Long Black, Flat White

Twelve days of officially living in Sydney, Australia, have passed and I finally feel as though I am getting the hang of this place. I have a week of work under my belt and can now successfully commute to work via either the bus or the train. I also managed to find an apartment!

So what exactly have I been up to the past week? Well, I walked the famous Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, explored the weekend markets in the Rocks, and went to Manly Beach twice. I also moved into my new apartment and started to explore the area around my new home. All in all, it has been a good, but very busy first two weeks.

Now that the little Hannah’s life recap is over I can get to the real topic of this blog—coffee.

When most Americans hear the word ‘coffee’ they envision a giant Starbucks or Colectivo logo or another big franchise name. That is far from the case here in Australia.

Walking down the street you do not see one coffee chain dominating the market, but rather a multitude of smaller shops each with their own unique brand. On my 10 minute walk to the train station I pass seven different stores alone. In fact, at my internship I learned that Starbucks actually went bankrupt and closed a whopping 61 of its 84 stores back in 2008. I’ve attached an article about it here.

Besides the individuality of the coffee shops, another major difference is the coffee itself. Whereas in the United States, Starbucks coffee drinks come in Tall (12 fl. oz.), Grande (16 fl. oz.), and Venti (20 fl. oz.), they only come in two sizes in Australia: Regular (8 fl. oz.) and Large (10 fl. oz.). In some cases the Large may be 12 fl. oz., but never more than that. They also have gotten rid of all of the frills of coffee such as sugary add-ins, specialty flavors and even types of milk. The options are simple: you either get a long black, or a flat white. (Technically there are nine major types of coffee drinks you can get in Australia, but I prefer to simplify it a bit).

A long black is essentially an Americano espresso with hot water. A flat white is espresso with steamed milk. There are no big pots of coffee brewed, instead, they are all single made espresso shots which explains why after one small cup my head is already buzzing. The menus are simple and often done up in chalk. Simple, easy and quite frankly, extremely delicious.

In comparison to the rest of food and drink in Australia, their coffee is pretty reasonably priced. Around three dollars for the Regular and four dollars for the Large which is great news for me. Knowing I can get a cup on my way to work is one of the only good thing about waking up at 5:45 a.m. every weekday.