Spaces of Community: Dynamics in the cafe industry – Research Summary

The ‘Cafe Spaces’ blog was originally established to support the activities around the research project ‘Spaces of Community: exploring dynamics in the café industry‘, which sought to explore the growth and development of the café industry in the UK, and examine the role of cafés in different urban spaces.

There are a number of publications which stem from the intial project, some of which are available now, others which are still with publishers, or in progress. In the meantime, I have produced a short research summary which highlights some of the key points that emerged in the research.

Spaces of Community Report Cafe Industry

As I expected the blog has become much broader than just this project, to include issues from across the coffee and café industry, exploring café cultures from across the globe, and I now have a wide range of pathways to take the research next.

Posted in Cafe Culture, Coffee, coffee culture, Commentaries, community, reading, Reports, UK, Use of cafe spaces | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Learning about coffee and coffee shops: Podcasts

Recently I’ve been writing a few blog posts which highlight where I learn about coffee, cafes, and coffee cultures. Previous posts have covered books, magazines, and blogs/websites. Today’s post introduces some of the podcasts I listen to, some of them are still active, while others have finished but are still useful repositories of coffee knowledge.

The Coffee Podcast: ‘People-focused coffee talk’ produced by Weston Peterson and Jesse Hartman. Moving beyond talking about the café and the coffee, these podcasts explore some of the people that make the coffee industry what it is today. Beyond this, the podcast covers a whole range of issues related to coffee from home brewing, sustainability, to grinding and roasting. Now on Episode 81 there’s a huge amount of material here. I particularly like their most recent podcast on ‘What is Specialty Coffee?’ where they talk to the SCA Executive Director Ric Rhinehart.

The SprudgeCast produced by the co-founders of the specialty coffee website, Sprudge, Jordan Michelman and Zachary Carlsen explores the world of specialty coffee. There are now 40 Episodes, each covering a range of specialty coffee topics. The most recent was recorded at an evening event at Prufrock in London during the London Coffee Festival and they talk to a number of guests about their activities in specialty coffee.  Often out on location, these podcasts literally bring you a world of specialty coffee, including: Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and Dublin as well as a number of locations in the US.

In the Orange Cactus Coffee podcasts Mike and Jake explore a range of issues in specialty coffee. Here there are two types of podcast: the full episodes covering topics from brewing tips, coffee and cafes reviews to what a ‘dream café’ would look like; as well as the Daily Ristretto with shorter topical discussions from third wave water to types of kettles.  They also have a series of videos about coffee too. I discovered these guys after some conversations on twitter, and I was really happy to hear they like reading my work too – after they mentioned the blog in a recent episode of the Daily Ristretto on Coffee In Neighborhhoods.

In addition to James Hoffman’s Jim seven podcast, he has also produced the Coffee Jobs Podcast where he talks to a range of people who work in coffee about their lives in coffee, how they got there, and advice they have for people working in the coffee industry. In each episode, James explores a different career in coffee, including: Jenni Bryant(Market Lane), Ellie Hudson (Specialty Coffee Association of America), Mikaela Wallgren & Klaus Thomsen (Coffee Collective), Laila Wilbur (Cherry Street), Charles Babinski (G&B Coffee), Anne Lunell (Koppi Coffee), Michael Phillips (Blue Bottle Coffee), Gwilym Davies (Prufrock) and Colin Harmon (3FE).

Tamper Tantrum is more than a podcast really, as they say on their website – it’s a platform dedicated to broadcasting stories from interesting people in the coffee industr. It’s been described as “one of the world’s premier platforms for coffee bickering, brainstorming, and live speaking engagements”. The podcasts talk about everything you can imagine in the coffee industry with various special guests, and often related to live events (the videos attached to the podcasts are on the website too). Now with 78 episodes there’s quite a back catalogue to get through. I particularly like the episodes on the business models of coffee roasteries, the Business of Brewing from the Manchester Coffee Festival, the debate about Barista Competitions, and Barista Attitude & Third Wave Shops.

Boss Barista is a podcast produced by Jasper Wilde and Ashley Rodriguez, connected to the website Permanent Barista, which explores the experiences of and issues related to working as a coffee service professional. From discussions about age discrimination in the coffee industry, identity in coffee, to discussions of self-care working in the coffee industry, this podcast is great for beginning to explore the human side of the coffee industry.

Cat & Cloud produced by Jared Truby and Chris Baca, is a website which acts as a platform for a number of creative projects, one of which is the coffee podcast. They also have their own coffee, I’m intrigued by the blend called ‘the answer’. I particularly like the episodes SCAA then and SCA now, 1st, 2nd and 3rd waves, Social media and authenticity, and How do we benefit? Dial in.

Coffee Awesome, as the tag line says, is a podcast about coffee. Produced by Bjørg Brend Laird, who through interviews and discussions from across the coffee industry, explores a range of coffee topics from the geography and production of coffee, to the business of cafes, as well as brewing techniques, and the science of coffee.


Boise Coffee, is a website produced by Colin Mansfield, that reviews and discusses, coffee, brewing methods and other coffee-related topics. There is also a podcast which tends to discuss more of the general topics around coffee, from the history of Irish Coffee, cities and their coffee cultures, to developing latte art and perfecting espresso.



The Right Roast isn’t really a podcast, instead it’s a series of videos taking you on a global adventure with coffee. I discovered the site when looking for some information about coffee culture in Japan, and the two part series on Tokyo Coffee Scene caught my attention (Part 1, Part 2) – but there are lots of great insights here from all over the world.



Coffee is Me, produced by Valerian, is a podcast about all things coffee. Like many coffee podcasts this one has a website too which provides a lot more content beyond the audio itself. I particularly like the episodes ‘What does a Rwandan Barista dream of?’. and ‘Coffee in Iran’.



The AudioCafe: for Baristas, coffee houses, coffee lovers is a podcast produced by Levi Andersen, which explores different issues in the specialty coffee world. Like many of the other podcasts, the topics covered are wide ranging from how to source green coffee, to considering barista training in a coffee house, and with 61 episodes to get through so far, there’s plenty to get through. I particularly like the episode on baristas as global brand ambassadors (no.26), and the journey to the World Barista Championship (no.24).

The Coffee Geek podcast which no longer has new episodes being produced still holds a wealth of information and is worth listening to. The majority of the episodes were produced from 2005-2009, although there are a few in later years. For a window into how coffee culture developed, particularly in the US in the mid to late 2000s, this is a great place to start.



I Brew My Own Coffee hosted by Brian Betke & Bryan Schiele talk about everything related to making coffee at home (and topics related to this from across the coffee industry). Now up to Episode 52 this podcasts covers issues from Third Wave Water, Home Espresso Basics, Sourcing and Seasonality, to Pour Over Brewing. I particularly like the episode which talks about the Aeropress which has pretty much become my standard method of making coffee at home.


So this is where I listen and learn about coffee and the coffee industry. Are there any other podcasts about coffee, cafes and coffee culture that I’ve missed and really should be listening to?



Posted in Cafe Culture, Coffee, coffee culture, Commentaries, General, Podcasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Neighborhood and Coffee: Starbucks in Japan

Starbucks, the global coffee chain company is starting to try and do things a little differently. Famous for introducing its stores with their similar style and operations across the globe, with increasing competition the company has had to think about how it can move with the times and have a wider offering of store types. In some markets the company has sought to introduce luxury ‘Reserve’ stores and roasteries (one is planned for Tokyo in 2018) with a wider range of coffee preparation methods, and the offering of a more premium Starbucks experience (Kell, 2014).

Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks said that he wanted to make Starbucks stores a destination in themselves:

“People are still longing for connection, and a sense of community, perhaps more so now that they are spending more time at their computers, or working from home” (Foroohar, 2014).

In addition, the company has suggested it intends to open more express outlets, mobile coffee vans, and more specialised retail outlets (Foroohar, 2014). Starbucks has had a presence in Japan since 1995 , and now has over 1,100 stores across the country. More recently it has introduced a new store format – Neighborhood and Coffee.

Neighborhood and Coffee – Jiyugaoka,Tokyo. Image credit: Dave Powell – Shoot Tokyo

Unlike many Starbucks stores which are located in urban centres, these stores tend to be located more in the neighbourhoods where people live – designed to be your local neighborhood coffee shop.

Inside the Neighborhood and Coffee Store in Okusawa,Tokyo. Image Credit: Dave Powell – Shoot Tokyo

They are designed with plenty of seating, to be welcoming and more of a place where you would want to go to sit, relax and meet people – one store in Kobe even has a special rooms that allows customers to bring their dogs in too.  Unlike the usual Starbucks stores there is less of the bright green branding, instead focusing on more subtle branding and lighter colours.  The menu is these stores is a little different, focusing on the Starbucks Reserve coffee, and they also served different food as well as beer and wine.

Inside the Neighborhood and Coffee Store in Okusawa,Tokyo. Image Credit: Dave Powell – Shoot Tokyo

For some people this move by Starbucks indicates recognition of a new wave of espresso culure in Japan, and for others its a sign that Starbucks have realised they need to do something different – their standard stores are ubiquitous and in order to continue to expand they need to provide a higher quality offering of coffee, and a different kind of space. Given the rise in specialty coffee in many countries, particularly in the UK, it will be interesting to see if this concept appears anywhere else. I noticed on a recent trip to London for the London Coffee Festival that one of the Starbucks stores had already opted for the branding without the usual round green mermaid logo, instead going for the lighter wooden look.

Starbucks London

Starbucks, London


Foroohar, R. (2014) Inside Starbucks’ Radical New Plan for Luxury Lattes. Time,  05/12/14.

Kell, J. (2016) Starbucks sales jump leads to confidence in high end coffee strategy. Fortune, 03/11/2016.

Note: Thanks to Dave Powell from Shoot Tokyo for permission to use some of his images from his visits to Neighborhood and Coffee stores in Tokyo.

Posted in Cafe Culture, Cafe types, coffee culture, community, Starbucks | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The language of coffee: latte art

I found out recently thanks to a tweet from Bex, author of the coffee blog Double Skinny Macchiato, that ‘Latte Art’ is one of the new entries to the Oxford English Dictionary:

“latte art: pictures of patterns made by skilfully pouring steamed milk onto the surface of a latte or similar coffee drink”

Cortado from Tamper Coffee, Sheffield

It’s a sign that something which was once seen by some as a novelty in the coffee industry, has become part of the mainstream. For many consumers visiting a coffee shop, the quality of the artistic milk foam production can be as important (and in some cases more important), than the taste of the drink. This is not always the case, and much to the frustration of many people I’ve spoken with in the cafe industry who are keen to stress the important of looking beyond the coffee foam topping. While latte art is a great way for baristas to make their products look great, good coffee is about far much more. But then in the time of Instagram and other social media forms where sharing images of your coffee has become so common, interesting latte art forms are a way for cafes to impress customers, and entice them into to try their products. As you’ll note from the definition and image above, latte art is often produced not just on lattes, but on any milk-based drinks!

Latte Art in Caffe D’Arte, Seattle

I first discovered latte art on a coffee crawl while in Seattle back in 2011. It was in Caffe D’arte in which I was shown how to carefully pour the milk to make the lovely leaf pattern which so many people now expect on their coffee. The barista also created a dragon too, but I forgot to take a photograph. He made it look so easy, but it is does require a lot of skill.  I have attempted in the past to create even the simplest of latte art forms, with very little success. The closest I came to a leaf shape was when I was doing the barista training course at Prufrock, but then I was being shown by a leading expert in the coffee industry. Latte art has become a big thing in the coffee industry – there are even world latte art championships and many coffee shops have their own latte art competitions, and many of the coffee training establishments have dedicated sessions on latte art (a quick google search brings a range of course options across the UK). I noticed 200 Degrees in Birmingham which is has its own barista school downstairs runs courses in latte art which I am tempted to have a go at some time to see if I can improve!

A latte art 'swan' in 200 Degrees Birmingham coffee

A latte art ‘swan’ in 200 Degrees Birmingham

At the recent London Coffee Festival I saw Shinsaku Fukayama, a world latte art champion in action. For more latte art creations, have a look at some of the Instagram feeds suggested by Sprudge.

Latte Art at the London Coffee Festival

I have diverted a little from the original point of this blog post which was to highlight how coffee terminology is continuing to gain a presence in the mainstream lexicon. Recently, Roast Magazine, also highlighted that cold brew has been added to

“Cold brew: 1. the process of steeping coffee grounds of tea leaves in room-temperature or cold water for many hours, producing a concentrate to which more water may be added 2. A cold coffee or tea drink made by this process”

V60 pour-over at home

And after a bit of reading around I found that pour-over had been added to the Oxford English Dictionary earlier this year.

“Pour-over: a method of brewing coffee by manually pouring boiling water through a filter filled with ground coffee beans”

In the same way that the latte being added to the consumer price index back in 2001 was a symbol that particular elements of coffee culture are becoming part of many people’s lives, the addition of coffee vocabulary into dictionaries acts as an indicator of the spread of these coffee forms and features. Given the continued growth of coffee culture (particularly here in the UK), I wonder how many other coffee-related terms are likely to appear over the coming years?

Posted in Cafe Culture, Cafe types, Coffee, coffee culture, Commentaries | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Co-working and the cafe: an animation

Back in March I wrote a blog post highlighting some of my key points from a presentation around co-working and the café. Recently I came across a platform, PowToon, which allows you to create animations from presentations. So I thought I’d transform the ideas about co-working and cafes into an animation. It was a relatively easy process to do and a bit of fun compared to preparing the usual powerpoints!




Posted in Cafe Culture, Cafe types, Economic Impact | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UK Coffee Week 2017 and Project Waterfall

My initial idea about researching the cafe industry was to focus on the economic and social impact of cafes on their local communities. While the local impact they have is definitely important there are ways in which cafes and the cafe industry is seeking to impact communities much further afield too through UK Coffee Week: ‘a nationwide celebration of coffee that also raises funds for coffee growing communities’.

UK coffee week

UK Coffee Week is a fundraising campaign that involves many coffee shops across the country in order to raise money for Project Waterfall, an initative that works towards improving clean water facilities for coffee growing communities. Since 2011 around £570,000 has been raised to help over 21,000 people. Cafes and related businesses across the country are taking part in different ways from donating a portion of the coffee price to Project waterfall, to holding competitions and workshops. To find out about businesses participating in your area, check this page on the website.

Through particpating in UK Coffee Week you can help have an impact and contribute to improving access to clean water for some of the communities that grow the coffee you enjoy.

UK coffee week

Posted in Cafe Culture, coffee culture, community | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Visualizing the London Coffee Festival through twitter

So after several caffeine fuelled days in Old Truman Brewery, the London Coffee Festival is over for this year. You can see some of the images from my visit this year over on my photography blog. For the days I couldn’t attend I’ve been using twitter to get updates on how the festival was going. A quick look at the festival related hashtags shows how clearly twitter is popular among the festival goers. I decided to do a quick analysis of twitter activity at the festival, just to see what the networks of people tweeting would look like. Using Netlytic I created this:

Visualizing London Coffee Festival

Posted in Festivals, Reports, UK | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Square Mile Challenge and sustainability at the London Coffee Festival

Square Mile Challenge London Coffee CupsThe #SquareMileChallenge is underway in the city of London. Led by the environmental charity Hubbub in partnership with the City of London Corporation, Network Rail and Simply Cups,  the scheme aims to recycle five million disposable coffee cups in an effort to reduce the amount of coffee cups that end up in landfill. It has been estimated that around 7 million coffee cups are thrown away each day and that less than 1 % of these are recycled. Over 100 retailers and 30 organisations are providing recycling facilities. If you’re in London look out for the bright yellow coffee cup shaped recycling bins, or the sticker in the window of retailers recycling cups.

Square Mile Challenge London Coffee Cups

An artistic display of coffee cups outside the Royal Exchange in London.

The issue of coffee cup sustainability had a strong presence at the London Coffee Festival this year too.

London Coffee Festival

There were multiple coffee cup recycling points located around the festival – given the amount of sample coffee cups used in the festival these are likely to be very well used facilities. In addition to companies such as LondonBioPackaging which had a variety of recycled, recyclable and compostable packaging on display, there were also a range of reusable coffee cups on offer too.

There was a good range of KeepCup cups on offer, not only on the KeepCup stand but branded ones on offer at various coffee roaster brands from Grumpy Mule Coffee to The Roasting Party.

Keep Cup London Coffee Festival

There was also a nice display from Ecoffee cup, reusble cups that were made from bamboo fibre, a nice alternative to the plastic and ceramic ones I’ve seen. While the efforts to recyle more disposable coffee cups will undoubtedly have an impact on the amount that end up in landfill, this means that a lot of energy and resources are having to be used to create, transport and recycle them.

Ecoffee Cup London Coffee Festival

In the long term, as I have argued before, increased use of reusable coffee cups is a more sustainable solution – and both KeepCup and Ecoffee Cup highlight this. In the promotional material from EcffeeCup there is a piece which invites retailers, cafes and coffee consumers to join the campaign to fight single use coffee cups – #stopthe100billion (the estimated number of disposable coffee cups that end up in landfill each year) – highlighting that small changes can have a big impact.

There was even jewellery on display made from recycled coffee designed by Rosalie McMillan.

Recycled coffee jewellery

Many coffee businesses talked to me about the importance of sustainability in the coffee industry – North Star Roasters, a coffee roaster from Leeds even had some of their packaging made from recycled coffee cup fibre.

north star roaster London Coffee Festival

GreenCup Roasters and Recyclers also sought to showcase how their business was had reduced environmental impact from their activities related to the circular economy, in recycling coffee grounds, creating soil nourisher, to looking for innovative ways to make the coffee industry more sustainable.

GreenCup Coffee Recyclers London Coffee Festival

Whether you’re going out for coffee today, or heading to the London Coffee Festival, consider getting a resuable cup, and if you’re wandering around London and are using a disposable cup, hang on to it until you can place it in one of the recycling points. As Ecoffee cup said – small changes can have a big impact.

Posted in Cafe Culture, Coffee, coffee culture, Commentaries, environment, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reading about coffee and coffee shops: magazines

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post which listed some of the websites and blogs I read to learn more about what’s going on in the coffee and coffee shop industry. In addition to the wealth of information there is online, I also try to read things magazines too, often in print form rather than online. After all, going to cafe and sitting reading for a while is still one of my favourite things to do – not that I get much time to do that at present, as unsurprisngly dealing with baby Ferreira takes all of my time. While quite a few of these are trade magazines, rather than those directed towards the consumer, anyone with an interest in coffee and the coffee shop industry can learn a lot from these magazines. I particularly like those that reveal some of the people behind the industry, and explore how coffee cultures are developing.

In no particular order, here are some of the magazines I read quite frequently:

Caffeine: a magazine dedicated to exploring specialty coffee. They have a great section each time exploring different coffee shops in different cities (mostly in the UK, but sometimes elsewhere in the world too).

Café Europa: a magazine of the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe.

Boughton’s Coffee House:  a trade magazine for those in all areas of the café industry. It’s great for keeping up to date with what’s happening in the news related to the industry, but also about current issues and trends.

Standart: (Standing for the art of coffee), ‘capturing the beauty of specialty coffee culture around the globe’.  In addition to their beautiful photography this magazine gets to the heart of so many issues in specialty coffee – I particularly liked ‘the sustainability of the barista career’ article from a recent issue.

Roast: another trade magazine, this time with a greater focus on the coffee (from production to roasting and consumption) rather than other aspects of the café industry.

Barista: a magazine designed for coffee professionals. They do a great job of showcasing some of the fantastic individuals that drive the coffee industry.

Fresh Cup: a US based publication, but with a global outlook, exploring the world of specialty coffee and tea.

Specialty Coffee Chronicle: magazine of the Specialty Coffee Assocaition for everything going on in specialty coffee. They have a really useful article on ‘What is specialty coffee?’ too.

Bean Scene: an Australian publication exploring the coffee industry globally.

Drift: a magazine which in each issue explores coffee culture in a different city, from New York to Melbourne.

Café Culture Magazine: a trade focused magazine targeting the café and coffee shop sector.

Coffee and Tea International: a Russian focused coffee and tea publication.

This might not seem like a huge list, but there really is a wealth of material here. Do you know of any other coffee/cafe related publications that I should be reading? I’m particularly interested to hear about publications outside of the the UK and the US – coffee is a global industry and I’m interested in finding out about the different coffee and coffee shop cultures that exist around the world. If you know of other magazines you think are interesting, please do get in touch (even if they are in different languages)!

Posted in Book Review, Cafe Culture, cafe europa, Coffee, coffee culture, Commentaries, General, reading, specialty tea | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coffee shop culture in Australia

‘In Australia, coffee isn’t fuel for work – it’s a way of life’. Milkman (2016).

While coffee may be a global commodity, and coffee shop cultures have emerged across the world, each country tends to have its own flavour of coffee shop culture, each with their own histories, influenced by the movement of people and commodities around the globe. A particularly interesting case is Australia, described as the world’s ‘coffee capital’ by Perfect Daily Grind, which has a well-established coffee shop culture where the independent coffee shop dominates the landscape.  It has been argued that Australian coffee culture has now achieved an important status representing “time out” warmth, intimacy and sophistication, with baristas representing cultural icons (Walters and Broom, 2013).

Developing an Australian Coffee Culture

The emergence of Australian coffee culture has its origins in the waves of migration from southern Europe back in the 1950s. After World War II, Italians and Greeks migrated to Melbourne in particular and with them they bought the taste for coffee, café culture, and sometimes even an espresso machine (Frost et al, 2010).

“An influx of Southern European migrants to Australia brought with them the love of coffee, and the social rituals that accompany it.” (Walters and Broom, 2013:190).

The espresso culture was adopted and transformed over time to the coffee culture that exists today, and the dominance of the family-owned independent coffee shop in Australia began at this time (Fickling, 2015). So, unlike many countries which have developed coffee cultures in tandem with the growth of global coffee shop chains, Australia owes its coffee culture to its global heritage. While espresso coffee culture established in the 1950s it was only in the 1980s when it began to expand rapidly.

“Café culture has thus become firmly entrenched in urban Australia, reflecting shifting (and at time polarized) cultural preferences and practices around space, community and the urban form” and spending time in coffee shops is now seen as a national phenomenon (Walters and Broom, 2013).

Baristas Skills

“It’s very hard to get bad coffee in Australia and, because of that, the bar’s been lifted,” (Jillian Adams, quoted in Fickling, 2015).

In many ways, the coffee consumed is only as good as the barista that serves it, and in Australia the role of the barista is recognised (as it is in many other countries too): “Australians expect their on-trade coffees to be made by specially-trained baristas, not just anyone pressing a button on the coffee machine” (Fickling, 2015). There is a nationally accredited academic qualification for serving espresso coffee, often part of hospitality qualifications, or commercial cookery. This is in addition to a whole host of barista training courses offered across the country, for example those from the Australian Barista School. With such importance placed on the barista role it’s not surprising that the 2015 World Barista Champion, Sasa Sestic, was from Canberra, Australia (Ona Coffee), with the first WBC from Australia being in 2003 Paul Basset (Michelman, 2015).

Flat white coffee

Dominance of the Independent Coffee Shop

The coffee shop industry in Australia unlike many other countries is not dominated by the large global coffee shop chains, but instead remains highly fragmented, with a high proportion of single store independent coffee shops – although some of the chains such as McCafé, Starbucks, and Gloria Jeans do have a presence.

While Starbucks has been successful in many countries across the globe, Australia proved quite a challenge. It opened its first stores in 2000 and within a few years had over 80 stores nationwide, however, it had to close a large number of these as they just weren’t as successful as was hoped. There are now just 23 Starbucks coffee shops across Australia. Starbucks failed to take hold of the Australian market because independent shops already had a well-established position offering the “intimacy, personalization, and familiarity of a suburban boutique café” (Patterson, Scott and Uncles, 200: 43). Like many other coffee shops, Starbucks introduced the ‘flat white’ a drink thought to have originated from Australia (although there is some debate over whether its origins are in Australia or New Zealand). Wherever its origins, it’s an indication of how the coffee culture from this region of the world has already become global.

Specialty Coffee

“Coffee drinking is, in fact, a diehard national habit with real estate sold on its proximity to cafe strips; local baristas, roasters and an increasing number of growers have world class qualifications.” Lonely Planet (2010)

For many people, Australia is synonymous with specialty coffee, and indeed, the specialty coffee industry has seen significant developments in the last ten years, with higher quality coffee available, more independent roasters emerging and travelling to country of origins, and consumers expecting more diversity in coffee taste. As with other markets for specialty coffee the issue of traceability in the global production chains has been brought to the fore, and is something many consumers are now interested in. What is it that coffee shops in Australia are doing so well? Apart from having well trained baristas and high quality coffee, many have developed a reputation for high quality food offerings, as well as a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. There are plenty of blog posts and webpages with tips about the best coffee shops to visit including the Top 10 Cafes for Coffee Lovers in Melbourne, from Culture Trip, a coffee shop tour of Brisbane from PerfectDailyGrind and even BuzzFeed have their own suggestions for the Australian coffee shops you need to visit. Australia is home to many independent coffee shops which are attached to roasteries too, from Ona Coffee in Canberra, to Single O in Sydney to Market Lane in Melbourne. While these roasters are well known to many in the Australian Coffee scene, there are a whole host of other roasters from those who produce enough to sell wholesale to other coffee shops, as well as micro-roasters producing enough beans to supply their own shop.

Some coffee shops even sell Australian coffee. The Australian coffee industry has been established for some time and is still very small on global terms, but with a growing reputation. Coffee farms can be found in northern Queensland and down to Coffs Harbour in New South Wales. While the climatic conditions in Australia may be different to many of the other regions around the world where coffee is grown, it has a key advantage that at present Australia doesn’t suffer from most serious coffee diseases (coffee berry borer, and coffee leaf rust) which means less pesticides are used and more natural production systems used (Clancy, 2017). With the rising importance of considering sustainability in the coffee industry, for some the appeal of using coffee beans with ‘less food miles’ is high (Pepperell, 2012).

“Australia has developed a A$4 billion  coffee-drinking market that devours more fresh beans per person than any other country. It’s also developed novel brews reproduced as far away as London and Seattle” (Fickling, 2015).

Australian coffee shop culture has reached beyond national borders, with its influences stretching across the globe. Beyond the flat white that has come to frequent so many coffee menus, Australian coffee culture is now being transferred to many other cities across the globe – in part due to baristas travelling and taking their ideas and skills with them, and partly due to growing awareness of Australian coffee shop culture. Bluestone Lane in New York City in the US, has a series of coffee shops that are modelled on the coffee culture of Melbourne, and has to compete with a range of other coffee shops which model themselves on the Australia coffee shop style with high quality coffee, food and often table service.  Clearly the Australian approach to coffee, coffee shops and coffee culture, is one which not only appeals to its national audience but one which intrigues those across the globe too.



Posted in Australia, Cafe Culture, Cafe types, Coffee, coffee culture, Coffee Growing, Commentaries, Specialty Coffee | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments