How to order coffee in Melbourne like a Melbournian

8 Things They Never Tell You About An Australian Working Holiday In Melbourne

Melbourne coffee guide: Melbourne’s Cafe Menu’s explained

I was told that the best coffee I would ever have would be in Australia- and the best city to find it in was Melbourne. Now after being in the Australian city for a few weeks, I can vouch that it is true: Melburnians have a bit of a love affair with coffee. They love it so much in fact, that the city free walking tour even included a trip to a cafe for Flat Whites.

Melbourne snobby love of a good cuppa is infamous, and Melbourne barista’s are actually sought after by cafes around the world. Melbourne is after all, the city that defied Starbucks, favouring independent cafes and brunch spots. Supposedly there’s not a bad cup of coffee to be found in the city and so far I’d have to agree with that.

Considering that Australia is the birthplace of the Flat White and responsible for the well established latte art culture that we are all used to worldwide, I feel that I have to take what Melbourne’s coffee menus say as bible. However when I got here, the thing that surprised me most was just how big of a difference there is between the typical Australian versions of coffees and the ones I am used to in England.

After working in a cafe here in Melbourne along with working my way through a lot of caffeine filled beverages in the city, I feel that I know a fair bit about Melbourne coffee culture. So, I thought that I would make this guide on the Australian coffee menu for all of the other confused coffee loving travellers out there- now you can order your morning pick me up without feeling like an outsider.

Melbourne journal cafe
Journal Canteen

Here’s how to order coffee in Melbourne

Flat White

The Flat White in Melbourne is like the tea to England so it’s always a safe bet if you don’t know what to order. In Melbourne, a Flat White is a little like a latte. It really comes down to the thickness of the froth- a true Flat White should consist of espresso with hot steamed milk and only a thin layer of micro foam. It is also usually served in a cup, not a glass like a latte. Unlike in the UK, a flat white in Melbourne isn’t necessarily a stronger drink and usually just comes with just a single shot unless specified that it’s wanted ‘strong’.

Latte

Latte’s in Australia aren’t the soup bowl sized milky beverages that we are used to at home. A regular latte in Melbourne is fairly small in size, with a thin layer of froth that comes served in a tall glass.

Cappuccino

Cappuccino’s seem to be the same all over the world. In Melbourne cappuccino’s consist of one shot of coffee, foamy milk and chocolate powder, usually sprinkled on top of the espresso shot before the milk is added, for aesthetics.

Long Black

Americano lovers, this one is for you. Ask for an Americano in Australia and you’ll stick out like a sore thumb. Consisting of just coffee and water, the long black is your milk free coffee drink of choice. The main difference between the latter and an Americano is that the espresso is poured on top of the hot water, rather than first, as not to scorch the coffee, and it’s usually diluted with less water. It’s still acceptable to order milk at the side. Sorry to disappoint those visiting from the states, but filter coffee isn’t really a thing here.

Short Black

That’s an espresso to us Europeans.

Short or Long Mac

Simply a single or double Macchiato. A small amount of foamy milk is spooned on top of an espresso, usually served in a glass cup.

Piccolo

No, I’m not talking about the drinking game. A piccolo or Cortado, as it known in Europe, comes down to the size of the glass. To make it, latte consistency milk is poured over an espresso served in a tiny glass- it’s just like a latte in minute form.

Iced Coffee

Don’t assume that an iced coffee is a sensible option when you’re looking for a cooling beverage: In Australia, an iced coffee usually comes served with ice cream. Generally the espresso shot is poured in a glass with a scoop of ice cream and then topped with cold milk. If you want it without the calories then it’s usually best to specify that you’d like a ‘iced latte’ or a ‘iced long black’

Bullet Coffee

Bullet Coffee is something that I expected to see more of on the menu in Oz but it’s not actually that common. What makes a bullet coffee unique is that it is made with butter. Sounds odd? Well actually once melted, the butter turns the coffee the same colour as milk would and the fat from the butter is supposed to keep you fuller of longer and give you tons of energy, hence the ‘bullet’ part.

Melbourne Tulip coffee
Tulip Coffee

Other drinks

Chai Latte

The humble chai latte is also a big thing in Melbourne. One of the more popular coffee alternatives, chai tea powder is mixed to a paste, topped with hot milk and finished with warming cinnamon powder.

Hot chocolate

Hot chocolate in Melbourne is all about the athletics; expect beautiful latte art on top of your cocoa.

Turmeric latte

Turmeric Lattes are something that have become quite popular in the UK too. To make them, a small amount of turmeric powder and usually something to sweeten it with, are mixed to a paste with water and then topped off with hot milk. The vivid yellow colour of this drink makes it appealing and it’s caffeine free meaning that it’s a good choice for the afternoon.

Matcha Latte

Matcha Latte’s aren’t just popular in Melbourne’s Chinatown; you can usually order these green coloured drinks in the city’s more trendy cafes. Green tea matcha powder is mixed to a paste and topped off with hot steamed milk. The matcha powder is supposed to be high in antioxidants and has a smooth, strong taste.

As usual, I hope that you guys enjoyed this post and found it useful. Does anything in this post surprise you or more importantly, do you disagree with anything that I’ve said? Let me know in the comments below. Similarly, if anyone has any cafe recommendations for Melbourne then I would love to hear about these too.

You can read more about my travels in Australia here, or take a trip around the globe with me through my worldwide cafe reviews here. 

Journal Canteen Melbourne CBD Review

FeaturedMelbourne journal cafe

journal canteen melbourneBest for: Early mornings, solo coffee lovers, weekday brunch, sitting in, work friendly space 

I can’t believe that I’ve been in Melbourne for almost six weeks collectively and I’ve not done a cafe feature yet- believe me it’s not for lack of coffee drinking. Melbourne is an Australian city that’s famed for its coffee: supposedly there’s not a bad cup of coffee to be had here and so far I have to agree with that. As someone who has a severe caffeine addiction, I feel right at home in Melbourne and the irony is that I’ll look for food in the reduced section of the supermarket but will always splash out for a coffee or two.

Since arriving in Melbourne, having got myself a job and being busy with christmas and New Year, indulgent coffee dates with myself and lazy mornings have been a rarity. However today I had the day off work and made it my mission to wake up early and accomplish everything I wanted to- and that primarily included going somewhere nice for morning coffee.

Journal Canteen

Today I went to Journal Cafe which is located right in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the city in one of my favourite roads,  Flinders Lane. I though this cafe would be a good one to do a bit of a feature on as it’s about as Melbournian a cafe as you can get.

journal canteen melbourne

The Decor

Journal canteen is not quite a cafe, not quite a restaurant, a description that is apt for a lot of Melbourne’s coffee shops. However unlike a lot of the eating and drinking establishments in the city centre, Journal has lots of room to sit in. It’s open plan decor means that it’s spacious, bright and best of all it’s not imposing if you’re just wanting to have a coffee by yourself.

The Menu and prices

Whether you’re just after a quick coffee, a cooked breakfast or a sit down meal, Journal’s simple but accommodating menu has something to offer for everyone. The cafe offers all of the usual options for breakfast and then a small selection of pasta dishes and roasts for lunch and dinner. The staff were really welcoming and the service was so efficient. Prices in the cafe are average for Melbourne, around $16 for mains and $5  for a coffee.

melbourne journal canteen

I didn’t have anything that fancy this morning apart from a coffee and a croissant: obligatory despite having just had breakfast. The coffee was excellent and the croissant was warm and flaky. They have a handful of newspapers on the counter ready to read. All in all it’s a nice place to start the day off in the city.

Journal Canteen, 254 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC, 3000

Attendant cafe review, Shoreditch, London

Best for: Brunch, lunch, coffee with friends, takeaway

As much as I love Brighton, sometimes I do feel like I’ve exhausted all the coffee shops. Luckily for me London is just an hour away. However the issue is with London is that everything takes that little bit more planning and it’s not often I just happen to walk past good independent coffee shops in the city centre so a day trip means that some prior research is always involved.

After looking online I decided to head to Shoreditch, East central London, which is apparently where all the cool people hang out. I’ve been to Shoreditch before but I feel like I’ve never really understood it. Sure,  I’ve found a few vintage shops, some street graffiti and a couple of coffee shops but nothing like the hipster haven that it’s hailed to be online. Anyway this time I decided to do a bit more research and try to get to grips with the area.

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The Decor

I decided to head to Attendant,  a cafe that I’d read about online, hailed for its Australian style brunches and good coffee. The cafe was easy enough to find and I immediately fell in love with its arty and contemporary decor and chilled vibe. Undoubtedly it’s mainly a brunch with friends kind of place because the main seating area is dominated by large tables although it has nice window seats at the front that are good for solo coffee lovers too.

The fact that you get seated in this cafe and pay at the end kind of put me on edge as it felt a little formal. Still the decor is fantastic. Clean, not grungy with lots of hanging plants and loads of space to relax.

The Menu and Prices

As I’m off travelling in Australia in a couple of weeks I thought I should save some money so I just went for a flat white. It was good and punchy and everything a flat white should be. At around £3 a coffee it’s pretty average for london prices and they bring over a bottle of cucumber water which is an added bonus.  There’s a lot to choose from on the menu with all of the typical brunch dishes on offer like waffles, breakfast bowls and things on toast. If I wasn’t so stingy I would have probably gone for the house waffle with apricot compote, lemon mascarpone and meringue. Most dishes cost a reasonable £8.

After pretending to be productive on my laptop and taking up one of the window seats for a lot longer than I should have, I set off exploring Shoreditch. I randomly bumped into one of my best friends and ended up making dinner plans,  scouted out a whole load of cool graffiti, admired some very cool vintage shops but couldn’t find anything that I’d actually wear and ended up at Spitalfields market which was a quirky mismatch of fruit and veg stalls, fancy restaurants, more vintage stalls and a dancing flash mob: Ok Shoreditch, I totally get you now.

Odette review, Paris, France

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Odette Paris reviewOdette Paris review

It would be a struggle to find a cafe as Parisian as Odette. With its colourful exterior, cute little tables and outdoor plants, Odette is as picturesque a cafe that you could ask for. With a selection of coffees and pastries, what Odette is really known for as its delicately decadent cream puffs, the perfect accompaniment to a cafe au lait.

The Location

This little cafe is located centrally in Paris a few minutes walk from the Notre Dame and the infamous Shakespeare and Company bookshop. It’s address is 77 Rue Galande, 75005, Paris. Be sure to bag a table outside if you can.

The Decor

Odette’s decor is unapologetically girly. Everything from the tiny chairs and tables to its gorgeous little cream puffs, are delicate and beautiful. The patisserie has what has to be one of the prettiest cafe exteriors in Paris. It was the first place that I stopped off at when I arrived in the city in the early morning and I felt like I’d talked right on to a Parisian film set. It’s pretty cosy inside with the best seats being out the front where you can catch a glimpse of the Notre Dame.

The Menu

Odette doesn’t do a lot, food and drink wise, but what it does, it does well. It’s cream puffs or ‘choux a la creme’ are somewhat legendary in the city and they looked so gorgeous with their colourful sugar paste flowers on top that it was a nightmare choosing between them. Unlike a lot of patisserie options, Odettes cream puffs are a ‘two-bite gone’ size meaning that it’s totally acceptable to try a few of them.  These gorgeous pastries consist of a light fluffy choux bun exterior which harbours a variety of gooey cream fillings with  tempting flavours like coffee, caramel, lemon and pistachio. My favourite has to be the praline one. The only negative is that Odette doesn’t have an extensive coffee menu.

The Prices

Odettes prices aren’t cheap but they’re not outrageous and I didn’t resent paying a little more to sit in somewhere as beautiful as it is. I paid around £6 for a coffee and a cream puff.

Nola Cafe Review, Hanoi, Vietnam

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Anyone that knows me will be aware that I am a huge coffee addict. I love going to cafes and taking the time to meet a friend or spend an hour by myself enjoying a coffee and slowing down. Having a coffee feels indulgent but not excessive, it adds structure to an empty day or reflection in a busy one, it picks you up, it calms you down, it’s a chance to be social or to get lost in your own thoughts and wherever you are in the world, no matter how different the place is, a coffee shop is a coffee shop and that’s a comforting thought.

I’m writing up a list of reviews on my favourite coffee shops that I’ve been to around the world for a new section on my blog so here’s the first one: a review of quirky Vietnamese Nola Cafe in Hanoi. Hope you guys enjoy reading about these cafes as much as I did visiting them.

Nola Cafe Hanoi

Nola Cafe Hanoi

Nola Cafe, Hanoi

I didn’t realise how big of a thing coffee was in Vietnam before I went but this South East Asian country is the ultimate destination for coffee lovers with no end of intriguing and alternative coffees and an endless choice of quirky cafes to drink them in.

In a city as wonderfully chaotic as Hanoi, coffee shops are the one place you can go to escape from the madness and I don’t think I found another place on my trip that was as serene and tranquil as Cafe Nola. Hiding in plain sight with an entrance through a narrow alleyway in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter,  I would have easily missed Cafe Nola if I hadn’t been looking for it.

The Location

Nola Cafe is located at 89 Pho Ma May, Hang Buom near the Hoan Kiem lake. It’s probably best to plug the address in Google Maps as it’s tricky to find.

I’d read about this cafe in my Lonely Planet guidebook that I’d been religiously carting round the country with me so I assumed that the cafe would be full of guidebook loving travellers but I was the only person there.

The Decor

If like me, you’re partial to posting a few Instagram’s then the arty decor of this cafe will win you over. Undoubtedly, getting up to the actual seating area of the cafe was a bit of a workout as I had to climb a steep, narrow flight of stairs to get there but once I did it opened up into a beautiful, wild overgrown garden and outdoor seating area covered with multi coloured patterned umbrellas, little lanterns and dotted with mismatched furniture.

Despite it’s location in the centre of the city, all of the noises integral to the city like beeping motorbike horns were silenced and all I could hear were the sounds of birds chirping.  As someone on their first solo backpacking trip, this little sanctuary was just the mental escape that I needed for an hour or two from the fast paced city.

The Menu

Cafe Nola offers food as well as drinks on its menu however it caters for tourists and food prices are higher than you’d pay in most restaurants and the food is less authentic so I’d recommend coming here just for coffee. Its drink selection is very westernised serving all the usual coffees that I’d have at home like a Flat White, Long black and cappuccino’s as well as smoothies and cocktails. I went for a black coffee and an iced sweet jasmine tea.

I preferred traditional Vietnamese coffees: they’re much more interesting, (you can read more about them on my coffee guide) but this cafe is more about the aesthetics (Let’s be honest, a cafe tucked up and alleyway with colourful umbrellas as a ceiling is always going to be aimed at photo seeking travellers, right?)

The Prices

Prices are high by Vietnamese standards but low in comparison to the UK with coffees averaging £2 and food around £3-£4 a dish.