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Coffee is so deeply entrenched in Australian culture that the demand has helped grow and sustain the presence of independently owned coffee shops serving specialty coffee while coffee chains such as Starbucks struggle to stay afloat.
With a coffee culture this strong, it’s no surprise that the latest coffee trends can all be found Down Under. Whether you’re feeling adventurous or just in need of a caffeine kick, you’re bound to find the perfect cup from Australia’s 14,000-odd coffee shops and cafes.
If you’ve seen baristas working behind a set of beer taps recently, it’s likely that they are serving up cold brews and nitro coffees, which are officially challenging your regular iced coffee as the caffeine lover’s chilled drink of choice. And for good reason too: Cold brews are made by steeping coffee slowly in iced water, resulting in a cold, full-bodied beverage without the dilution from ice, while nitro coffee is being touted as a healthier alternative – the added sweetness comes from the infusion of nitrogen, and the coffee is gentler on the stomach with lower acidity levels than a regular hot black.
Possibly way ahead of the trend, Veneziano Coffee Roasters first introduced their nitro coffee in 2014 to great fanfare – catch them brewing in Melbourne and Brisbane. For fans of clean eating, try Primal Pantry. Boasting a fully organic coffee range, the Perth café offers cold brew, nitro coffee and kombucha on tap to pair with their large range of wholesome, nutrient-rich food. And if you must have it on the go, check out Byron Beverage Co.’s Black Nitro, Australia’s first organic nitrogen-infused cold brew in a can.
Ah, the ubiquitous latte art gracing Instagram accounts the world over. In its most basic form, it’s been around since the 1980s, when baristas first discovered they could put a smile on customer’s faces by creating a simple heart pattern on top of a latte using the espresso crema contrasted with the milk foam. These days, it’s been taken to a whole new level. Riding a wave of social media momentum, baristas have gone beyond basic hearts to complex drawings, 3D art and even using food dyes for multi-coloured cups of java!
Before you wave this off as just a fad, you’ll be surprised to know that latte art is taken very seriously by the coffee community — the best in the world even gather at the World Latte Art Championships annually! For a taste of the best, make your way to Superrandom in Brighton, Melbourne, where you can catch two-time champion Nobumasa Shimoyama in action. If rainbow lattes are your cup of… coffee, just a five-minute drive from Superrandom is Too Many Chiefs, also in Brighton. Besides its Instagram-worthy food dyed coffee, they also serve up healthier alternatives like beetroot and turmeric lattes. And for amazing 3D latte art by the beach, you might want to check out Sea Change Café in Dee Why, northern Sydney.
If fancy coffees are way too much to stomach, don’t fret. Many coffee shops in Australia take pride in roasting their own beans and creating their own blends for the perfect cup of joe. Black, white, filtered – you’ll be spoilt for choice here.
Brewing since 2003, Single O has successfully grown from a single shop in Surry Hills, Sydney, to another in the CBD as well as a roasting site and training facility in Brisbane. If you’re wandering out of central Sydney, a short 15-minute drive away is Coffee Alchemy. Don’t be fooled by its simple brick exterior – many have raved about the freshly roasted coffee at the roastery cafe, which is the only item they sell. And if you’re cruising around central Perth, why not pop by Antz Inya Pantz? A hit with both tourists and locals, their Antz2go store is home to a roastery and cafe with great, friendly service. What’s more, if it’s your first time, your drink is on the house!
Interested in reading up about other food trends? Check out these trending flavours.