Coffee Culture in the U.S and Australia

different types of coffee how coffee differs between the u.s. and australia

Many parts of the world, including the United States and Australia, have embraced coffee culture as a standard part of everyday life. While both countries share a love for coffee, their approaches to it and the surrounding culture can differ significantly. As an Australian with particular coffee habits, I find it difficult to replicate my own coffee ritual, which means I am inevitably on the hunt for good coffee when arriving in a new place.

Coffee Culture and Consumption

In the United States, Americans consume an average of 3.1 cups of coffee per day, with the coffee culture largely dominated by chain coffee shops like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts. These shops prioritize convenience and are known for their sugary, flavored drinks.

On the other hand, Australians are more likely to consume their coffee at local, independent cafes, preferring traditional espresso-based drinks such as flat whites, lattes, and cappuccinos. They appreciate the taste and quality of their coffee and prioritize finding a good cup over convenience.

Size Matters

Regarding coffee size, most Australians choose an 8oz cup or a maximum of 12oz, while places like Starbucks serve what looks like a bucket of coffee in a 20oz cup. Additionally, the counted pumps of syrup are not a thing in Australia, and requesting six pumps of vanilla and six pumps of hazelnut at Starbucks Downunder can cause confusion among staff.

Coffee Preparation is Different

In the U.S., drip coffee is the most popular method of coffee preparation, with Americans using automatic drip coffee makers at home or buying a cup from a chain coffee shop. While espresso-based drinks are also popular, they are typically made with automated machines prioritizing speed and convenience.

In Australia, however, espresso-based drinks are the norm, and Australians take their coffee seriously, appreciating the art of making a good cup. Baristas often handcraft each drink using manual espresso machines, ensuring the quality and taste of the coffee.

coffee culture in the U.S. is very different to its Australian counterpart

Coffee Culture in Australia vs America

In the United States, people often view coffee as a necessary energy boost to get through the day. Coffee shops are usually hectic and impersonal places where you can grab a quick cup of coffee or meet with friends and colleagues.

On the other hand, in Australia, coffee is more than just a caffeine fix. It’s a social event that people enjoy with friends and family. Aussies take the time to relish their coffee and the relaxed ambiance of the cafe, which often features outdoor seating.

It’s all about that Milk

As for milk preferences, Americans typically consume dairy milk, whereas Australians are more accepting of alternative milk options such as soy, almond, and oat milk. Although these alternative milk options are available in the US, they often taste different from their Australian counterparts. Soy milk, for instance, has a sweeter taste in the US, making it less appealing to some Australians.

Nonetheless, Australian coffee enthusiasts can still find good coffee in the US. Some Australian coffee brands have even made their way to America, such as “Laughing Man Coffee” by Hugh Jackman in New York and “Blue Stone Lane,” a Melbourne-style cafe that has expanded to various locations in the US.

If you’re an Aussie craving your favorite coffee in the US, try ordering a “short latte” with an extra shot of espresso, which is the closest equivalent to my personal Australian standard. Additionally, for alternative milk drinkers, oat milk is a better option than soy in the US. 

Good luck with your coffee hunting expeditions and let me know if you’ve found the perfect spot in the States and where it is!

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