Coffee around the world - Australia & Oceania

Over the next few weeks we’re going to take you on a global coffee journey. Many countries have traditions associated with coffee dating back centuries, while others have adapted to suit society’s changing preferences. One thing is certain – most countries in the world serve their caffeine craving citizens coffee in one form or another. Let’s break it down by Continent. We’ll start down under with Australia and Oceania and work our way around the globe.

Australians enjoy their coffee. Being a melting pot of cultures and traditions we are truly spoilt for choice when it comes to picking a favourite way to take your daily elixir. Today’s coffee culture in Australia has largely been influenced by European migrants who relocated here during the 1950’s. This is combined with the new wave of health-conscious coffee lovers who have opted to mix things up a little in order to get the most benefit out of their carefully brewed beverage. In most Australian cities you can walk into any good café and order coffee just how you like it – short/long black, macchiato, piccolo, flat white, latte, cappuccino, mocha, over ice. Choose from full fat/skim cow’s milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, butter (don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it)! Basically there is no end to how you can order your coffee in Australia. Being a relatively ‘new’ country, there’s no one particular traditional Australian way of drinking coffee. For most, our food and beverage diet is influenced by family/cultural traditions or the place in which we reside and how that has been influenced by majority ethnic groups. I’ve never been to a place that offers as much choice when it comes to food and drink as Australia – not even NYC!

New Zealand has more coffee roasters per capita than anywhere in the world. It’s recognised as the pioneer of the “flat white”, although as with many other things that originated from NZ (pavlova, lamingtons, Russell Crowe, etc.) Aussies would beg to differ. Anyway, this drink has gained worldwide popularity over recent years, possibly due to demand from Aussie and Kiwi expats living abroad. Unlike a latte, a flat white consists of mainly steamed milk, as opposed to being one third froth. It also tends to come in a smaller cup than a latte, meaning the coffee flavour is much stronger.

Coffee cultivated in Papua New Guinea is free from pesticides and synthetic fertilisers as they are too expensive. This results in naturally lower levels of caffeine and acidity. The country accounts for about 1% of the world’s coffee production, making it their second largest agricultural export. While many Papua New Guineans start their day with a cup of coffee, their local, traditional drink is “kava”. Made from the Kava root, it is consumed to give a relaxing effect.

Many island countries that make up Oceania successfully produce and export coffee, with the advantage of being able to provide an organic, natural product thanks to their location and lack of exposure to introduced species that can potentially affect their crops.

In the next article we’ll take you through Asia, where the focus will be on the traditional ways to drink coffee as part of a local diet.

Kate Lovell