The Business

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Any Australian readers have probably cottoned on to what I'm writing about. Coffee...the other C word, the most important order of the day, the up and go, the fuel that drives a nation. Apparently Danes consume the most coffee per capita in the world, but us Aussies are giving it a red hot go. Nowhere else is there such a massive array of options for your coffee. We have gone and complicated the humble Italian espresso to dizzying heights. It's enough to make your head spin. 

This is NOT a joke. Well, maybe a little. Get your microscopes out, the full sized version can be seen here Credit: Pop Chart Lab

Confused yet?

Let me give a wee example...

"A large double shot skim hazelnut latte with one sugar"
Note: this is for demonstration purposes only, I don't think anyone would actually order that (at least I hope not)

Key (brace yourself)
Size: espresso (short), regular or large
Coffee: how many shots? Espresso or any of those funky things (cold drip, aeropress, siphon, chemex...)
Milk: black - long or short. White (skim/soy/regular full cream) - 'flat' or with froth (latte or cappuccino)
Extras: flavoured syrups, chocolate (a.k.a. mocha) or chai 'latte' (no coffee in that one, just milk and sometimes chai tea)
Sugar: how many? Real or substitute?

Phew! I think I've managed to make the point that we're a little cray for coffee. Nowhere is this obsessional need felt more than in the heart of Melbourne, Victoria. This is a city where espresso has been honed to a fine art, and I'm not just talking coffee ferns. 


66 Bourke Street, Melbourne

The same photograph that has been taken for 60 years...Pellegrini's is a Melbourne icon

Pellegrini's has been trading since 1954, an astonishing 60 years in 2014. Prop yourself at the bar and admire the yellowing portraits of celebrities who have visited over the decades past. I might add the barista made a quip about being surrounded by beautiful women as we girls walked in. I was almost expecting a "Ciao bella" in there. The coffee here is the equivalent of a stiff drink, full bodied and an assault on the tastebuds. Just in case you weren't awake, you definitely are now! Everything we claim to know about coffee we owe to the Italians who invented espresso (molte grazie). This is how you do it. 

A cappuccino in a glass tumbler, now that is a foreign concept. The froth is exceptional, the coffee very strong without being bitter. The best part? It still costs 3 bucks - bellissimo!

Degraves Espresso

23-25 Degraves Street, Melbourne

A neat little package, the perfect introduction to Melbourne laneways and café culture Photo credit: James Jardine

The big easy; this Degraves is all about location and convenience. Situated a stone's throw from Flinders Street Station, this one has also been around for donkey's years. This is the kind of place that is effortlessly casual, a Sydney café without the pretensions of being hipster (which gets a bit tiresome to be honest). Sit yourself outside to while away the hours people watching or on a big old cinema seat inside to read the paper. Anything goes and that's just one of the things I love about this city.

Curiously watching the barista make my coffee in his flip flops, he could have done it blindfolded. This was my first coffee on this Melbourne trip and my eyeballs nearly popped out - 'twas amazing. Hello endorphins!

A simple lunch without the fuss. Vegetarian panini with eggplant, pumpkin, capsicum, mushroom and lots of melted cheese. Yeaaah

St Ali

12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne

Just follow the crowds and you'll find that graffitied roller door Photo credit: Time Out

If it weren't for the heady aromas emanating from behind the garage door at St Ali, you'd think there were some dodgy dealings going on at this South Melbourne venue. Co-owner Salvatore Malatesta (also behind Seven Seeds and Sensory Lab) is pretty much the Coffee Don of Melbourne and yes, I just made that up. The queues at this 'Holy house' start right at opening time so be prepared. If you can't be bothered catching the 96 tram to the south, head to Sensory Lab on Little Collins for your beans - or get a coffee subscription, you fiends!

Since 2003, this warehouse space is also home to a coffee bean roasting get-up Photo credit: Time Out

Around the world Australians are renowned for being relaxed and laid back. This is obviously a portrait painted in the afternoon once we've been happily fed and caffeinated. Ever heard of the term hangry? Well we should be coining the coffee equivalent, people. Tip: don't get between an Aussie and their morning coffee or there will be hell to pay... When travelling overseas I am often bemoaning how abysmal the coffee is. It's a bad sign when Starbucks is 'the best' on offer (oh dear). Or, perhaps I'm just being a proper snob. Perhaps not. 

Thanks for reading!
Degraves Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. Love the quirky furniture inside Degraves. I think that Melbourne definitely has a strongly coffee culture than Sydney but maybe that's because it's always so cold down there. Heh.



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