An American’s Guide to Ordering Coffee in Australia


There is no such thing as coffee in Australia. At least, not as Americans know it. There are lattes and cappuccinos and mochas and a plethora of other espresso-based drinks, but there is no plain old coffee. There are no pots full of pre-made coffee waiting on warmers in gas stations and diners – no two dollar endless cups of coffee with breakfast. Australians demand far more of the humble Arabica bean. So before you travel to the land down under, here is a quick guide to ordering your favorite hot beverage.

Short Black

Short black coffee is espresso, plain and simple. Order a short black coffee, and you will receive a coffee cup full of rich, bitter espresso.  Don’t expect to be able to add cream to it; that is another drink order entirely.

Long Black

If you find yourself longing for an American style cup of black coffee then this is your best bet. It is essentially an Americana, meaning that it is espresso with hot water added to it to thin it out.

Flat White

This will be your drink of choice if you take your coffee with cream. A flat white is espresso with steamed milk in it. I know that sounds like a latte. It basically is, except that there should be no foam in a flat white. A latte has a little bit of foam on the top. 


Okay, this isn’t coffee, but I felt that it is worth mentioning that milkshakes are also different in Australia. A milkshake here is just milk shaken with flavor. There is no ice cream involved. If you are craving the classic American dessert then you will need to order a thick shake.

Now you can walk into any coffee shop in Australia and order with confidence. And I’ll admit it, the coffee is delicious. Sometimes, though, I miss the cheap, easy coffee of the US of A.






7 thoughts on “An American’s Guide to Ordering Coffee in Australia

    • Are you visiting from Australia? You should be fine in coffee shops. And on the upside you’ll never run into the terrible dissolvable stuff I’m suffering through right now at a hostel in Cairns. 😉 Have fun in NY!


      • I’ve been to New York twice and found the coffee undrinkable! I found a place run my melbounites in NYC so I will give that a go 😂 your first problem was going to Queensland over NSW 🙊 haha, but no seriously the last time I was in Cairns I survived on organic bean coffee which I found okay 🙂 would never drink that stuff though!!


  1. Love this post! The coffee experience is very similar to South Africa. But now being back home in Texas, I miss proper coffee SO much! We even bought a fancy cappuccino, etc. maker (Delonghi) that’s in our house in SA- and if we could have brought it back with us here we would have!
    Yes- the ‘dissolvable stuff’ does take some getting used to, but hopefully in Australia you don’t have that popular home coffee making option coupled with long-life milk- that is really popular at homes in SA. Yucky! That took me years to get used to.


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