Australia doesn’t do cappuccinos

Thoughts

Speaking of travel, or lack thereof, here’s something else I was thinking about that we could do in the Before Times.

Coffee was among the first funnels of culture shock I encountered when moving back to Sydney from Singapore. Australians are globally recognised coffee snobs, to the point where dunking on Starbucks is a part of the citizenship test, and anything less than the best is consigned to the same heap as that nasty, granulated instant. It’s lead to a personal struggle between loving single origin brews made by an artisan barista taught in Sydney’s Newtown sporting a fedora and listening to out of tune folk music, and the kopi-o brews I used to have with kaya toast at the foot of HDB blocks or hawker centres.

But that wasn’t the shock.

I prefer to have black coffee most of the time, having weaned myself off sugar in almost everything, and milk in coffee years ago. But occasionally I like to indulge in a bit of a treat, especially on a Friday afternoon like this. For that, I used to turn to a frothy cappuccino.

The problem is, Australians don’t do them. I’m not sure when this started, but Australian baristas will give you a flat white or a latte with chocolate powder on top and call it a cappuccino. It tastes great, and is probably among the best made coffees you’ll have in the world. It’s just not a cappuccino. It’s not even close.

Milk foam is the key to a cappuccino. It’s what makes drinking them fun. The light smattering of chocolate powder over the foam is the same reason why the creamy froth of a Guinness is so iconic and tasty. Sure you’d be getting more liquid beer if you have less foam, but where’s the fun? Where’s the unintentional moustache, I ask you!?

Kiwis are as selective and skilled with their coffee across the pond, I wonder if they do the same thing? It’d be a shame if they did, they have the best dairy in the world.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and IaaS engineer in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Wait, not BIOS… my brain should be EFI by now.

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