The holy place of coffee culture in Australia.  

The place that is mentioned in any Australia tiktok video where someone is complaining about coffee or coffee snobs. 

The city where the baristas probably cry themselves to sleep every night because the coffee orders just get too excessive.  

The metropolis that is the ENTIRE reason I felt the need to write this blog post. 

Australian coffee culture is a HUUUGE thing, specifically in the arts & culture city that is Melbourne.  

I have discovered a lot about how to avoid the confusion of ordering a coffee while working as a barista near the beautiful city of Melbourne, SO in order to keep your barista’s sanity in tact, lets get straight into it.

THIS is how to order coffee in Australia like a professional

We will start off with the GOLDEN RULE of ordering a coffee

Do not order just a coffee, you need to order something specific!!!

Notice how many exclamation points I put? That means you need to follow this rule.

*Embarrassing Story Ahead* 

My first day arriving in Melbourne, was a very embarrassing one for me to say the least. 

As a coffee lover, when I am in need of something to do, I typically go to a café to grab a drink. 

The atmosphere is relaxing, it’s something I’ve done 100 times, so I figured, since I was feeling a bit nervous after getting to a new country, why shouldn’t I grab a coffee?

What. Could. Go. Wrong.

I headed down to this cute café near the hostel I was staying at and looked down at the menu to see what to order. To preface this, in the states we usually have everything listed on the menu, so that’s what I was expecting to see.  

But NO, all this café had written on their menu under drinks, was the word “coffee”, nothing else.  

So naturally, as I was naive and probably jet lagged, I just ordered a coffee, expecting to get just a cup of black caffeine like you would in America.  

But no, the baristas were confused, like, extremely confused, and had no idea what I wanted. 

Naturally we ended up going back and forth with questions until the poor barista summarized that after  alllll the questioning, I had pretty much just ordered a latte *deep sigh* 

Speaking of lattes: Check out this Aussie’s recipe for a great Pumpkin Spice Latte!

The whole experience was very embarrassing, especially as an American who tries and continuously fails to break the “American’s are stupid” stereotype. (Is anyone else like this or just me?) 

Hopefully with the breakdown of the following seven coffee orders, you will enter the Melbourne coffee culture with grace and hopefully not have any embarrassing moments like I did.  


#1: Ristretto 

We are starting off with the base of a Melbourne coffee order, a ristretto.

A ristretto, is extremely similar to an espresso shot, but is has a way more concentrated flavor to it (who knew that was even possible)  

When you pour or “pull” an espresso shot out a machine, the water runs through the coffee grounds for around 25-30 seconds, creating the espresso shot.  

With a ristretto, the water only runs through the coffee grounds for around 20 seconds.  

The less time the machine is ran, the less water goes through the grounds which creates this boulder and stronger tasting shot of coffee.

This shorter pour also creates a sweeter tasting and less caffeinated shot, which is why some people prefer it to the classic espresso shot. 

This ristretto shot is also the base for another classic Melbourne coffee drink, the Magic. 

P.S. If you want a more indepth comparison between an espresso shot and a ristretto shot, check out this blog post by Coffee Affection 


#2: Magic 

A Magic coffee is an EXTREMELY Melbourne coffee, you will probably only hear about this drink in the actual city or in the state of Victoria but not in too other many places, if any, in Australia. 

A magic is very similar to a latte when it comes to the amount of micro foam used but created with a double ristretto pour (see above if you didn’t read about what a ristretto is) and only filled ¾ of way up

This combination creates an extremely strong but sweeter tasting drink thanks to the use of the ristretto and because the coffee to milk ratio is much higher than a typical latte.   


#3: An Iced Coffee 

The way an iced coffee is made here in Australia was so strange to me when I first arrived, and honestly, I have a hard time considering it a coffee in general.  

An iced coffee in Australia is made with ice cream and sugar syrup in additon to the classic espresso and cold milk base. 

You will be essentially getting a non-blended version of a coffee milkshake when you order this one. 

This can change based on where you are or who your barista is, so its best to check with the barista to see what you will actually be receiving.  

If you’re looking for a non ice cream version of a iced coffee A.K.A the classic version in my opinion, be sure to order something along the following lines: 

  • Iced Latte: Single espresso shot & cold milk
  • Iced Long Black: Double espresso shot & cold water

#4: Muggaccino

A muggaccino.  

An order I think is entirely unnecessary and have come to the conclusion that primarily only the elderly use this term. 

This drink is just a cappuccino but you or the customer you’re serving wants it in a mug instead of a normal ceramic cup.

That’s it.  

Apparently, it’s too complicated to order the size separately so it has just been morphed into one word to make life “simpler.”

Again, this isn’t a drink I see ordered by too many people, but in case you see it on a menu or hear it from someone else, now you’re covered. 


#5 Long Black 

A long black!  

The closest thing you will be receiving to a bulk brewed American style coffee. 

Similar to an americano but not quite, this drink consists of a double shot of espresso poured on top of hot water. 

This is the key difference between a long black and an americano.  

With an americano, the espresso is poured before the hot water.

When the espresso is poured after the hot water, such as with the long black, the crema stays intact creating a beautiful creamy looking coffee as opposed to a black or “coffee diner” looking coffee. 

If you want more details on the difference between the two, check out my other post on the most commonly ordered coffees 


#6: Piccolo 

Next up is the piccolo, another variation on the latte pretty much. Australians love their lattes. 

This drink is essentially a mini latte, cute right? 

The picollo is poured in a smaller glass cup, with a single shot of espresso and steamed milk.  

With this drink, you get a stronger espresso taste since the espressio to milk ratio is 1:2 instead of a 1:4 ratio like in a normal latte. 

After reading around a bit, I’ve seen that some places may use a ristretto shot for a piccolo instead of a normal espresso shot. So keep in mind depending on where you go, the taste may be different.


#7: Long & Short Macchiato 

I have touched on these two drinks as well in my previous post on coffees, but I have learned more since said post was published! 

These two drinks are definitely more on the “coffee connoisseur” end of things and consist of a single shot (short mac) or double shot (long mac) of espresso, foam, and a small amount of steamed milk.  

The defining feature of a good macchiato is the layering, it honestly looks fantastic when done correctly. (as seen in the stunning photo at the end of this section) 

Essentially you start with your espresso pour, either single or double shot, followed by taking a spoon and placing the micro foam from your streamed milk in the middle of the shot. 

In order to create the iconic layering effect, you then pour a small amount of steamed milk onto the foam/espresso combination, and ideally it will settle into three distinct layers

A trick to make sure the drink doesn’t mix together when you add the steamed milk is to use the back of a teaspoon. 

Place the teaspoon slightly over the surface of the macchiato, and pour the steamed milk over the back of the spoon. This just allows the milk to slowly flow into the drink, which allows it to layer much easier than if it was pourred in roughly. 

BTW, this goes for any drink that you want to layer, cocktails, shots, literally whatever, if you want to layer it, pour it over the back of a spoon!


The Conclusion of Your Melbourne & Australia Coffee Education 

I hope you found this quick guide to some of Melbourne’s and Australia’s iconic coffees helpful! Or at least helpful enough to avoid making the same mistakes as myself.  

Your future baristas will love and thank you for coming in all educated and prepared, trust me.  

Seeing as this post is about Australia and specifically Melbourne, here are some awesome events  to check out if you’re in the area!

  • If you’re looking to take a day trip and get away from the Melbourne crowds check out this list of the best day trips in Victoria 
  • Who doesn’t love a coffee shop tour? Check out this one by Walk Melbourne to visit 4 hand picked coffee shops 
  • This awesome Melbourne based blogger created a Melbourne Bucket List(with 55 things to do!!) if you’re in the beautiful city, so be sure to check it out if you need something to fill your day!


That’s all for today! Follow the Procaffinator Instagram to see some awesome latte art (or check out these other awesome Instagram’s for some) and cafe reviews if you haven’t already and Happy Procaffinating!