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Barista Basics - Articles

Coffee The Australian Way, Tea and Coffee Asia, fourth quarter 2005

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Appearing in Tea & Coffee Asia 4th quarter, 2005





It may be a long way from anywhere but Australia boasts one of the world’s most vibrant coffee cultures. The specialty coffee industry has grown not from coffee chains but through top quality independent cafés born out of the early Greek and Italian immigrants, write Matthew Gee and David Gee. Current drinking trends are also analysed to give a snapshot of coffee in Australia today.

The Greek and Italian Influence



From the 1930’s to 1960’s Greek cafés dominated the Sydney and Melbourne street landscape. They became a focal point for eating, drinking and perhaps more importantly – socialising. Freshly roasted coffee was probably introduced into Australia by three Andronicus brothers who had packed up and left their home in Greece in the late 1800s to build a new life in Australia. Drawing on their wealth of European coffee-making experience the trio established one of Australia's first coffee roasting businesses in 1910, roasting 90kg of coffee every day from a store in George St, Sydney. In 1952 the family imported into the country Australia’s first espresso machine and suddenly Australians started enjoying espresso in the true European tradition. Hundreds of people would stream into their café at lunchtime and drink espressos. Cappuccinos were rare. Caffe lattes and flat whites were non existent. Now three generations on, Grant Andronicus is still heavily involved in the coffee scene in Australia, owning several espresso bars in Sydney.

At this time, a plethora of fine Italian coffee houses was emerging in Melbourne. Pelligrini’s Espresso Bar and Legend Café often lay claim to being Melbourne’s first ‘real’ espresso bars opening their doors in 1954 and 1956 respectively. The first espresso machine in Melbourne dates back to 1954 to Don Camillo Restaurant. It was this year also that three young Italian immigrants by the names of Monaci, Coperchini and Panettieri formed the company Mocopan to deal in smallgoods, spices and coffee. A few years later their company was transformed by the Dimattina family. They began to roast imported beans locally – thus carving out a huge competitive advantage over companies that imported roasted beans. The Dimattina family continue to be a huge name in coffee in Melbourne and beyond.

And so espresso was born in these traditional mosaic-exteriored cafes with stone floors and marble bars. Today there are over 16,000 restaurants and cafés employing over 190,000 people operating throughout Australia. It’s true to say that most are no longer designed in that European stand-up bar configuration but with comfortable yet functional seating and alfresco seating wherever possible.

These days they are owned and operated by Australians from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Chinese Australians make up a large proportion of new café owners in Australia.



The three largest coffee chains in Australia are Gloria Jeans Coffees, Starbucks Coffee and Hudson’s Coffee.

Starbucks Coffee began in Australia in 2000 but because all stores are company-owned, growth has been slow compared to Gloria Jeans Coffees which is franchised. Gloria Jeans now has over 300 stores and have representation in every state and territory in Australia compared to Starbucks’ 50 stores.

Gloria Jeans has become so successful in Australia that the Australian operation has rp>

Coffee Chains in Australia


                    Coffee The Australian W


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Coffee The Australian Way, Tea and Coffee Asia, fourth quarter 2005
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The Starters Guide To Coffee, Bean Scene, Issue 9, 2005
Cutting Edge Espresso - Bean Scene Magazine, Issue 8, 2005
Postcards from Seattle - Bean Scene Magazine, Issue 8, 2005
Making Great Coffee At Home - Loreal's Club Matrix Magazine, Issue 2, 2004
Buying a Home Espresso Machine - Loreal's Club Matrix Magazine, Issue 3, 2005
Australians v Italians: Who Makes Better Coffee? - Bean Scene Magazine, Issue 6, 2004
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Coffee Indulgence - Loreals' Club Matrix Magazine, Issue 4, 2005
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Coffee Myths, Dispelled!, Bean Scene, Issue 4, 2004
Coffee Art - Eatdrink Magazine, June 2004
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