Important information for International Pilgrims to Melbourne

On Coffee.

Melbourne is the Coffee centre of the world. Yes, it is true. We make the best coffee anywhere. Or at least we did until Starbuck’s invaded. (And, for those who have had the benefit, I make a fairly decent cuppa here in the Ecumenical and Interfaith office with my Krups machine – ask those who have had the experience – with nice little halal bikkies to go with it).

Marco Vervoost has found an interesting note on Wikipedia about Australian Coffee:

Flat white
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A flat white is a coffee beverage served in Australia and New Zealand, prepared with espresso and milk. The drink is generally made with an ? espresso and ? steamed milk. The volumised milk is prepared by folding the top layer into the lower layers [1].

A flat white is the same as a properly made North American Cafe Latte, but differs from a Starbucks style latte in the preparation of the milk. Australian lattes and flat whites are usually served in 215-240ml cups, making them stronger than some lattes in other countries.

While this is right about the strength of the coffee (isn’t that the main point after taste?), it is wrong in its description of a “flat white”. What this article describes is, in fact, also called a “latte” here in Oz. A “flat white” is espresso coffee with steam volumised milk added, but in proportions closer to 2/3 coffee and 1/3 milk. It is a glorified example of what most people would simply call “a white coffee”, ie. coffee with milk. NOT milk with coffee (that’s a “latte”).

And for you Yankees and Canadians: forget about asking for a “coffee with cream” here in Melbourne. It won’t work. You will just get a funny look. Ask for a “flat white” and you will get something close to what you are looking for. Only better.

PS. And if you like even less milk in your coffee, go for a “macchiato

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5 Responses to Important information for International Pilgrims to Melbourne

  1. Bob Catholic says:

    And an expresso is a “short black”!

  2. Joshua says:

    What a bloody nerve for some wikipedist to call some Yank take on coffee “properly made”!

    As for those invading chains – Starbucks and Gloria Jeans – they aren’t a patch on proper Aussie coffee.

    Of course, my Mum can remember the FIRST coffee bar in Melbourne, just down Bourke St from Parliament House: we can thank the post-war immigration boom for bringing good coffee from Italy to Australia.

  3. Dixie says:

    Oh, yes! The “flat white”–I remember it well from my two trips to Auckland. Great stuff and superior to Starbucks in my estimation. I think the Starbucks roast crosses the line to burnt. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy a Starbucks sugar free, hazelnut latte on occasion. I do! But my ultimate preference is a “short” coffee made from the mocha java blend with a splash of heavy cream–when it’s not fasting time. Nonetheless–one can’t go wrong with a good flat white either.

  4. clara says:

    Josh, I’m sure that first coffee bar in Bourke St was Pellegrini’s – It is still there but looking a little seedy

  5. Schütz says:

    Pellegrini’s is special, Clara. It’s a bit of Melbourne history. It would be a travesty if it were ever revamped to fit the “Starbucks” mould.

    Dixie, where in the world are you now? do they have good coffee there? I have been following your journey a little on your blog.

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