Before my recent trip to the good old land of Oz, I hadn’t stepped on my home soil for five long years. Five YEARS?! I never thought I’d ever be away from Australia for that long! But one thing leads to another and you end up meeting your husband and making a new life for yourself in a faraway place.
In those five years away I have certainly had time to reflect on the things that I love about the country that I still refer to as home. It is a land of extreme diversity, beauty, and hardships. It is home to friendly, laid back people who aren’t afraid to laugh at themselves or to have a chat. The outdoor lifestyle offers opportunities to really spend time outside. And, of course, the food, wine, and coffee are exceptional.
I have long droned on to anyone that will listen (well…mostly just B) about how great the food and coffee are in Australia but I must admit that even I was beginning to wonder if I just had on a big pair of rose-coloured glasses. After five years away perhaps it was just wishful thinking that my home country, more than 12,000 kilometers away, was brimming with mouth-watering international cuisine and coffee so good that I could cry. Well, after my recent trip, it seems as though I wasn’t out of touch at all. A foodie Eden truly does await Down Under.
Touching down in Sydney, we dumped our bags at the hotel and immediately headed to The Rocks, a well-known part of Sydney, and went straight for a coffee at the nearest café we could find. In an outdoor courtyard, surrounded by plants and bathed in sunlight, we ordered our first flat white of the trip.
For those unfamiliar with a flat white it is an espresso based coffee that is basically a cappuccino/café latte hybrid. However, the foam is not a dry foam (like a cappuccino) but rather a silky foam that is poured from microfoam. Even though this particular café seemed to be nothing special, we were served a coffee almost better than anything we have been served in Vancouver. And this was only the start…
If you have ever had the fortune of travelling to Melbourne you will understand exactly what I mean when I say that coffee is serious business in Melbourne (as is food, but that is an entirely different post). The result of the high density of European immigrants in Melbourne is that there is almost a coffee shop on every corner. And I’m not referring to Starbucks (Starbucks actually closed almost all of their locations in Australia due to poor sales). I am referring to genuine cafés that are manned with trained baristas who actually care about the quality of coffee that they are serving. I am talking about little cafés that make coffee such a highlight that their menu is limited and yet, people still flock. This is a city that takes its café scene seriously.
Whilst in Melbourne I was like a junkie who could not get enough of my much-needed vice. Espresso machine choirs sung out to me from cute coffee shops that were located in even cuter laneways and I found myself visiting one after the other (after the other). And each and every time we were presented with a superior, high-quality coffee that made my veins perk up. A friend of mine from Melbourne told me that most Melburnians have a favourite coffee shop that they will repeatedly return to loyally, hence why there can be so many. Like I said, it is a serious business. I don’t even have to recommend a particular coffee shop in Melbourne – honestly, they were all fantastic.
Australia (Melbourne in particular) reminded me that it is acceptable to be a coffee snob. I don’t want to drink bad coffee, heck, I don’t even want to drink mediocre coffee! What’s that saying? Life is too short to drink bad coffee. Well, I agree. I have been spoilt and I think it’s high time that Vancouver stepped up its game. Surely as a world-class city we can do better for coffee than what we currently have on offer.
For more great reading on the coffee scene in Melbourne, check out this article.