It’s no wonder that coffee is the second most popular drink in the world (behind water). It’s a hot, flavoursome adrenaline-spike that can turn any mundane morning into a super-charged, bring-it day. And although fifteenth-century Arabs were the first to cultivate coffee and Italian migrants introduced espresso coffee into the post-WWII period, Aussies have pretty much become coffee addicts – along with the rest of the world!
If you are one of them (and we see a million virtual nods out there), then here’s where to find your favourite brew in some of the world’s most iconic places.
If you’re headed to London …
Aussies and Kiwis opened London’s first espresso-focused coffee establishments over a decade ago and they continue to flourish. The flat white craze in particular has exploded due to it gifting a strong coffee hit, a natural sweetness and a velvety milk texture, so artisan coffee shops are well worth seeking out.
Some of these are even affiliated with New Zealand-based brands (the apparent home of the flattie), guaranteeing you a taste of Australian-style coffee that will definitely obliterate any feelings of homesickness.
If you’re a serious fan, check the local guides.
If you’re headed to Paris …
Cafés in Paris literally line every corner of every arrondissement (and there are twenty administrative districts here), so it’s all about hopping onboard a bike-with-a-basket and seeking them out.
For a caffeinated hit, the bohemian 18th arrondissement around charming Montmartre turns out parfait flat whites using veteran Italian-Australian coffee roasters, and around the Le Premier arrondissement you’ll find an akubra-full of Australian-trained baristas who know their espressos.
The 10th arrondissement and the booming rue Faubourg Saint Denis also serves up a pretty decent flat white, along with edible Aussie faves like scones and sausage rolls.
If you’re headed to the USA …
The US does get a bit of a bad rap for its coffee quality, particularly in terms of the types available. You might find a filter coffee that’s delicious, but if you’re used to a smooth, foamy flat white, then you could be bitterly disappointed (pun intended)!
In the mid-1990s, there were less than 300 specialty coffee shops in the US, however today there are around 30,000. Flat whites began to be sold in a variety of Aussie cafes in NYC quite a few years ago, which included the Hugh Jackman-owned venue that stocked his charity-based coffee. This was followed up by coffee behemoth Starbucks debuting the flat white in its American stores in 2015.
Your best bet for sourcing great coffee in the US is to do your research, source out personal recommendations, and use apps like Beanhunter and city-based resources like the New York Coffee Guide and the Great LA Coffee Map.
If you’re headed to Asia …
Hong Kong has a few more palatable options by our fussy standards, with many cafes sourcing beans from premium Australian roasters and some chains even investing in coffee roasting labs. With an energy-inducing combination of caffeine and sugar, mochas are also a great option here for virgin coffee drinkers.
With an espresso base, flavour is enhanced with the addition of chocolate powder or syrup, giving it an elevated thickness and sweetness. Yummo!
In Singapore, coffee has always been a popular local beverage, however with the city embracing modern espresso technology, the art of brewing has pretty much become a cultural institution. Singapore also produces a pretty mean latte, however here its visual appeal is just as important as the taste. Singaporeans are often placed in the Top 10 of latte art heroes from around the globe at the World Latte Art Championships.
If you’re headed to Italy …
With some of the world’s best baristas calling this place home, if you’re after the quintessential espresso then there is no better place to enjoy a steaming cup than in Rome. Traditionally made by forcing out a smallish amount of almost boiling water under pressure through finely ground coffee beans, true aficionados take their shots sans-extras. It’s an acquired taste, however a sure fire way to get the morning off to a banging start.
One of the more popular styles of Italian coffee, cappuccinos are a layered affair made with a shot of espresso for the caffeine kick, followed by a shot of steamed milk to counter the bitterness. Foamed milk is then added for drinkability, and they’re often then finished with a sprinkling of cocoa powder for an additional sugar hit.
If you’re headed to Austria …
If caps are your flavour, then don’t miss Vienna. Coffee is such an important part of Viennese culture that the city’s coffee houses have been listed as ‘Intangible Cultural Heritages’ by UNESCO. New-style independent coffee shops have also begun to flourish after the city hosted the World Barista Championships in 2012.
If you’re headed to NZ …
While Italy may be considered the motherland when it comes to coffee, the oceanic part of the globe is still considered the quintessential home of the flat white. Thought to have been invented in Sydney, over the years it’s been crafted to perfection in NZ, where it has become the nation’s unofficial national beverage. Say some they serve the best flatties in the world here!
Often confused with a latte due to similar ingredients, a flat white is essentially made with an espresso shot and milk, however the difference comes down to the milk itself. While lattes have foamy or frothy milk, flat whites have a different milk texture that is often found lower down in the milk jug. This gives it a smoother texture and consistency.
By the early 1990s, many coffee-obsessed Kiwis started added roasteries to their operations and began offering training, in order to teach staff how to extract the perfect espresso and ‘stretch’ milk in order to obtain a flawless consistency. Since the mid-1990s, quality cafes have sprung up in virtually every corner of the country. A bit like our Aussie pubs!
If you’re still not satisfied …
Obsessed with finding the perfect coffee fix, traipsed the globe and still not satisfied? Then DIY it! Include your coffee pump or coffee press in your luggage (along with booking your travel insurance) and roast it on the run!