For those in the world who don’t drink coffee – apparently, they are out there?! – it can be quite confusing to see the obsession and coffee-centered culture that has emerged in Australia over the last 20 years. The reputation of this coffee culture has taken flight and traveled around the world. While taking shelter from the rain on a walking tour of Berlin, this writer was informed by the Irish guide; “Australians, please just order hot chocolate. No-one wants to hear you complaining about the coffee”. If you count yourself as a non-coffee drinker, but are interested in giving it a go, this blog will give you some base information about where to look, some good introductory coffees, and how to avoid a bad experience that will turn you off even further. Not sure what all the fuss is about but see yourself needing ‘Coffee for beginners’? Keep reading!

Woman serving coffee in a cafeteria.

Why the hype

Brought to Australia by Italians in the late 1940’s, coffee uptake was a slow burn as it was still quite expensive, around 10 times the price of tea. In the late 70’s and 80’s, bohemian cafes or espresso bars started to emerge. By the early 2000’s, the desire for the perfect cup made the café scene quite competitive, driving the trends like ‘single origin’ and ‘organic’ – “This place uses only single-origin beans, that mob has cups made by a local ceramicist, the place over the road has its own cow — you know the drill.”  Our high standard of living and casual, laid back culture has resulted in cafés and coffee being part of our everyday lives – especially here in dreamy Port Macquarie. In 2020, Australian style coffee is taking over the world, becoming popular in major cities like New York, Paris, London, Berlin, San Francisco, just to name a few.

Cropped shot of a young man talking on a cellphone while on a roadtrip

What to try

If, like this writer’s family, you grew up drinking tea, you may be a little reluctant to try coffee – especially if you’ve had a bad experience. There are plenty of beginner friendly options in the world of coffee that you can wet your figurative whistle with, these are our favourites –

  1. Latte – deliciously foamy and milky, a latte is the perfect beginners drink. You can ask for half strength if you are particularly worried, but as long as the roast isn’t too dark, and the barista is amazing, a well made latte will definitely allow you to make an informed decision on whether you enjoy coffee! Try not to add sugar to get the true flavour – but it’s always an option if you need it.
  2. Mocha or flavoured coffee – adding chocolate, caramel, hazelnut or vanilla is a fairly standard option at most cafes. You can even get specialist syrups like Turkish delight – yum! If you have a sweet tooth, these flavours can turn your coffee into a wonderful treat and make you feel like you’re drinking dessert!

If you like coffee flavoured desserts or even the smell, we encourage you to give it a go! Just steer clear of a short black, at least for the time being…

Aerial view of various coffee

Where to go

After telling you how prevalent the café scene is in Australia, we totally understand that choosing a café can be very overwhelming.. Especially in Port Macquarie! If there’s a café, restaurant or club you are comfortable with, our suggestion is to start there! When you’re trying something new, it can be particularly handy if you know and trust the people serving you. Talk to the barista and explain what you like and what you don’t – let them use their expertise! At Hastings Coffee Co., Jacque and her team are all about making your experience of our coffee as memorable as possible – they are passionate about providing you a simply great cup, every time. Chat to them next time you’re at The Westport Club!

If you’re feeling a little bit brave and adventurous, you can try the app ‘Beanhunter’. Based on the reviews of others, the app rates coffee shops around your location – so you can find good coffee anywhere, even if you’re travelling in an area you don’t know. The other option is to go ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ style, and phone a friend! Everyone has a coffee-obsessed friend or relative who would love to share their enthusiasm.

Benefits of drinking coffee

Contrary to the generally accepted rule that coffee is generally a naughty habit, there are many benefits of drinking coffee daily! Along with increasing your energy levels, coffee can also make you smarter, by promoting increased brain function, helping with your memory, mood, vigilance, energy levels and reaction times. The caffeine in coffee can help you burn fat, and a single cup of coffee contains the following essential nutrients;

  • Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 11% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).
  • Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5): 6% of the RDI.
  • Manganese and potassium: 3% of the RDI.
  • Magnesium and niacin (vitamin B3): 2% of the RDI.

Coffee is also suggested to help prevent type two Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, depression, Parkinson’s and Dementia. Do yourself a favour and get on board the coffee train!

Basically, coffee culture isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Australia has set the world standard for the most delicious, ethical and well-made coffee, so if you’re just starting out, thank your lucky stars you’re getting to do it in this beautiful part of the world! We look forward to playing a part in your coffee journey next time you visit Hastings Coffee Co., Aqua or Jimmy’s Bar and Lounge – because an Espresso Martini is definitely part of a well rounded coffee experience!