaf -- but personally I believe it's about the customer and that they should enjoy it any way they like.”
Moreover, we are pretty particular when it comes to exactly how we want it.
A survey of coffee drinkers by Nespresso revealed that 87 percent of Australians admit to giving specific instructions when ordering their coffees -- everything from strong or double shot (42 percent) to not too hot (15 percent).
A bad coffee from a cafe or restaurant is also likely to leave a bitter taste, with 50 percent of Aussies saying it makes them feel angry, 17 percent are left feeling regretful and for 6 percent it completely ruins their day.
Baristas should beware that there are no second chances, with almost one in two (47 percent) saying they won't ever go back if they receive a bad coffee .
Think Monday is the biggest day for caffeine hits? Think again.
“Wednesday is the day we sell the most coffees by far. I think it's because it's hump day so people usually double dose, whereas on Mondays people tend to be on 'sick leave'," said Nehmetallah.
So, what about at home? Turns out our standards are just as high.
The Nespresso study found that Australians say they would spend longer at a friend or family member’s house if they offered good coffee, and apparently it’s a no-no to offer an instant coffee when it comes to visitors.
It seems we even want coffee in other beverages. Australian coconut water brand H2COCO recently launched a drink called Coco Espresso, combining the brown stuff with young coconut water, with impressive success.
Vittoria Food and Beverage alone sells approximately 2 million cups per day in Australia.
“People can sometimes be angry before they have had their hit. I feel like some people are are emotionally dependent on their barista,” said Nehmetallah .