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Hip and stylish Melbourne is a trendsetter, not just in Australia but around the world. The city’s cultural cachet extends from fashion, to design – with a multitude of colourful, eye-popping murals adorning its alleys – to fine dining. And then there’s the coffee. Yes, even coffee culture in Melbourne is a high art, with locals and visitors alike enjoying some of the best blends in the world.
There are plenty of chic cafés all over the city where travellers can while away the hours with their new favourite brew. Top picks include Market Lane Coffee, Sensory Lab (where the ‘Steadfast Espresso Blend’ includes notes of jam and milk chocolate), Top Paddock and Higher Ground.
Melburnians love their coffee and visitors do too – but what to make of all the coffee culture terminology?
Some of the most popular orders are well-known, like the latte (made with espresso and lots of steamed milk), the cappuccino (stronger than a latte), a short black (with an espresso shot) and a long black (with a double-shot of espresso). And a Melbourne flat white has become a globally recognized coffee order.
But what about the other types of order? In the evolving coffee scene that is Melbourne, it can be confusing for visitors and locals alike to keep up with the latest coffee trends and terms. Clients can approach the cafe with confidence by brushing up on these popular orders …
Cortado – Similar to a latte, but less foamy, and less quantity, usually served in a small glass. It consists of espresso mixed with a roughly equal amount of warm milk.
Macchiato – Sometimes called espresso macchiato, is an espresso coffee drink with a small amount of milk, usually foamed.
Ristretto – Traditionally a short shot of espresso coffee made with the normal amount of ground coffee but extracted with about half the amount of water in the same amount of time by using a finer grind. This produces a more concentrated shot of coffee per volume.
Piccolo – Somewhere between a cafe latte, macchiato and cortado, the piccolo is a single espresso shot topped up with milk in a 90ml glass. Bascially, more coffee, less milk. A piccolo can be found at Piccolo Me and Piccolo Espresso and Wine Bar.
A Magic – A piccolo latte made with double Ristretto. Both the Piccolo and the Magic arguably originated in Melbourne and most baristas worth their weight in coffee beans will happily serve one up. Magic coffee can be found in Magic, St Ali in the south and Auction Rooms in the north.
Bulletproof Coffee (or butter coffee) – One for the paleos. Coffee, with butter, and claimed to have health benefits including increased energy and focus. It will most likely be found in cafés specializing in health food. In Melbourne this includes Fitzroy’s FitIn, Flinders Lane’s Seedling and Patch café in Richmond.
With a café culture like Melbourne’s – cafés can come and go with regularity, but there are some that stand the test of time.
And the good news is, in Melbourne, it’s harder to find a bad coffee than a good coffee.
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