Australia’s Coffee Culture: How We Drink Coffee

Coffee and drinking coffee is something Australians are all too familiar with. Australia’s coffee culture is unique, with different ways of drinking coffee and different kinds of coffee drunk throughout the day.

No doubt Australia has a strong love affair with coffee. Melbourne has time and time again been voted as having the best coffee in the world. In 2017, the quest to find the best coffee roaster in the world was held in Melbourne. Coffee is a favourite non-alcoholic beverage for many Australians among most age brackets, even more popular than tea.

Although I’ve lived in Australia for half my life, I don’t drink coffee. Certainly I’m no where near a coffee connoisseur and my tastebuds aren’t fined tuned to suss out the finest of coffees and Arabica beans.

It’s not that I hate the taste of coffee; I actually like it. However a few sips of coffee (be it a strong or weak blend) leaves me jittery and shaky with a headache and also I much rather avoid stimulants.

Ironically during the first couple of years of moving back to Australia, I consumed coffee daily. I would have a strong cappuccino in the morning in between classes. When catching up with friends, I’d usually order a mild single-shot latte. As I realised my body didn’t like the effects of coffee no matter how much or how little full-strength or decaffeinated coffee I drank, I eventually stopped drinking coffee.

Coffee is something we drink indoors and outdoors.

Coffee is something we drink indoors and outdoors.

Coffee culture in Australia has its origins in European immigration. Rumour has it Captain Cook and the First Fleet sipped on coffee sailing their way to Oz shores in the 1700s. In the 1930s and after WWII, Italian and Greek migrants brought espresso with them and opened coffee shops around the cities. In 1985, Australia arguably invented the ‘flat white’ courtesy of Australian barista Alan Preston, out-muscling New Zealand for this mantle.

Today coffee is often the go-to drink for countless occasions in Australia. If you’re visiting Australia, you might want to take note of how Australians drink coffee and perhaps drink along as well.

1. Coffee, cafes, catchups

Drinking coffee is often silently and unanimously regarded as a social affair in Australia. Be it a quick work-related catchup with colleagues or catching up with a friend, coffee is usually the drink of choice. The moment you sit down at a café or restaurant and get handed a menu, ‘Can I get you a coffee?’ is usually what the wait staff would ask you. Since I don’t drink coffee, these days in response I ask for tap water….and wonder if the wait staff are disappointed in my request for a free drink especially if their establishment prides itself on impressing with coffee.

‘Want to go get coffee?’ and ‘Want a coffee?’ are some ways of asking someone out, be it for a casual catchup or for a date to get to know someone better. It’s not unusual for many in Australia to just order a coffee or two at a café and chat the hours away, not ordering much else perhaps aside from an overpriced muffin or slice of cake.

Coffee goes well with catchups and smokes.

Coffee goes well with catchups and smokes.

2. Water cooler talk

Coffee breaks at work is pretty much a standard affair here. The 2015 Square Australian Coffee Report revealed 9.30am is the peak time for office workers in Melbourne to grab a coffee, while it’s 8am for those in Sydney. According to Nespresso and Galaxy Research, it takes around 11 minutes to get a decent-tasting coffee around work and 81% of Australians feel coffee breaks facilitate better communication between colleagues. Many see coffee as a way to wake up and stay awake at work throughout the day (think having a coffee with smokes or a drink of coke) – just part of local work culture, translating to a better working environment.

It might be wiser for me not to approach some of my colleagues when they have not had their morning coffee yet…but I usually approach anyway  🙂

A coffee a day can add up, coins and calories.

A coffee a day can add up, coins and calories.

3. Drinking coffee like it’s water

Like how many whiskey lovers see whiskey as the water to life, many coffee drinkers in Australia see coffee as the fuel for life. Australia is ranked at 42nd in the world for coffee consumption at 3kg per capita with Finland coming in 1st. McCrindle research surveyed 1,000 Australians over 18 and found three quarters have at least one cup of coffee per day; those who order a medium coffee most days spend around $1522 on coffee a year.

Many I’ve met in Australia drink at least one cup of coffee per day, maybe two or more if they feel like they are struggling to get through the day. My colleagues find it incredulous that I don’t drink coffee, sleep at midnight, come to work before 8am and still manage to pull my weight at work. It seems I can function like a well-oiled machine without coffee.

4. Choices

Latte. Cappucino. Flat white. Espresso. Long black. Short black. Chai latte. Mocha latte. This Australian coffee decoder chart explains what these coffees are. In short, there’s quite a variety of coffees served in Australia – some cups are a shot of espresso mixed with water whereas others tend to be milk-based (which are more popular among Australians and quite the opposite of preferred coffee in America). Notably Australians can be very picky ordering coffee, some going as far as requesting their coffee to be made with a double shot and made ‘not too hot’ or else their day might get ruined.

When I first moved back to Melbourne from South-East Asia, these coffee names confused me and I only knew what a cappuccino was – it seems to be the choice of coffee drink marketed all around Asia. While many iced-coffees in Asia are served in plastic bags, all kinds of takeaway coffee in Australia comes in a paper cup which is much more convenient to carry around.

Different names for different coffees.

Different names for different coffees.

5. Specialty coffee

Over the last decade, drinking coffee in Australia has become a more adventurous affair and a kind of luxurious experience. It’s not only about drinking to feel more awake but also drinking to appreciate the finer taste of coffee regardless the price that comes with it. Australians are gravitating towards higher quality coffee beans with baristas familiar with the grade of their coffee and where it’s grown – making coffee with passion. Strong Vietnamese coffee with sweet condensed milk, Turkish sludge-like coffee and Civet cat-poop coffee are some coffee varieties making the rounds in Australia in recent years.

Interestingly enough, Starbucks didn’t crack the Australian market: it closed 60 stores around the country, and some reckon this was due to the chain’s branding (American brand, Australians should like, not the case) while others feel Australians are loyal towards local coffee standards. For instance in Melbourne, Market Lane Coffee, Seven Seeds, St Ali and Proud Mary are regarded as boutique cafes offering top coffee roasters – offering different brewing techniques, championing cold brews, pour overs and imported in-season coffee beans.

Each time I’ve been to these cafes in Melbourne for brunch, there’s always a queue. The most I’ve ever waited was about fifteen minutes with a friend in the rain for a table for two. Each time she ordered a coffee from these places, she raved about it.

Nitro Cold Brew that looks like a beer at Starbucks Australia

Nitro Cold Brew that looks like a beer at Starbucks Australia

6. Making coffee at home

Coffee lovers in Australia are also keen on making their own cuppa at home, and not just any instant coffee drink that takes two minutes. The average person in Australia might enrol in a professional barista courses to learn how to use their thousand dollar home coffee machine and make a good brew. Cafes such as Market Lane sell coffee beans by the kilo and anyone can try recreating a gourmet cuppa at home which in turn fuels the speciality coffee culture market here.

7. Australian grown coffee

It might not be that well-known but Australia grows its own coffee. The south east of Queensland and south of New South Wales host coffee plantations, and the coffee produced is generally low in caffeine with sweet and nutty flavours. Though a lack of arable land is proving challenging for this niche industry, there is enthusiastic passion for the coffee making process and serving it. Moreover, social-venture cafes (notably a current buzzword…) serving coffee are on the rise around Australia – sustainable ventures providing pathways for the disadvantaged while whetting the nation’s appetite for caffeine.

Take home coffee beans.

Take home coffee beans.

* * *

There are commonly stereotypes surrounding coffee drinking in Australia. These stereotypes can signify a certain social status or certain roles we may aspire to. On one hand, buying a cup of coffee may not necessarily be cheap in Australia ($2 a cup coffees from 7-11 will always be the exception and some of my friends have said it really isn’t bad coffee). If you can afford a cup of coffee or two in Australia every day, chances are you’re getting by in life – perhaps you’re a corporate show pony caught up in the vicious cycles of the corporate world and need coffee after coffee to meet your deadlines.

On the other hand, the label hipster is often ascribed to those who are picky about the taste of their coffee – those either loving a flat white or a not-your-average customised coffee. (In Melbourne a hipster is often seen as someone who is rather broke but has upperclass tastes and still able to afford them). From this perspective, coffee is almost like a fashion accessory and statement: if you drink coffee, you’re a part of a certain group with certain tastes. At the end of the day, labels are labels and the Australian way of drinking coffee is about drinking coffee we like. As Drift Away Coffee sums it up:

‘Australia, however, doesn’t have a signature coffee drink. Instead, drinking coffee in Australia is characterized by an attitude, rather than a beverage.’

A good coffee takes time and passion to make.

A good coffee takes time and passion to make.

No matter where we are in the world, there’s two sides to drinking coffee: drinking coffee to feel good in the short term and the questionable effects this has in the future. For some of us, coffee is a way to make us feel better, feel more awake and alert. Or feel better in that it that it’s a pick-me-up treat given we love the taste of coffee.

For some of us, we might find ourselves depending on coffee to get on with our lives and feel good which can turn into a bit of an addiction (for me a bit of coffee is already an overdose). In the long run it might be hard to cut back, like how it’s hard to quit smoking or stick to a new diet. Moreover, the more coffees we have, the more calories and sugars we consume. That said, observational studies have found coffee drinkers were less likely to die from injuries, diabetes, heart disease and stroke – but these lower risks were not attributed to caffeine consumption directly.

Coffee, cafes, laneways, city, Melbourne

Coffee, cafes, laneways, city, Melbourne

Even though it was a gradual process, weaning myself off coffee was hard. I genuinely like the taste of coffee (much prefer it over tea but tea is another post for another day…). It was nice drinking something other than plain water; coffee has added minimal nutritional value over water due to the variety of ingredient composition (milk consists of calcium and potassium, coffee beans are a source of antioxidants).

But I guess coffee and me were not meant to be. And I’m okay with that.

Do you drink coffee? How does your country drink coffee?

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225 thoughts on “Australia’s Coffee Culture: How We Drink Coffee

  1. Great post, Mabel. I’m in the drinking coffee like water category. I get out of bed at about 4.20 am and within 10 to 15 minutes I’m enjoying a black coffee from a Nespresso machine. I like to try different pods and I don’t have a favourite flavour. I get to work at 6.30 am and when the coffee shop opens at 7 am I’m there and paying for a medium skim flat white. I like a milky coffee as I get stuck into things. At about 8.30 am I fill a one-litre thermos with boiling water, add 1 teaspoon of instant coffee and a drop or two of peppermint essence. That gives me three more cups of hot coffee.

    On weekends, it’s much the same. I sometimes will meet a friend for coffee and cake.

    I’ve thought of giving up coffee but the thought never lasts long.

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    • Thought you might like this post, Gaz 😀 It sounds like you know how to work that Nespresso machine and get the flavours right. You do seem to drink quite a bit of coffee – like it’s literally your fuel ☕😀 Does’t seem like the milk in coffee upsets your stomach which is great ☕☕☕

      Keep drinking coffee Gaz ☕😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Mabel, I will. From time to time, if I go too hard on the milk, I get a bit of bloating and other symptoms. Most of my coffee is black.
        I enjoyed reading the comments of others. When I’ve visited the USA and Canada it’s been remarkable their love of coffee but the coffee they like isn’t anything like the coffee we’re used to here in Australia.

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        • Good to hear that coffee doesn’t make you all too bloated. Maybe try skim milk but well, it doesn’t give the same flavour.

          Thanks for reading the other comments, Gaz. I am sure the other bloggers and readers appreciate your presence 🙂 As James in the later comments said, it seems coffees in the States is more diluted than in Oz.

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  2. Now that I live in the city, I have a choice of several coffee shops just in the surrounding couple of blocks… it makes for constant temptation. It’s a good day when I can have a coffee ‘treat’ – just don’t want to do that every day or there goes my retirement! You are lucky you aren’t a coffee drinker, think of all you are saving. (I still don’t know what a ‘flat white’ is, but I’ve seen that they serve it here now too)
    Thanks for a good read…

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    • Thanks, Sandy. It does sound like you are spoilt for choice when you step outside for a drink. Maybe having cheaper coffee treats could make you afford more…then again, sometimes quality is better over quantity. A flat white is similar to a latte but has less foam and the milk is more milky but more espresso. Like anything, it does vary around the world. I’ve always thought of giving coffee another go…

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      • I guess I’ll stick with a latte (I love the foam, so I guess a latte is a “thick white”?) In the suburb where I lived until late last year here is a great independent coffee shop that has their own roaster. I was up there over the weekend and stopped for a cuppa — very nice stuff, even on a hot day. I was glad to see they are thriving even though Starbucks moved in just a block away. — don’t you know it is a First World Problem when you hear yourself complain about deciding where to go for coffee?

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        • Exactly, a First World Problem when we can’t decide where to go get a coffee…or when we take the first sip of coffee and realise the barista burnt out coffee. When I used to drink lattes, somehow I’d always swallow the foam first. I know some people prefer to mix it in well.

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  3. I made it to number 7 but have to sign off – be back to finish up but had to say my top image here is the one with lady at counter where you mentioned cost!

    Also – so Finland is number 1 and Australia 42? Side note – I love when folks mention stats and then tell us #1
    Recently heard someone say out town ranked fifth for something and was wondering who was first – so I like your tidbits –
    ☕️

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    • Thanks for making it so far down, Y. You really don’t have too 😄 Rankings are interesting in that they compare us against others…not a bad thing but it goes to show just how different yet similar we all are. Doesn’t matter if we come in at 1st or tenth or last. It’s about recognising one another for what we are and what we’ve got.

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  4. Coffee drinking culture seems to be more of a social snobbery even here, in US, as you would see a big Starbucks glass in every hand in the morning! Slowly it becomes a habit, very hard to give up. I wonder how much is coffee industry worth globally. After crude oil, coffee is the most sought commodity in the world! I wish coffee breaks could be called – ‘juice break’ or ‘drink break’ so that a non-drinker may not feel guilty.

    Mabel, I am glad to hear that you don’t drink coffee, which is highly addictive and once you start drinking it, you just can’t do without it. First, the content offered here is too much. Second the caffeine content is so high that it doesn’t let you sleep for two days when you drink it for the first time. No kidding, I experienced it.

    Though it is a matter of choice but when everybody around is a coffee freak and children grow up watching coffee drinking as a normal beginning of the day, it is natural for them to start drinking it as they grow up. My little grandson has seen his dad drinking coffee and tapping his fingers on his laptop and therefore his pretend games are the same – taking a small empty glass, which he keeps sipping from and taps his fingers as fast as he can at age 3 and smiles when we ask him what he is doing. The prompt answer is he is working and drinking coffee! 🙂

    Coffee may be is a way to make us feel better, feel more awake and alert but the aftereffects are quite detrimental. It is said to have caused restlessness, insomnia, high blood pressure, anxiety, and irregular heartbeats or increased breathing rate and much more! I prefer tea, which is much lighter than coffee. Once in a while if I have to drink, I order a latte or a cappuccino but fail to finish the whole glass! 🙂

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    • You certainly hit the nail on the head there – coffee drinking culture seems to be social snobbery. Have to agree with you there. From what I’ve seen on social media, Starbucks does seem like the drink of choice among so many in the States. I wonder if many over there feel Starbucks tastes good or many see it as a commodity as you touched upon – that is drink it to be a part of the pack and in turn you become convinced that it is something to have when you can actually do without it.

      Sounds like you and I have similar experiences with coffee. I too found it hard to sleep when I drank coffee, and the next morning I’d want another coffee to combat that tiredness – like a vicious cycle. Eventually the side effects made me stop for good 😛

      Your grandson sounds so cute, mimicking his dad. Maybe he might grow up a coffee lover…or maybe he might end up loving plain water a lot 🙂 You are right that coffee can make some feel inclusive and others on the outside, and those who drink it come across as feeling and looking better. Other kinds of drinks are so important and have their value too. Maybe at some point I’ll do a post on tea. Thank you for your thoughtful sentiments again, Balroop.

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  5. Hello my friend!! I am the exact same as you. Growing up in an Italian family, coffee was always drunk for breakfast with sugary biscuits dunked in. I loved the smell and taste of it but as I got older I realised it was making me have panic attacks and messing with my nervous system. Lots of headaches, shakiness and nausea. I haven’t drunk coffee in nearly 20 years. I sometimes wish I could have it on the days I am super tired but like you I still manage to function in my day to day life without it. Perhaps because I haven’t developed a dependancy on it. Still I like that Melbourne is known for its coffee and whenever I meet foreigners, I am sure to encourage them to try our coffees. Great post, cannot wait to see you soon! Xoxo

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    • It sounds like the average Italian family loves coffee and drinks heaps of it. You are so right that coffee, and caffeine, can bring on panic attacks. The side effects of coffee is so similar to that of a panic attack. It is amazing that you haven’t had coffee in nearly 20 years. Like you, I am also tempted to drink coffee, but knowing that even two mouthfuls can make me feel ill puts me off. It is great that Melbourne is quite known and renowned for its coffee – like a specialty. Cannot wait to see you my friend, so excited to see you as always ❤ ❤ ❤

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  6. I go along with 3 and cofee making at home. To me coffee is my ME time. I dont like anyone to disturb me when i have my coffee.. Its the time i have for myself where i can think, recall or confess.. I make the authentic indian coffee at home.. Lovely post mabel

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  7. Another of my many oddities: I hate the smell of coffee, and I won’t drink the stuff either. I’m bemused at how ‘snobbish’ people can get about their coffee, but I wonder if that’s primarily an Australian white cultural trait. Even the British, the stereotypical tea drinkers, are warming towards coffee among the younger working generation.

    I wonder who actually votes in those kinds of surveys. It’s actually quite a small number of responses, so it looks like another click-bait article. 😉

    It’s interesting that you like coffee but have such adverse reactions to it. Given that it really is the world’s most consumed drug, I suppose there will be some people like yourself who react badly to it. I remember hearing from a fellow Aussie on dA about how she used to drink far too much coffee daily and she eventually realised it was doing her body serious harm. Like you, she’s now coffee-free.

    1/2. Not as often as we used to, but I attend the morning coffee meetings with my colleagues for the sake of socialising outside of the office. Even though I’ve never had a sip of coffee in the eight-and-a-half years I’ve been at the company! Regarding your preference for water, I wouldn’t worry about the wait staff thinking poorly of you – I do the same thing. And yes, over-priced cake indeed!

    Sydney at 8 am? I wouldn’t have thought so given what I’ve seen. For my particular group we try for 9 am but we’re flexible. And yeah, I know some people say they’re particularly ill-tempered before their morning coffee – another sign of over-reliance…

    3. Indeed, it’s a wonder that people don’t realise how much money goes into their coffee drinking habits when considering it across the whole year. Likewise, it’s crazy that I’m not a morning person nor a coffee drinker, yet I push myself to start at 6 am every day simply because of commuter hassles.

    4. The decoder chart is ‘forbidden’ for me (maybe a problem with my ISP – I get the same issue with Tom’s Hardware, and I can access via proxy). But yeah, the levels of fussiness that some drinkers can get to, it boggles me. The number of choices of coffee also boggles me (just as the number of Linux distributions used to till I worked out the Linux family tree). I’m quite content to have a simple green tea, thanks!

    5. I recently saw a different video on why Starbucks ‘failed’ in Australia but probably similar conclusions – basically an already over-saturated market and a lack of flexibility in the American franchise’s approach with respect to Aussie coffee culture.

    6. At many of my previous church community groups, home-made coffee before getting into the Bible study is a very common theme. Some of the machines that people have are quite impressive, no doubt it wouldn’t be out of place in an actual coffee shop.

    7. I didn’t know that, that’s pretty cool. But given the prevalence of coffee snobs, I suspect the demand will be focused on the overseas beans for a long while yet!

    Regarding ‘hipsters’, that definition makes me think of ‘yuppie’, a term that doesn’t seem to be used much nowadays. In my understanding, and I’m probably wrong on this, ‘hipster’ has become the current term particularly for people who refuse to follow mainstream convention simply out of principle. Often this will mean dressing in a certain way and having certain eating/drinking habits – including insisting on niche types of coffee that they probably shouldn’t be able to afford.

    Regarding the observational study, I often hear about this report or that, that suggests drinking or eating X will lengthen/shorten your life expectancy or is generally good/bad for you. So much so that it’s impossible to discern truth from fiction, click-bait from rigorous scientific study. At least the apparent risk reduction in that study didn’t directly link the findings to caffeine consumption.

    For me, I’m actually fine with plain water. But again, I know I’m an oddity. XD Thanks for the interesting read.

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    • You are the second person to bring up the idea of snobbery and coffee (aside from Balroop). Many Australians I’ve come across are very nice people but when it comes to coffee, they demand this and that and it can be quite amusing.

      I am quite flattered that you say this article of mine looks like another click-bait article 😀 I don’t get paid for any links inserted (never have been, probably never will) but I do aim towards SEO-ing my posts as best as I can. One way to do that is by linking to other articles. Any kind of survey will have its limitations. After all, you can’t get the billions of people in the world to take part lol.

      Coffee the most consumed drug, now that is probably very true. It’s probably the most harmless of drugs out there compared to many other drugs and stimulants out there, though I wonder can it be as bad as energy drinks which also contain caffeine.

      That is great you haven’t had a sip of coffee in eight and a half years. Hopefully you don’t feel too excluded during coffee breaks at work. Maybe you have something else to drink at these times. When it comes to overpriced cake, the worst is when the cake evidently comes across as dry and you’ve had so much better.

      Commuter hassles and packed public transport is also what motivates me to get out of bed earlier for work…or much, much later if I really feel like a bit of a sleep in. It can take time to adjust to no coffee if you’ve been drinking it for so long. I guess some just keep drinking and are happy to put with the price to pay, and even don’t mind paying for something fancier just to mix it up. And it does make you wonder why Starbucks failed – for one, it is a coffee chain that does have original variety of drinks. Maybe it didn’t too well here because of price and taste.

      Thanks for letting me know about the coffee chart decoder link. I have fixed it up.

      Maybe at some point your Bible study group will pick up on more sought after, rare coffee beans to test out with their coffee machine 😀

      Haven’t heard the term yuppie in such a long time, and I think the way you are describing hippie is spot on. I also think hippie and mainstream corporate culture do have quite a few similarities (certain quality standards and comfort) but those who fit the hippie demographic tend to be more open minded about the world.

      These days I’m into coconut water XD Thanks again for a well-thought out reflection. You convey your thoughts very clearly.

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      • Oh, I don’t mean every Aussie is a coffee snob, but it does seem like a behaviour that’s quite prevalent: ‘oh, the coffee at that place sucks’, or ‘I only drink coffee at this place because they do it right (for me)’.

        No no no no no no no! I’m sorry that you misunderstood me. I wasn’t saying *your* writing is click-bait – never! I was referring to the survey you linked to, it had the unhelpful title of ‘Melbourne has been voted as having the world’s best coffee’. Now of course, it’s a Melbourne news site and it wants to publish articles that attract readers, but this baiting of readers is partly why I tend to avoid reading news articles. Anyway, your point on the practicality of large sample sizes is reasonable but I did note it was just a booking.com survey with a few hundred respondents.

        Every drug has a potentially harmful effect but usually when consumed in excessive quantities or in otherwise inappropriate ways. Caffeine, like alcohol, is no different but it would be hugely impractical to ban or even restrict its consumption due to societal demand and the fact that most people probably do consume it in a sensible and responsible manner. Thinking on alcohol prohibition, US prohibition is probably the big one that comes to mind but we do have alcohol-free zones in small districts in Australia, particularly in major city centres.

        Much longer than eight years. 😉 I don’t feel excluded but I do feel strange regularly going to a place where I never order anything. They don’t pay me enough that I can buy snacks during the day, at least not every day. 😉 As I said, it’s mainly for the socialising aspect else I’d probably never have a non-work moment during the day.

        If I was to go to work later, I’d probably miss out on a good seat in the office (open plan and all that), plus bus traffic in my area probably doesn’t really settle until at least half-past nine which is rather late. If I feel too knackered for an early work day I just work at home – I try not to do that too much, though, even if working at home is supposed to be part of the new work culture.

        I thought from the video I watched that Starbucks didn’t have *enough* variety of drinks. Or perhaps enough variety *suitable* for the Australian market.

        Thanks for the coffee chart. If I was to start drinking it regularly I would definitely need to keep something like that on hand for reference!

        Interesting, coconut water. I think you’re the first I’ve heard to have switched to that as their primary drink. I’m partial to OJ, but Mum keeps telling me there’s too much sugar (even if it’s natural, non-additive sugar). Freshly squeezed with pulp is really nice, especially if chilled for consumption in the warmer months.

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        • I’ve also heard that line here so often – ‘this place because they do it right for me’. On one hand fair enough if you want a drink that doesn’t disappoint you but on the other hand, nothing wrong with the other coffee places.

          It is not the first time someone has suggested to me that my writing comes across as click bait. So when you mentioned click bait I was half thinking you were referring to my writing, and could have XD But point taken. True, many surveys out there take into consideration small sample sizes and are conducted out in the open sans controls. But I do find even these small random surveys might reveal something about this world that we may never have thought about – and other studies can build upon them.

          Caffeine is in quite a number of foods, and it’s also in chocolate too (more so the high end kind of chocolate sweet treats that contain less preservatives). So banning caffeine would be a very hard thing for any country to do. Imagine living in a world where coffee and chocolate was suddenly taken away…all the withdrawal symptoms so many of us would go through.

          In general, I feel weird not ordering anything at a cafe or restaurant I go to, even if I just ask for a free water. It’s like I’m going in to take up space and not giving anything back in return. Then again, it is my right if I don’t want to order and pay for anything.

          I feel Starbucks have quite a variety of drinks, and they change drinks according to season. Maybe their staple drinks aren’t enough to impress here. That said, the Starbucks that I pass by almost every day on my way home from work is always packed.

          Not too sure how long I’ll last drinking coconut water. Don’t get me wrong, I love the taste and prefer it over plain water, but a litre of it goes for $2-$3 (sans preservatives). Most fruit including OJ have sugar content like your mum said, and even natural sugar might even be as harmful as processed sugar XD

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          • Oh sure, ‘behind every myth lies a grain of truth’ and ‘where there’s smoke there’s fire’ – there may be a sliver of truth with a small sample size too, we just can’t be too confident about it. 🙂

            I forgot about chocolate – I don’t mind it but I don’t go crazy over it either. I can do without chocolate just fine but I know lots of people can’t. Maybe that’s why people get addicted to chocolate as well just as much as coffee!

            I understand that feeling and would certainly feel that way if I was on my own. But since I’m in a group of usually at least 3 where everyone else is ordering, I think it’s fine. It’s not like they have a shortage of customers at this time!

            It may be one of the few Starbucks places that caters to our market well, then. I think there is one in Sydney city but I don’t remember seeing them much elsewhere. Of course, that could just be because I don’t pay attention to coffee places in the first place.

            That is quite pricey but I suppose it’s not that much different from commercial OJ (the fresh ones, not the ones with preservatives). People say all sorts of things about what’s a ‘problem’ for diet: salt, sugar, cholesterol, etc, I don’t know what to believe any more! Everything in moderation, I say.

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            • I think there is truth in almost anything that we come across, even just a sliver of it. It depends on how you look at it 🙂

              You can do without chocolate…take that you aren’t a chocolate fanatic. I am not crazy over chocolate but, well, I really do need to eat some chocolate each day. It’s sort of part of my diet XD Maybe the more chocolate I eat, the more I might get used to caffeine…

              Sometimes when you’re in a group and don’t order anything like a cup of coffee and not even hot chocolate, someone would probably say something along the lines of, ‘Are you sure you don’t want anything?’ and insist that you order something. Sometimes they can be a bit persistent.

              Everything in moderation is best. There are so many presumptions about one diet and food fad being better over the other. Fact is each of our bodies are unique and what works for someone doesn’t work for others…and so maybe some of us just can’t quit coffee forever.

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              • Wow, chocolate every day! I’d say there may be a bit of dependence there. 😉

                Well, it’s a morning coffee meeting, not a sit-down dine-in kind of affair. My colleagues order from the counter, it’s the kind of place where most people do that even if there are some staff who take orders at the table too. If I was to be pestered like that, then yes, I would stop visiting since it’s clear such premises only want paying customers.

                Indeed, there are common things between bodies, but a lot of differences as well.

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                • I do think I have a dependence on chocolate… If I don’t have it for a day, the next day I will be sure to eat extra.

                  Actually I meant perhaps colleagues and friends pestering you to order coffee. It has happened to me, and they can be pretty insistent XD

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                  • Oh no, they’ve long since stopped doing that. Thankfully they recognise that I have simple tastes and prefer to save the money for something more substantial. (Or I just use the excuse that I’m not paid enough to have the luxury of eating commercially-prepared food/drinks every day. :))

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  8. I loved this post, Mabel – not just because it was so informative with some great shots (my favorite was the barista in a waistcoat hard at work) but also because it’s something many of us can relate to. Our preferences are similar in that I do prefer coffee over tea, though I don’t drink it very much. A couple weeks ago I watched a fascinating video on why Starbucks failed in the Australian market – it explained that the company didn’t do their proper research and completely misunderstood Australian coffee culture; that Americans prefer coffee to go while Australians (as you’ve said here) are very European in their approach, and tend to be loyal to a neighborhood coffee shop where they know the staff by name. I also never understood the allure of an Americano. Espressos are fine on their own; why add loads of water and dilute the wonderful taste?

    Funnily enough I caught up with an Australian friend just last week over avocado coffee, which resembled a flat white but with the addition of sweetened, mashed avocado. Before then I only had vague notions of what actually constituted a flat white, so he explained that it was like a cappuccino with a lot less foam on top, no chocolate powder, and bubbles inside the milk itself. Speaking of St Ali, we do have a branch here in Jakarta; I think it might even have been the first international outpost for the brand!

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    • You are so right in that coffee is something many of us can relate to, be it we drink coffee or we know someone who drinks coffee. What a coincidence that you watched a video on why Starbucks failed in the Australian market. Australians are really loyal to coffee with bold espresso and actually savour their coffee. What I’ve noticed in Australia is that the Starbucks outlets that are still open have a strong focus on frappuccinos and milk-based coffees that cater more to Australian palates, and of which I do feel are sweet.

      I’ve vaguely heard of that mashed avocado coffee! I looked it up. Looks like you can put avocado into coffee, or avocado-coffee into avocado skin – which seems you have to handle carefully so as to not spill it all over. Hope you enjoyed your avocado coffee 🙂 St Ali is a very renowned Australian coffee name, and might be expanding and lovely you are familiar with it too. Thanks, James. I also like the photo of the barista in the waistcoats. One of the last shots I took for the weekend for this post 🙂

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  9. For years I have been a tea person, but I started throwing coffee into the mix when there was some research published suggesting that it might help my liver numbers a bit. I’ll point out here, that the coffee I’m talking about as a potential help does not include added creams, sugars, or flavors, so I stick to black. I can do some caffeine in the morning, but generally not in the afternoon. I also usually have a cup of water somewhere nearby throughout the day. My favorite occasional treat coffee is a mocha.

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    • Coffee, and like anything in moderation, has its benefits. You might be on to something there that black coffee might be better than those with added creams, sugars and flavours – in other words less artificial ingredients. I’ve heard for every cup of coffee you drink it’s best to drink a cup of water as caffeine can be dehydrating.

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      • I should clarify that the studies in question were looking at the benefits of the compounds in coffee and not the caffine, so the conclussion was that you could get the same benefits from decaf. That really got my attention because, although I am not as sensitive as you, I really have to watch my caffine intake.

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        • That is an astute observation. Compounds in coffee is one thing, and caffeine in another. Sometimes I wonder if I’m allergic to the coffee compounds and not caffeine since I have the same reaction to decaf. Always wise to watch your caffeine intake and may you enjoy your coffee when you can, Amy 🙂

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  10. Thoroughly enjoyed reading this write-up, Mabel. Thanks for showing us culture from your part of the world. I read earlier that Melbourne has some great cafe. Do Australians prefer coffee the way Americans do? Black coffee! In India, black coffee is not popular. In fact, India is a tea drinking country. Although we grow both tea and coffee, the latter is popular only in south India where coffee grows. We have a unique coffee called filter coffee popular in South India. It is very strong with added sugar and milk. The new generation in India loves cafes and is more eager to consume coffee as compared to the older generation. That is something I like. I’m not sure if I would love to have coffee every day since that kind of has other side effects on my body. I do love coffee though. lately, I have started skipping coffee and choosing cocoa instead. Mabel, I love your pictures because they show us your part of the world beautifully.

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  11. Ahhh, the flat white! They don’t make it the same in the states. I, too get too jittery from coffee, though I dearly love a good cappuccino now and then. My Finnish husband has coffee in his DNA. But it’s green tea for me. Both green tea and coffee are grown on this island. Kona coffee is world renowned, but I’d take a good cup of organic Guatemalan anyday over it.

    We loved coffee in Sydney and the cafes looked a lot like those you captured here. Lovely photos as always, Mabel. ❤️💕💗

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  12. I am a tea person and have it every morning atleast. I just find coffee bitter, even though I can convert it to sweet (but then we are adding too much processed sugar).
    I do have Mocha when we are on trips, because we can’t make Home-made tea easily. So I can imagine people having coffee to kick-start their daily routine.

    I guess most Indians go with tea, but good to learn so much about coffee. The timing of Australians having coffee seem so precise…it should be the same in US as well.

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    • I will need to write a tea post at some point for you and all the other tea lovers out there 😀 There are natural sweeters for coffees but even then those are artificial, so can understand where you are coming from.

      Mocha sounds like a nice treat, that bit of chocolate over your coffee. I’m guessing tea is grown much more than coffee in India, so India is proud of its teas 😊

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  13. Great post, Mabel. I related to nearly all of it. 🙂 I love coffee but mostly only drink one a day, usually made at home when I get home from work. (Yes, I own a decent espresso machine and grinder.) In Geelong, Coffee Cartel hold the mantle for specialist coffee. But my current beans are from Streat, one of the social venture coffee places mentioned in the article to which you provided a link. I try and get some if I’m in the Melbourne CBD.

    I’m a flat white drinker mostly but I prefer a long black after a meal out.

    I was relieved to find a few cafes run by Aussie expats in New York when we were there so I could get a decent coffee. (Mind you, they cost me AU$6 each. Yikes.)

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    • Thanks, Heather. You seem very disciplined when it comes to your coffee, one a day. Like all that you have achieved over the years including running marathons, I’m guessing your home-brews are top notch 😀 Thanks for checking out the social venture link. I’ll keep Coffee Cartel in mind when I do swing by Geelong again…not for their coffee, but maybe for their other drinks 😀

      AU$6 a coffee in New York sounds pricey. Hope the coffees were up to scratch and as decent as could be.

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  14. great post as always, Mabel! i never knew that Australia is a coffee connoisseur 🙂
    i do once in a while but i’m not really a coffee drinker. i know that coffee got fancier and expensive too.

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  15. Thanks Mabel, another great post, and on a subject very close to my heart!
    I’m a Melbournian, but not a coffee snob. I don’t buy coffee very often, unless travelling. But when I drink coffee I want it to be good.
    For me, hand grinding fresh beans every morning is a nice ritual. And when I say ‘fresh’, I mean 2-4 weeks after roasting, or they go in the bin. This also means anything from a pod is undrinkable as they sit in the supermarket for way too long.
    My wife prefers the smoothness of a latte, so that’s what I make first each morning (it took me quite a while to get her truly addicted to coffee, but now she’s on my side there’s no going back!). After that I only drink long black, one after lunch and maybe one or two more if I’m really tired.
    You mentioned calories, but coffee has none! Unless you add sugar or milk?
    (BTW, Chai latte is NOT coffee!)
    Thanks again for another very well written exposé of my own culture. Keep up the great work Mabel!

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    • ‘I’m a Melbournian, but not a coffee snob.’ That is a catchphrase right there. Sounds like you know your coffee well. It is so true that supermarket coffees and pods just sit there and you don’t know if they go off.

      Very nice of you to make your wife coffee, and I’m guessing you do have a good technique making it. Definitely more calories if you add sugar and milk, maybe a sprinkling of chocolate or cocoa flakes too…

      So true that chai latte is not a coffee. More like a variation of tea. Very easily confused there. Thanks for stopping by again, John. I hope you enjoy your next coffee.

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  16. Coffee definitely helps make the world go round. I’ve watched the rise of coffee shops in Thailand. My friend Lee is from a hill-tribe in Northern Thailand. His village grows coffee, and he started off with modest shop in Chiang Mai. Now, he’s famous, with more shops, he’s been on TV, in magazines, and has travelled the world.

    Coffee in Cambodia is also quite popular. Most of it being grown in Modulkuri which is considered a poor province. There wasn’t a Starbucks in Siem Reap, but I believe there is one now. Although I don’t think this is going to have too much of an adverse effect on local cafes. There are plenty of coffee drinkers around.

    We drink coffee, but I only drink one cup in the morning. I drink it black, and if I do add something to it, it’s honey. Occasionally I drink an “instant stick coffee”. I like the ones from Malaysia. And even less occasionally, I’ll buy a latte or a Thai milk tea.

    I’ve quit coffee before. There’s a brand called Teccino which is an all-natural “fake coffee” that you use to replace coffee, but you do it gradually so that you don’t experience the negative side effects of withdraw. But then I was like, why am I quitting? We’re told that caffeine is bad, and while it is, I certainly don’t drink enough for it to be harmful. I’m not a soda drinker either. So I can have my cake and coffee, too.

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    • Your friend Lee does sound like he has made it with coffee, and sounds like he has worked hard to be where he is today. A great example of coffee making the world go round.

      Lovely to hear that coffee is grown over there. Starbucks will probably try to expand into every country and every market possible, though it might not neccessarily be well received everywhere. It does seem that if a place grows it’s coffee, there will be some loyalty towards local coffee.

      The instant stick coffees are everywhere in Malaysia, and my family is a big fan of them. And Nescafe. Milk tea is a in a league of it’s own. I’ve written about milk tea before but I think at some point I’ll need to revisit the topic 🙂

      I like your logic about drinking coffee. If you can drink it, you enjoy it and it doesn’t kill you, why not. Energy drinks and smoking are probably more harmful than a couple of cups of coffee a day.

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  17. I don’t usually drink coffee because it makes my heart race, haha. Also, I’m not too keen on the taste and I don’t really need it to wake up or function properly. Here in China the coffee craze started a few years ago and there is a Starbucks in each corner. Their prices are SO expensive, but they are always full. I don’t think their coffee is even good, if it was they wouldn’t need to add so much sugar and syrups haha.
    In Spain “going for a coffee” is also a synonym of catching up!

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    • Lol a Starbucks on every corner – sounds similar to a 7-11 on every corner XD It also amazes me how many like to sit in Starbucks and study or do work…it’s just too noisy and distracting of a place to get anything done!

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  18. Your post ushers in memories of the many coffee sessions I used to have with my friends in an outlet called the Indian Coffee House, part of the popular chain of restaurants during my student days. But, over time, I gradually shifted to tea for health reasons. Presently my preference is for tea than coffee. I am happy to note it is the same with you too.

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    • Sounds like you had fond memories stemming from your younger days – great coffee with great company. Tea seems to be drunk by quite a few people around the world too, and that’s an idea for a future post… Just as there are many types of coffee, there are many kinds of teas too – from Lipton tea bags to Chinese loose tea-leaf teas. Keep drinking your tea, Raj. Enjoy it 🙂

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  19. I say that was nice how you noted what nutrition milk has (near the end) but my recent complaint is how processed milk is nowadays – yuck.

    and I usually have one cup of coffee in the morning. We recently switched to a local organic and I do notice a difference. Usually with unsweetened almond milk – and dash of cocoa powder if needed – and I might add butter if needed – then maybe later I might have half a cup of black coffee – depends.
    but right after my morning coffee I have a cuppa tea – plain black tea with almond milk – but here is the thing –
    RE: Drinking HOT WATER

    I also drink hot water and I have been (on and off) for years.
    First time I heard about it was with Maureen Kennedy Salaman’s TV show in 1990.
    Back in 2013ish, early in my blogging days, a fellow blogger kind of had a snarky comment when I said I drank hot water. I was sharing about how my cousins and I would talk and talk and they had a keurig – (was new and in back then) but I could only have so much coffee or tea during our hours of talking – and so would sip hot water. I never fully replied to the blogger, did not need to.
    – well – I take a lot of supplements these days – some days less -but I am on a wellness protocol and might be for a few more years. And drinking hot water never was more satisfying.
    Seriously, it helps the supplements go down with a better feeling, but it is more than that – my GUT loves the hot water.

    and then, I started skimming a book from Deepak Chopra (misplaced it and might have left it at the gym – sniff) – if i find it I will share the title – but it has wonderful tips.
    and he suggested that one day a week folks should carry a thermos of hot water (no lemon – just hot water) to sup throughout the day. The hot water has energy that is good – and also it just helps the intestines and digestion processes.
    So – my dear Mabel, you are on to more than you know as you naturally go with the flow –
    🙂

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  20. Ah yeah coffee, when I was still living in Finland a drank a lot of coffee, sometimes around 12-16 cups a day. Later when I worked in Germany it went “down” to only 10 cups

    I think the consumption in Finland is so high as any time of the day is codes time, so usually drank also few cups before going to bed. These days I drink maximum of two cups a day and during summer time none at all, just green tea 🙂

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    • 12-16 cups of a coffee a day, and later on 10 :O It sounds like you used to be a coffee drinking machine. I’m guessing when you were swimming it wasn’t this much.

      It sounds like no matter how much coffee people in Finland drink and no matter what time they drink it, they will still be able to go to sleep as per normal lol.

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  21. Hi Mabel,Am not a coffee drinker either. Just never found the interest to try it even though I can smell it every morning when my mom make it for my dad and her. Beside I don’t need another bad habit / addiction. Also I don’t want to smell like coffee or have the bad coffee breath.

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  22. “Ironically during the first couple of years of moving back to Australia, I consumed coffee daily. I would have a strong cappuccino in the morning in between classes.” – Don’t worry, you’re not the only one, Mabel. Back when I was in Taylor’s, I used to drink a large cappuccino from Coffee Bean daily before my 8 am History class. I guess my consistency made the barista in charge of the morning shift recognised me. I was able to sleep after drinking coffee in the evening when I was younger, but nowadays, I’m left awake and staring at the ceiling.

    “Interestingly enough, Starbucks didn’t crack the Australian market: it closed 60 stores around the country, and some reckon this was due to the chain’s branding (American brand, Australians should like, not the case) while others feel Australians are loyal towards local coffee standards. For instance in Melbourne, Market Lane Coffee, Seven Seeds, St Ali and Proud Mary are regarded as boutique cafes offering top coffee roasters – offering different brewing techniques, championing cold brews, pour overs and imported in-season coffee beans.” – My lecturer said that Australia has the best coffee when compared to the States, but I’m not sure. I’m still more comfortable with Coffee Bean, aha.

    I’m hands down a coffee drinker and would not be ashamed to admit that. It’s either I’ll make my coffee at home or purchase it from the cafes on campus (the number of cafes makes it hard for me to choose), depending if I need the extra boost to function on that day. I still drink coffee as a meal replacement when I’m extremely busy and can’t get food – or am too lazy to buy lunch. Then again, every law student is in dire need of caffeine to get on top of the academic readings and assignments. As for the health benefits, I read somewhere that black coffee does help with weight loss – but the minute you throw in milk and sugar, it ruins everything.

    I guess we both know how Malaysians like to drink their coffee – in the kopitiam. Kopi cham. Kopi O. 😝 I highly doubt they’re into speciality coffee or the mainstream coffeehouses like Coffee Bean and Starbucks, but that’s for the older generations. The younger generations – especially the college-going and working ones – are okay with the coffeehouses.

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    • It sounds like we lived pretty similar lives, Ciana XD I still remember Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, and how it was quite a atas place to drink coffee in Malaysia. Hope the coffee there was decent. Whenever I am in Malaysia and Singapore, I feel that Coffee Bean and Tea leaf comes across as rivals with Starbucks. But I did get the feeling that Starbucks is more popular there out of the two.

      ‘I still drink coffee as a meal replacement when I’m extremely busy ‘ Don’t blame you. Sometimes a dense drink can keep you going for quite a while, even though it may make you hungrier faster. When I was at university, sometimes I’d have a small snack like a fried potato cake and a cup of bubble tea as lunch or as a meal replacement. Really, that black coffee might help with weight loss. I suppose so if you used to drink coffee with milk and sugar every day, and cutting back on the milk and sugar would reduce the calories in the cup.

      Kopi O. I so remember that and it was something the folks liked to order XD Those coffeehouses and coffeeshops are very much part and parcel of growing up in Malaysia…and it doesn’t need to be a brand name one for it to serve good coffee – just simple and it will do.

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      • Coffee Bean and Starbucks are definitely more atas than the average kopitiam, trust me. Their prices speak for itself. XD Only heaven knows how much I’ve spent in those two coffeehouses during my college days, aha. I’m just more comfortable with Coffee Bean because I grew up with it … and yeah, their coffee is decent.

        “Sometimes a dense drink can keep you going for quite a while, even though it may make you hungrier faster.” – It depends for me. In Taylor’s, it was a meal suppressant. In uni, I’m not so sure. There was an occasion in which I drank it for lunch. It left me with such stomach cramps that I had to get an emergency bar of chocolate so that I wouldn’t collapse from it or get myself a date with gastric. So yeah. I try to limit my consumption of caffeine, though. I had two mugs of coffee after spending the evening discussing an upcoming group project with my teammates – and my brain’s wide awake!

        “Really, that black coffee might help with weight loss. I suppose so if you used to drink coffee with milk and sugar every day, and cutting back on the milk and sugar would reduce the calories in the cup.” – I don’t know whether it works for me, though. I don’t drink coffee with sugar – find that it dilutes the fragrant taste of coffee. How people need loads of sugar in their coffee is beyond me, but I won’t judge them.

        “Those coffeehouses and coffeeshops are very much part and parcel of growing up in Malaysia…and it doesn’t need to be a brand name one for it to serve good coffee – just simple and it will do.” – Definitely agreed. XP Every time I find myself in a Malaysian kopitiam, it’s either Kopi Cham or 100Plus for me, depending on my mood and what I’m eating as well. I’m surprised that I could drink Kopi O but not black coffee until my second year of studies.

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        • I actually never gotten used to hanging out and spending time in cafes. It’s a good place to hang out and probably one of the safe places for many students. But they really are just too packed and too noisy places for me…even the quieter cafes I feel I don’t have enough privacy XD

          That is terrible that just drinking coffee for a meal could give you stomach cramps. It probably is your body’s way of saying that coffee is not enough. Drinking coffee is also known to cause dehydration, and that coupled with being hungry is not exactly a good combination.

          Some people might not be a fan of the bitter taste of coffee, and when I used to drink coffee some coffee was too bitter for my taste – and to make it palatable for me I just had to add some sugar. Sometimes adding a spoonful of sugar made no difference lol.

          100Plus is always my go-to drink at Kopitiams XD

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          • You’d be surprised; I always patronize both coffeehouses on my own when I need some time away from the hustle and bustle of my rather lively campuses. It’s true; it’s a safe place for students because there are enough customers dining in to give that safe aura. Oh, believe me, that is the problem I’m facing with now. Most of my favorite cafes near campus are always packed with students – and I’m one who works well when the place is warm and quieter than a graveyard.

            “That is terrible that just drinking coffee for a meal could give you stomach cramps. It probably is your body’s way of saying that coffee is not enough.” – I also think that it’s the number of shots in the coffee as well. The coffee that I drink here is slightly thicker than what I’m used to.

            “Some people might not be a fan of the bitter taste of coffee, and when I used to drink coffee some coffee was too bitter for my taste – and to make it palatable for me I just had to add some sugar. Sometimes adding a spoonful of sugar made no difference lol.” – And that’s why I have it with milk most of the time. It’s only when I’m feeling adventurous that I’ll tell the barista, black coffee for me, please. I can cope if it’s black coffee made from Nescafe, not from ground coffee beans.

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            • You have a good point in that coffee places are warm, at least here in Australia and it’s a good way to escape the winter cold. Sometimes finding a table with a powerpoint can be challenging. But the noise and chatter and the sounds of making coffee though…it really is all too distracting for me XD

              Some shots of coffee will be stronger than others. It can be hard to ascertain if a shot is strong or not…really does depend on the random selection of beans and luck of the draw. Sometimes I’d hear someone drink a coffee and say it had no effect on them and they will go get another one.

              That is such a good idea to have milk with coffee. But sometimes the taste of coffee can still come through very strong lol.

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              • I honestly don’t blame you at all, Mabel. Personally, I don’t like going to the cafe when there is a lot of people there. What I did during my college days was sneak up to Coffee Bean, make my purchase, and take the stairs up to their first floor where it was much quieter and more comfortable. Too bad the franchise holder decided to close down this branch – apparently not long after I graduated, based on what I heard from one of their former barista who was transferred to the Empire Gallery branch and recognized me.

                Oh my God, you don’t say. Finding the powerpoints in the cafes is like finding a needle in a haystack, sigh. =/

                I also think it’s the type of coffee that you are ordering and the size. Large coffee usually contains 3x shots and espresso, in that mini cup, has a higher kick than the average black coffee. That was me a couple of weeks ago, lol. Ordered a large cap at 7.45am because I had to meet someone at 8 am and the caffeine didn’t kick in. I arrived on campus for my 1 pm lecture and ordered a large FW instead. Let’s just say that I gave myself a caffeine overload, lol. XD

                I don’t mind the bitter taste; it’s just that I have this weird belief that if I drink it with milk, it won’t harm my stomach in a way that black coffee does.

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                • Some cafes do have lower and upper levels, and the upper levels quieter – and you pay for what you get. Pity to hear that Coffee Bean branch closed down. It must have been one of the quieter ones. Sometimes it can be hard to sustain an upmarket coffee joint.

                  Not all tables in cafes comes with a powerpoint, that is the true story. You can always bring a battery pack but not all of us want to lug around extra equipment.

                  Now that did sound like you had a lot of caffeine that day. Larger the coffee doesn’t mean it will keep you awake all day. If anything it might make you more alert for a short while, much more so than a smaller coffee, before crashing and feeling like you need another one XD

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                  • “Some cafes do have lower and upper levels, and the upper levels quieter – and you pay for what you get. Pity to hear that Coffee Bean branch closed down. It must have been one of the quieter ones. Sometimes it can be hard to sustain an upmarket coffee joint.” – It’s pretty hard to find cafes with lower and upper levels here. Most of the time, I prefer to work in an environment similar to Coffee Bean (where there is soft music playing in the background and few people enjoying their cup of Joe) because it allows me to focus on what I am doing. I’d say that it’s because of the rent – that branch was technically opposite the Taylor’s College main campus and a corner lot as well.

                    “Not all tables in cafes comes with a powerpoint, that is the true story. You can always bring a battery pack but not all of us want to lug around extra equipment.” – For my case, my battery pack never lasts as long as it should and I’m lazy/broke to purchase a new one. 😐 For others, especially those who use a MacBook, there’s no battery pack at all.

                    “Now that did sound like you had a lot of caffeine that day. Larger the coffee doesn’t mean it will keep you awake all day. If anything it might make you more alert for a short while, much more so than a smaller coffee, before crashing and feeling like you need another one XD” – I know that was too much caffeine as my digestive system protested hours after that. But yeah, I’m usually able to sleep after large amount of caffeine when I was younger, so I guess it means I’m older than I want to be, aha. XP

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                    • To me a lot of the upmarket coffee places look similar lol XD It seems a lot of them have dim lighting, not anything like fluorescent light but much brighter and low-key in terms of atmosphere than the ambience of a club – and that’s probably why it’s a good place to hand out for many students. Not just a safe place but a place where it feels relaxed.

                      Sometimes when you find a powerpoint, it might not actually work lol. It’s happened quite a few times before to me in the library when I was in university. No fun when you actually need to use the powerpoint.

                      The older we are, we could maybe get less or more tolerant to caffeine. Can go either way as our bodies change XD

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                    • “It seems a lot of them have dim lighting, not anything like fluorescent light but much brighter and low-key in terms of atmosphere than the ambience of a club – and that’s probably why it’s a good place to hand out for many students” – You just described Coffee Bean’s atmosphere! XD

                      “Sometimes when you find a powerpoint, it might not actually work lol. It’s happened quite a few times before to me in the library when I was in university. No fun when you actually need to use the powerpoint.” – I have this problem now on campus. Most of the powerpoint in the student lounge do not work at all for my laptop, which forces me to camp out in the library or walk across the street to my faculty instead. (And the plugs in my faculty are also limited.)

                      “The older we are, we could maybe get less or more tolerant to caffeine. Can go either way as our bodies change XD” – Hopefully one day, I won’t have to rely on caffeine to stay awake and save my wallet from being burnt, lol. XP

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                    • That is a good point, that powerpoints comes in certain shapes and not others. Bringing an adapter can be useful but they sometimes don’t fit well… While working in a cafe or library can be great as you can get free Wifi (and books in the library), I do still prefer working at home XD

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  23. Mabel I read your post with great interest as I am a long time coffee drinker. Two cups every day. I sometimes think the ‘wake up’ effect has become a Pavlovian response. At the first sip and smell of the java I seem more alert which of course isn’t physically possible unless I was getting the stuff IV push. Interesting to read about how Australians have been loyal to their own coffee shops vs Starbucks.
    Your article is going to have me listening to how many times I hear people talking about ‘grabbing a coffee’ and what that means for folks who choose not to.

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    • Maybe that’s where you get all your energy and extroversion from – from drinking coffee 🙂 The smell is probably a signal that wake-up is on the way. And when you finally ingest it, it is what you dreamed of (hopefully you haven’t drunk too many bad coffees).

      I think most of us are used to hearing the term ‘grabbing a coffee’ and taking it as an invitation for going out together. Though when it comes to ordering something to drink, the non-coffee drinkers among us might be stumped.

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  24. This was one of my favorites among your posts Mabel. I laughed about Starbucks as my husband and I dislike their coffee and are dismayed by how prevalent they are here in the US. We laugh at the amount of money spent by the metrosexuals who could get a better cuppa for less money a few doors down or better yet at home. We love coffee but only first-thing in the mornings. Like you, I’m caffeine sensitive and drinking it any later keeps me awake at night. Absolutely loved your photos this week, and am most happy to see your link to our photo challenge! Welcome 😊

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    • Thanks, Tina 😊 So many pepople in the States seem to like Starbucks…maybe it is just a trend thing. Here in Australia Starbucks is pricey and sometimes a cup of Starbucks can get you a small meal at a fast food place. I had so much fun taking these shots of the coffee culture in Melbourne, and I look forward to participating in more photo challenges to come 😊

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  25. Mabel, a lovely connect with coffee culture and so much to talk on the topic. Coffee and conversations has been a saga of siblings separated at birth. We all need a break. We all need a pretext and the coffee acts as the context to converse. It stimulates the discussion, the topic crops up some are fresh and comes in a jiffy and we create the wonderful space to chat and sip. Starbucks has carved a niche and the brand has grown leaps and bound and stand out tall in the branding space. Quite interesting to know how Australia have fallen in love with coffee but Starbucks couldn’t carve a niche for itself. It happens. See a small place Finland tops the chart. Coffee doesn’t need a big place to determine its dominance.

    Coffee is about the smell. Coffee is about the caffeine. Waking up to the aroma of coffee beans and starting the office with the cup of coffee is what has gone deep into the lifestyle of many who love the caffeine. Making in home never easy and drinking the machine coffee don’t give the taste. Buying every time from the cafe is costly and if we are addicted the cost doesn’t matter. Much like smoking or drinking, it is all in the mind and the choice is ours and we can play around it provided we have a control. Everything in life is good in moderation. Indulging once and while in anything that we enjoy deeply is worth it but steering needs to be in full control. And it all depends what you like many prefer tea to coffee, and today we have spectrum of tea from white to green to black tea give taste of its own medicine to the latte to cappuccino to espresso.

    Though I take both with a little more preference for the morning tea and do so depending on the place I am, and South of India known for its brand of Filter Coffee where the rest of India prefer the Taste of Tea. India continues to be the sixth largest coffee producer of the world and the bulk of the production comes from the coffee estates spread across the southern states of country…the idyllic scenes in the country sides are breathtaking, there are so many coffee plantation estates dotted with spices like cardamom to cloves to pepper. It is indeed a royal and sublime experience to stay in such estates and sip the freshly brewed coffee beans and enjoy the serene surrounding in the midst of the beautiful plantation.

    Much like the Starbucks, the Indian chain of Cafe Coffee Day has started its chain and it goes well with the young generation sitting, chatting and sipping…the hangout destination where conversation are cultivated. Though this brand is from Bangalore, a place where the India Coffee House was like the ancestor of this new avatar. A country where except the south prefer a galaxy of tea (Darjeeling to Assamese) it was never easy for such cafe chain to grow their presence outside south but with the cafe with conversation made the difference and coffee was merely a catalyst. In my place of Hyderabad the part of southern states of India has preference for teas and Irani Cafes where the special teas are served makes a point for every one to stop and take a break with musky biscuits freshly baked in bakeries spread across the city. The tea takes the cake though coffee is give the tough time with the new brand of cafes dotting the upscale city landscape.

    Thanks so much Mabel for igniting a freshly brewed thought and I am sure we will take this conversation a step ahead as the break has been quite long. Yes, not been here for long and also taking longer to land here, have been bit busy at various fronts…excuses not acceptable, I agree.
    😀

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    • Coffee and conversations certainly go hand in hand. You are so right. We all need a break and coffee can stimulate and bring a break on. Australia certainly has mixed feelings towards Starbucks. On one hand, Starbucks does serve different coffees (think its long blacks, frappucinos, sweetened drinks) compared to many local Australian coffee joints but on the other hand many Australians say you can get better grade coffee elsewhere than Starbucks.

      Ah, the smell of coffee. I seemed to have forgotten to mention it in this post, but you brought it up very nicely. The smell of freshly made coffee is a lovely smell – and even as a non-drinker the smell perks me up a bit. ‘it is all in the mind and the choice is ours and we can play around it provided we have a control.’ So well said when it comes to making choices in life, with drinking coffee no exception. A bit of coffee can do us good, just like how we are often encouraged to eat widely from different food groups to get the nutrients that our bodies need.

      India does seem to like coffee but seems to like tea even more XD But it is interesting to note that India is the sixth largest coffee producer of the world and grows abundant coffee – and sounds like these plantations boast great views as well.

      Lovely to get to know Cafe Coffee Day. It sounds like a casual and safe place for the younger generation to hang out, chat and form lifelong friendships. ‘a galaxy of tea’ That is another winner of a phrase for you, and I’m guessing at these coffee chains tea is also served for those who prefer tea. In many parts of Asia and India included, street side culture has always been dominant and popular – thinking roadside restaurants and stalls. In the modern day sense, this street side culture arguably has translated to these modern cafe chains like you mentioned in your place in Hyderabad.

      Thanks for stopping by, Nihar. It’s always a pleasure to have you around whenever you can make it, and you’re more than welcome to help yourself to a fresh brew of coffee or tea over at mine’s. Haven’t been around to yours in a while, and I think this weekend looks good for a visit. Always wonderful chatting 😀

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      • Though tea cultured is deeply embedded in most part our country and people enjoy the “chai” but coffee is fast invading the space and the smell of coffee is all pervading…with the blend of modern cafes with traditional drinks, and the new generation ready to experiment and explore the vast landscape, the space for non-alcoholic drink is gaining bigger grounds. Not yet, the Cafe Coffee Day restricted to coffee only but road side joints are upgrading and bringing that new flavor to the test the taste buds of smart thinkers and drinkers always on the go…new breed on the block.

        Every region and the drink in that region has that local touch, so special. Those who have tested the tea in the North of India will like the tea in other parts and those who love the Filter Coffee of South of India would ignore the coffees in other places. The contest between tea and coffee drinker is growing and it is a healthy one.

        Starbucks in association with Tata Group is spreading its wing in India and it has been a big success, Tata is the most trusted brand in India and with Starbucks as a global brand are supplementing each other in penetrating the vast Indian market.

        Indeed the smell makes a big difference whether it is food or the drink, the teaser for the appetizer is vital to any consumption. Coffee is caffeine though a tinge but it is the trigger in mind we look for but the first thing it activates is your nostrils and mouth get to taste later…

        Our conversations are of course with virtual coffee or tea, depends on the time and indeed it a joy to share thoughts and read your deeply insightful write-ups.
        Mabel have a lovely week ahead.
        😀

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        • It does seem like coffee is becoming more and more popular in India. You point out a good distinction there – drinking coffee in cofee houses and drinking coffee on the go. Coffee is such a versatile drink these days, drinking for breakfast, lunch and maybe a quick one after dinner as a refreshment. Coffee will only gain bigger and bigger grounds.

          Coffee culture does seem markedly different in different parts of India. Good to hear both coffee and tea are drunk all over India, though some parts may drink one drink more over the other. Sure, it might be a competition between the two drinks, a healthy kind of competition where everyone knows the different kinds of coffee and tea in India.

          Maybe Starbucks will become even more popular over time in India catering to all walks of life, or maybe it will just be another face of the coffee over there. Coffee is indeed tinge and trigger, so well said and very poetically said Nihar. Coffee rejuvenates the senses even before we have a sip of it, it is that powerful a stimulant and treat. I think the smell of chocolate has a similar effect too.

          Once again a pleasure conversing with you, Nihar. I should bring some tea and coffee to your place this weekend 😀

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          • Such an irony in today’s world where we have stopped conversing with each other and it is the mobile and the digital world that is taking the bulk of our time away from us. Sipping coffee, leisurely scanning the surrounding and talking on various topics was such a delight we have intoxicated that delight with digital. We cannot complaint that’s the way the world is moving and we have to embrace the changing contours of the world.
            Indeed coffee and tea are two good things to break the monotony of whatever we are doing and take time out for a refreshing interaction and then getting back to our work.

            In the ultimate analysis anything excessive is detrimental, and coffee & tea is no exception, and both these drink have an addictive nature, and we need to know the art of managing the tendency to slip into such trap and moderate our consumption which is always good and brings goodness into everything we do.

            Thanks so much Mabel and have a lovely weekend. I will definitely try on few different coffee this weekend.
            😀

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            • ‘we have intoxicated that delight with digital’ This is so true. While some of us do go out for conversation over coffee, sometimes we still look at the phone throughout all of this. It is something many of us have to be mindful of and remind ourselves to be in the present.

              Coffee and tea in moderation is wise, and that way you can enjoy these drinks if you love them. Hope you get to drink some amazing coffee, or tea, this weekend. Happy weekend 😀

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  26. Thank you for link your coffee series with the everyday moments challenge, Mabel. So many wonderful ways to enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning. 🙂

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  27. OMG, I was recently in the hinterlands of upstate NY. No cell service. No paved roads.

    What the family did have was one of those thousand dollar expresso machines.

    Too bad I had no idea how to work the sucker.

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  28. YES, I love a good cuppa. I have pajamas that are dedicated to my morning coffee habit. Coffee is a pretty big deal here in Canada. In the last twenty years, lattes and cappucinos have become popular. Also, cafes dedicated solely to coffee have really mushroomed. I like the definition of a ‘Hipster’. They also love expensive well made cocktails. 😛
    I loved the coffee in Melbourne. It was fantastic! Oddly though, our air b’n’b didn’t have a coffee maker. Great post Mabel. Fun to read all about Australia’s coffee culture.

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    • It sounds like you are every bit the coffee drinker, Lisa. You are right, lattes and cappuccinos have become popular, and many have their coffee rather sweet these days. Lovely to hear you loved the coffee here in Melbourne, and probably one of the best you’ve ever had 😉

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  29. What a great post, Mabel! I’m in California and the coffee culture is booming just as much. I never drank coffee when I was younger. And when lattes came into the picture, it seemed to me to be an image thing. One I wasn’t a part of. Then I tasted a vanilla latte and loved it. So for the past few years, once in a while, I enjoy one or a chai latte, both with non-fat milk. My husband has always loved coffee and now I do join him in the morning for one cup. That’s it, and my adoration for coffee didn’t begin until my fifties. 🙂 But, I don’t drink it all day.
    What is concerning is this culture didn’t exist when I was a youth. But, there was still plenty of sugar in other goodies. Now, with all these coffee houses (Peet’s Coffee is our favorite), teens are indulging and the sugar content is highly abundant. I wonder if diabetes is more prominent because of all the yummy coffee drinks at hand’s reach if you have $4 to spend. My assumption is that it is without doing the research. I do believe though that this culture is here to stay. Thanks for sharing your coffee culture with us, and visiting Australia is on my bucket list! ❤☕

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    • Very interesting comparison between coffee culture in your younger days and now. From the outset, California has always struck me a sophisticated place that is in tune with its coffee. Sounds like you know what coffee you like and drinkt it in moderation. Your husband must enjoy your company as you drink coffee with him to start the day 🙂

      You might be on the right track there, with more health issues cropping up as a result of drinking sweeteened coffee these days. Here in Australia a sugary coffee drink costs around $5-$7 depending on size. That is about the cost of half or a whole a cheap fast food meal here. You are probably right in saying the coffee culture right now is here to stay. Maybe we will see more unique kinds of cuppa hot and cold created soon. Hope you get to visit Australia some day and try the coffee here ❤ ☕ ☕

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      • It sounds like your cups cost a little more than here. But ours aren’t too far behind, which means the sugar content and health issues aren’t the only factor. When you see how many people patronize these coffee shops, the dollar signs add up. I often think that every $4 spent adds up pretty fast. Maybe everyone should put that money in a jar as fast as they’d buy a latte, then watch it grow. 🙂 Even so, getting a coffee with a friend is enticing and probably won’t change. Everything in moderation, as you said. Have a good day! Lauren 🙂

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        • Have to agree with you that buying a coffee does add up. After a whole year with that money you can probably afford a plane trip or two somewhere. But as you said, getting a coffee with a friend is enticing and that moment spent with your friend could be priceless 🙂

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  30. Great post, Mabel, which is par for the course with you 🙂 This one really hits home, as there is nothing more beautiful in the day than the process of making my morning coffee. A ceremony, in a sense, with the preparation of beans (selecting which type I wish to drink), grinding the beans, and then enjoying the aroma of the brewing process. It makes me smile just thinking about it ~ and makes me want to go to bed early so I can wake up and take part in this ceremony again 🙂 So, yes, I am one who is very wrapped up in coffee. I think Melbourne and Seattle have a lot in common as we love our coffee here too!

    The way to describe coffee too as being a part of a ritual among friends is great, I think every society has such a connection to something. In Melbourne/Seattle it is coffee, in China it is tea, in Ireland/Czech/Portland Oregon, it is beer 🙂 Something that brings people together, and provides the perfect touch for everyone to share their stories and their lives. A very romantic post, in a way. For me, it goes back to my childhood and seeing my parents drink coffee but mostly from the books I read ~ US Westerns, where the cowboys alone on the plains would make a cup of black coffee and make it sounds as wonderful as a perfect sunset. Black and strong. No other way to enjoy coffee 😉

    Take care, Mabel, and wish you a great week ahead.

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    • I’ve always pegged you for drinking a coffee each morning, and pretty sure you’ve mentioned morning coffees on your blog previously 🙂 A lovely way to describe the art of making coffee – a ceremony and ritual indeed for there is a process that needs following through with attention to detail in order to bring about satisfying cuppa. Sounds like you know the coffee that you like and make sure you drink it 🙂

      Once again you are spot on in that every society is connected to something that they consume. In Australia beer is consumed widely too but I don’t think as much as coffee (beer would probably be the most-popular drink after coffee and tea here. Ahhh, so you like black and strong coffee. It’s not a go-to coffee for many Australians. In general, I think coffee culture has gotten sweeter in taste over the years with the rise of sugary and sweetened drinks. But there’s nothing like an original 🙂

      You take care too, Randy. Hope all is well and good to see that you haven’t disappeared of the face of the Earth 🙂

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  31. Good post Mabel. I am a fellow Australian and agree coffee is very much an Australian way of life. I have spoken about the failure of Starbucks here to some American bloggers and they can’t believe that we don’t like Starbucks coffee and that is, I believe, why Starbucks failed. Australia was the only market that they tried to enter that already had a strong coffee culture and for us “coffee snobs” their coffee simply did not make the grade. I don’t think that there is anything wrong with having high expectations of your coffee. Lets face it – if you ordered a blue steak and it came out well done you’d let the cook know. I don’t tend to complain to the shop itself but rather find another shop that serves a coffee that I like. Lets face it – if you are spending over $1500 a year you might as well be drinking a drink you like. Like you – I have gone from drinking many coffees to limiting myself (I’ve not given up totally) to two per day. One out and one in – both I expect to be exceptional.

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    • It is such a delight to meet a fellow Australian here in the blog world 🙂 It really is interesting to see how Starbucks didn’t suceed in Australia. You are right – if we want high expectations of coffee, when we can. It is a personal lifestyle choice and if we can afford it, so be it. As you inferred some of us would much rather prefer a steak that is not well done. It is like how some of us prefer to drink tea over coffee. Limiting one’s coffee intake is wise. Coffee is known to cause dehydration, and some have said for every cup you drink it’s best to drink a cup of water.

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  32. An excellent post on Coffee.. I am not a big coffee drinker at all. My husband drinks more cups than I.. I enjoy my herbal teas too much.. I learnt something new. I did not know Australia grew its own coffee…
    Coffee shops here in the UK are springing up everywhere now on the high-streets…
    I have to say I have been into Costa a couple of times meeting friends.. and I found it expensive and over-rated to my tastes.. But then as I don’t drink it often, what do I know.. LOL,,
    Have a wonderful new week..
    Loved the images you shared too Mabel…
    And enjoy your Coffee Breaks… ❤ ❤ ☕🍰 with a nice slice of cake too.. ❤

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  33. Far too much coffee, most often Instant. Can’t be bothered with all the mocca/flavours around, and the noise of the coffee machines hurts my head. 🙂 🙂 Never tea, thanks!

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  34. We have another ‘thing’ in common. I used to love coffee in my twenties and it took me months to link the headaches with coffee. I had to give up coffee entirely! I get very disoriented with coffee and it’s awkward because the ‘coffee culture’ had spread across the world. In Seoul, after lunch, everyone has to go to a local coffee shop/cafe (so many here) and I have to think hard about what I can drink. So, I generally drink hot teas (when it’s cold) and fresh juices (when it’s hot). 🙂 Basil cannot live without coffee and tries almost every blend there is. He picks up coffee from almost every country we visit! 🙂

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    • It does sound like we have quite a bit in common with coffee in that it doesn’t agree with us. I’m guessing decaffeinated tea doesn’t sit too well with you either. Disoriented about sums up the effects of coffee for me too lol. Basil does seem very much a coffee drinker and maybe that’s what keeps him going on travels 🙂 It can be hard deciding what to drink when you can’t order coffee. Usually I find the price of tea outside is not justified: a teabag and cup of hot water for a few dollars when that few dollars can make you quite a few cups of tea at home. With bottled or fresh fruit juices, they can be much more expensive than coffee at least here in Australia. A bit crazy lol 🙂

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      • Oh gosh! You sound just like Basil (about the tea bit)! I agree the price of tea is pretty steep outside (sometimes more expensive than coffee). I know, it’s tough to order anything with friends. But, the after meal coffee culture is unavoidable in Seoul. I agree even juices are as expensive as coffee. It’s a tough choice really. I’m OK with caffeine in tea weirdly. But I generally have flower teas or herbal extracts. Probably, they don’t have caffeine in them? Never checked really.

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        • Hahaha. Basil seems very wise about drinking tea 🙂 Once I had someone say to me they never order tea outside because they couldn’t justify the cost and might as well ask for a cup of hot water and put your own tea bag or tea leaves in XD

          Maybe it really is the coffee in coffee and not caffeine in coffee that makes you intolerant. Chocolate has caffeine and I have no problem eating copious amounts of it 🙂

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          • Yes! That’s what he says as well. Dark chocolates don’t agree with me. My sister has a similar problem and that’s how I knew I had one too. Never figured what causes it. But looks like there are many with similar conditions. Could it be because we’re more sensitive? It triggers the brain more? Just thinking…

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  35. Great Post!!
    Saw a documentary which traced why Starbucks failed in Australia big time….
    They overdid certain things loosing out on the subtlety part…
    They are making a comeback i heard…..learning from mistakes….

    Very well written….

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    • Thanks, Aneesh. That documentary on Starbucks in Australia seems like it has been doing the rounds. Hopefully I’ll be able to watch it at some point. Starbucks is still around in Australia…very popular with the student crowd it seems.

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  36. You’re not alone. I know of a couple of people who love the smell of coffee but cannot drink it. Personally I limit myself to 1 during the day, preferring tea as my breakfast drink. The exception is when I’m on holidays and might have 2 but none after 3pm. 🙂

    I’ve found Australia is famous for its coffee culture and quality. Melbourne has a rightful place at the top of the list.

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    • Smelling coffee but not being able to drink it is like a horrible tease. You do have good discipline, limiting your coffee to one cup a day. When on holidays like your recent Europe siesta, hope you had your fair share to your heart’s content 🙂

      Melbourne certainly has coffee that is made well and tastes good.

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  37. Great post Mabel. Something for everyone. 🙂 Me, I need my one morning coffee and rarely ever have a second. If I do, never past 3pm or it keeps me up at night ❤

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  38. Your post is chock-full of interesting coffee information! Like you, I’m not a coffee drinker. I’d love to be, because most of my friends love the drink (on BOTH sides of the US coast) and can’t imagine their morning without it. I was raised on the smells of coffee brewing in our kitchen, since my mom and dad sipped on a hot cup of coffee every morning (and for my mom, afternoon AND night). Me? Give me a cuppa tea. And I’m like the hipster coffee drinkers, very particular about which tea brand I drink. Some of the cheaper brands are so bitter and caustic they give me heart burn. Good for Australian for being loyal to local cafes instead of Starbucks.

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    • That makes two of us non-coffee drinkers. It sounds like you welcomed the smells of coffee in your kitchen growing up…yet still gravitated to tea. So loyal to it 🙂 At some point I’m planning on doing a post about tea and how awesome it is all round 🙂

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  39. I’m at Starbucks now drinking my favorite Blonde Roast. Coffee or tea is a must-have daily beverage: coffee more so in the West – growing up in India, I drank mostly tea – here in the US mostly coffee. You shared an important point that for a lot of people drinking coffee has more to do with attitude than the beverage itself. I could equate that with smoking. Teens take to smoking as a response to peer pressure; there’s attitude there. And it’s double attitude for those who drink coffee and smoke at the same time – I was one of them in my early twenties. In retrospect, that attitude was more destructive than effective. Growing old, I realize how drinking a blonde roast, one sip at a time, while working on a story is effective, as long as I monitor my daily caffeine intake. Brilliant post this, Mabel.

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    • Coffee and smokes do seem to go hand-in-hand for quite a few people, and you’re not the only one I’ve encountered that lived this routine a while back. Coffee, just like smoking, alcohol, other stimulants, makes us feel better one way or another.

      It does seem coffee is the go-to and must-have beverage for many in the West, so much so that one might seem and feel naked without it. I guess it comes down to a personal choice if we choose to drink coffee or not. Thank you for your kind words, Mahesh. Hope you enjoyed that Blonde Roast heaps 🙂

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  40. Interesting post, Mabel. I think you’ve got the coffee culture covered. I do love coffee, but on most at-home days, I will only have one cup after dinner at night. I rarely have coffee when I’m out during the day, and will have peppermint tea instead. Depending on where I am and what I am doing, I might have a coffee after dinner when I am out. While I may enjoy more coffees than that, they tend to go straight through me which can be difficult if there aren’t facilities close by, so I prefer to not take the risk.

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  41. Coffee and cafe go hand in hand. It seems that for most people in Australia, coffee is a much-needed stimulant and drinking coffee is a way of life. Interesting to note that people in Australia are finicky about the taste of their coffee and enrol in barista course to make themselves the perfect cuppa coffee.
    I have heard about most of the coffee varieties that you have mentioned and have tasted a few but I don’t think I know what Chai Latte is.
    Btw Mabel, it is interesting to see how diligently you have written this post on the coffee culture in Australia when you yourself do not have coffee. Like you, I also like the taste of coffee but rarely do I drink coffee. I prefer to have a cup of tea instead.

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    • That is true that Australia is a much-needed, much-craved stimulant. Chai latte is technically not a coffee…it is usually some kind of tea made to look like a latte.

      Sometimes I do wish I didn’t have much of an adverse reaction to coffee. Even then, I don’t think I’ll drink much of it. Tea seems to be an equally popular drink. One day I’ll write about tea. Keep enjoying your teas, Somali 🙂

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  42. Good and fun post, Mabel! 🙂

    The UK is associated with tea-drinking but I gather that these days that coffee’s become very popular. Myself, I drank tea til I was in my teens or twenties then switched to coffee, then a few years ago it stopped agreeing with me and I reverted back to tea. Recently I’ve had to stop drinking tea and find coffee agrees with me again (providing I only have small amounts at any one time. I use 2 or 3 teaspoons of ground coffee in an empty tea-bag (they can be bought like this, for both beverages). But as for my chopping and changing – it’s a mystery! 🙂 Aside from that, I like the taste of coffee more than tea, and I prefer the consistency of it – it has more body than tea, even with milk. But I can’t drink coffee without sugar whereas I can drink tea without it, and I can’t drink tea without milk but can drink black coffee…!!

    Can you drink black tea? If you can, then it’s likely that you’re allergic to the coffee bean rather than having a reaction to the caffeine which is more usual. Since stopping tea I’ve found I get fewer stomach upsets, yet both tea and coffee are acidic.

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    • It does sound like you have been very fluid when it comes to coffee and tea, having more and less of the other at different points in your life. I had no idea you culd put ground coffee in to an empty tea bag and you can buy empty tea bags just like that. I guess that way it’s easy to diffuse semi-ground coffee in your cup just like how you would with tea – and save a lot of cleaning up of a coffee machine (and operating it just right).

      Yes I can drink black tea but don’t do so very often. Black tea is actually drunk widely in Chinese culture, and we drink it as is without added sugar or milk. I do find black tea stronger than your average breakfast or peppermint teas, and if I have half a cup of it, it does make me feel alert almost as if I have drunk some coffee – and in a way I feel unnatural in this state lol. I do think I’m allergic to what’s in coffee beans as opposed to caffeine iteself, and there’s every possibility you are right, Val.

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      • ‘Fluid’ is a good word to use for my chopping and changing of tea/coffee drinking habits! 🙂 Yeah, I was looking for a way to make myself a blend of tea and vanilla and came across these bags on Amazon. I got two different kinds of bags, one’s too small though. The ones I use are made of hemp paper. I’ve found it’s best not to just let them sit in the water like a tea bag, though – so I alternate between doing that and holding them over the cup, to drip through. Definitely less mess, too.

        As far as I know, the black tea that Asian Indians drink, originated in China, and that’s the most popular kind that Brits drink. That said, the darkest, strongest tea we get here (as far as I know) is Lapsang souchong, but I’ve never liked its flavour. When I do drink tea I like Assam, which is black tea but has a rich flavour rather than a smokey one. I used to drink Earl Grey but I started to react to something in it, possibly the bergamot. I’ve always associated Green tea more with China than Black tea. I’m not surprised black tea makes you more alert, it generally has more caffeine in it than an average-strength coffee! 🙂

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        • It is a quite a unique way of drinking coffee, Val. Don’t think many actually go through all that trouble bringing out their own bags for it. I suppose the longer the bags sit in water the stronger the coffee.

          So interesting to hear that black tea is a very popular kind of drink among the Brits. I’ve tried Assam before, and yes, it has a smokey kind of flavour. Not the kind of tea that I reach for automatically. As for green tea, it also has an affinity with Japan and Japanese culture as matcha green tea has grown in popularity over the years. Teas and coffees are an acquired taste: we might like one variety but not the other 🙂

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  43. Another great piece from a very talented writer. Beautiful post, Mabel. Here in the States many occasions are centered around coffee … morning wake-ups, dates, friend gatherings, meetings, after dinner drink with dessert …. and the list goes on. I love my one and only cup of coffee every day. Strong. Earthy. Bold. From beans I grind …. mmmmm the aroma! …. to the anticipation of when the alarm goes off on my coffee maker telling me DONE it’s DONE! A little bit of Stevia, whole lactate free milk, and OH I come awake. Sipping my coffee from a beautiful cup that was given to me as a gift, as I sit in my rocker with a good book open to which my eager eyes read while my cats eat away in the kitchen the food I just put down for them. Peace. Quiet. And a delightful way to wake up.

    Personally you couldn’t drag me to a Starbucks. Nope. Sorry. I’m very particular with not only the coffee beans but how the coffee is made.

    I really enjoyed reading this post today. Thank you!! You are just so talented. 🤗

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    • It sounds like you like your coffee the way you like your coffee done – your way and you do make the effort to do that and enjoy it. It is so refreshing to hear that and you aren’t one to visit Starbucks or random coffee chains. If you are after quality and can afford it and have the time, why not. I have tried stevia as a sweetener but have never been able to get on board it. Maybe I haven’t found the right kind Your routine in the morning sounds very relaxing: warm drink, book and peace and quiet. A good way to connect with yourself and the world around you.

      Thank you for your kind words, Amy. Wishing you a wonderful day. Many hugs across the miles ❤

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      • I take my “sanity breaks” whenever I can, Mabel. Hubby learned NOT to interrupt me when I’m on one. The best guaranteed way for me not to be interrupted is to go to my fav park with my camera, but not on weekends. You are quite welcome for the kind words, Mabel. You are so deserving of them! 🌸

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  44. Coffee, books, rain— irresistible combination for me. If I’m down to the lowest, this would surely work. I mostly prefer Cappucino or just simple black without sugar; Americano, as they call it. Coffee-culture looks more or less the same everywhere. In my city, we have two big coffee-houses where y one can spend hours reading a book or just gossiping with friends. While in college, we used to spend the whole afternoon and evening there, say from 3.00 pm to 8.00pm 😀 Your post made me nostalgic.

    There are branded coffee-shops here including Starbucks serving at least 20 types of coffee, but still, the aroma of filter-coffee made straight from a traditional filter is just sublime.

    Thanks for sharing another wonderful post, Mabel. Your posts always provide some food for thought… 🙂

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    • It sounds like you like your coffee on the strong side, Mani. That combination sounds great – relaxing with good drinks and good reads. Your college days sound like very good days, and I’m sure relaxing at coffee houses was both for stud and for fun 😀

      Sometimes there is something comforting about a familiar blend of coffee, much more comforting than one of those experimental flavoured coffees. Hope you enjoy your next cup for coffee, Mani. Thanks for your kind words and for always being so supportive 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  45. I used to drink 6-8 cups of coffee during the day if I worked for an employer who provided it free at all times of the day. Not anymore. To help myself sleep better, I stop drinking coffee up to 2 cups around 2:00 pm or so. At home I drink tea, for breakfast and occasionally in evening which latter might be an herbal tea of certain type of promote sleep. It’s cheaper and faster for me to make and have tea at home. I’ve never made coffee at home.

    In Canada and US, coffee drinking does not state any sort of social status. Where one buys a coffee might occasionally…a national cheaper brand vs. artisan independent cafe. I’m not very good with uber dark brands, since it tastes bitter to me. I like a medium dark.

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  46. Is Mr. Wobbles one of the co-owners of the Three Monkeys establishment?

    I recently took a street photo class that included an exercise to take photos inside cafes. My on the street shots were great but my indoor ones sucked (uninspiring, poorly composed, technical failures). Your indoor pictures, on the other hand, are to be envied. Perhaps it is because you’re not being distracted by the call of coffee giving you more time to craft the perfect shot. Anyhow, I LOVED Australia’s coffee culture when I visited and am a proud drinker of a cup a day (two on special occasions). The Captain makes mine in a French Press aboard Amandla although we also have a stovetop espresso maker that sees the light of day occasionally. Miss those good ole flat whites sadly not available here in Madagascar.

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    • I had to ask Mr Wobbles if he co-owned the Three Monkeys place…he gave me a monkey laugh and I suspect he knows that place very well 🙈🙊

      What an interesting street photo class that you took, teaching you how to take photos indoors. Maybe you had a bad day when taking the indoor shots because as always, your street photography is very much observant. Thank you for your nice words but I only had a couple of hours to shoot these coffee shots, and had to make what I had work 😄

      Sounds like The Captain is a good coffee maker as he is a good cook. You never know maybe around the corner that could be that amazing flat white once again. Travel safe 🌊⛵🐒✌💙

      Liked by 1 person

  47. Very well written post on coffee culture, Mabel. Your beautiful photos are perfect illustrations for it.

    The US where I live may have the same coffee culture as you do in Australia. So far I have successfully avoided learning about it and splurging on those fancy Italian inspired concoctions. Whenever some place has a $1 coffee, any size, I go there! At times in the past I indulged brewing coffee from Hawaiian Kona beans, which may be less acidic perhaps. Nowadays, after retirement, I use much cheaper beans bought at any of the grocery chains. You can say that I am a cheap, peasant coffee drinker, and I wouldn’t mind at all.

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    • Thanks, Hien. I had a lot of fun taking these coffee photos.

      Sounds like you like your coffee cheap, low-key and affordable, and coffee is coffee to you 🙂 If it’s your kind of drink, then it’s your kind of drink. It is quite a skill brewing your own coffee no matter what kind of beans you use, and sounds like you know how to brew your coffee right.

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