“Flat white” and “long black:” Aussie cafe culture has its own language

Like surfing, Australia has a strong coffee culture.

It also has its own coffee language.

When I saw “flat white” and “long black” on a cafe menu during a recent visit to Australia, I had to ask for a description. After reading this post, you won’t have to do that.

Australia’s large Italian, Greek and other immigrant populations have influenced its coffee culture. So, Australian coffee tends to be good and strong — just the way I like it.

The country’s cafes often have full menus that serve good food. Some are small and intimate; others are large and lofty. They’re popular meeting places — even at night.

Australia coffee
Cafes pop up everywhere — such as this one at Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne. (Photo by Sheryl Jean)

This is not a post of best cafes because there are too many. Independent cafes (or small coffee chains) grace nearly every corner of big cities, such as Melbourne and Sydney, and small towns. Many local cafes also roast and distribute their own coffee. Just explore.

So mate, here’s a glossary to order coffee in Australia.

Espresso or short black: This is a shot of strong Italian coffee called espresso.

Doppio: This is a double shot of espresso.

Long black: This is a double espresso with hot water. It’s called an Americano in the United States.

Macchiato: A shot of espresso is served with a small amount of frothed milk. It’s small and strong, like an espresso.

Latte: This is a shot of espresso mixed with foamy hot milk. It’s usually the milkiest option.

Flat white: This might be the most Australian coffee drink. One shot of espresso is mixed with steamed hot milk. A barista in Melbourne described it to me as a latte without the foam.

Cappuccino: In an Australian Cappuccino, the espresso is dusted with unsweetened cocoa powder before frothy steamed milk is added. It’s a milkier version of Cappuccino.

Mocha: A latte with chocolate.

Market Lane Coffee in Melbourne, always has a line. (Photo by Sheryl Jean)


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