Lately I have been traveling to Melbourne quite a few times for business purposes. Since they were business trips, the opportunity for sight-seeing and enjoying the city life was certainly not much. But in between the tight schedules and also during the weekend where I had more free time, I managed to find some spare time and the opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere of the city that has been named the world’s most livable city for the third year in a row based on the results of the survey conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit. Those were the times where I could observe the dazzling life in this beautiful city. Its environment, its culture diversity, its society, its people. One thing that’s caught my attention: The coffee culture that is so inherent to this city. Far exceeds any other cities in Australia..
Australia is member of The Commonwealth of Nations, and Melbourne is the state capital of Victoria, which is named after a British monarch in the late 19th century. Given the history and close relationship with the British, ones will assume that the people of Melbourne are also familiar and attached to the tea tradition like the British people. Well, apparently not. Tea still has its place in Melbourne’s life, but it is coffee that fills the special corner in the heart of every Melbourne citizen.
Melbourne is the coffee capital of Australia. Not many cities take their coffee as seriously as Melbourne does. Almost in every corner of the city, at the central business district, malls, and other crowd centers there are always cafes ready to serve coffee and meals to the guests. You can enjoy your coffee while working with your laptop, while checking emails, chat with friends, meeting with colleagues, or simply to hangout over a cup of coffee and enjoy the city that’s becoming alive as people buzzing around you. Like I do each time I visit Melbourne..
Once, I stayed in Port Melbourne district for about a week, and it needed me to drive to get me to central Melbourne. Driving along Bay Street heading downtown, you can easily find several nice small cafes along the lines of small shops where people stop by for breakfast and a cup of coffee before starting their day. Downtown, there is a small laneways named Degraves Street that is connected to Centre Place, linking Flinders Street where the train station is located to the central business district at Collins Street. Small cafes are filling up each side of the cobblestoned laneways. In the morning, every one of them are busy serving people who live in suburb area and set off early in the morning using trains and trams, for breakfast or just a cup of coffee before heading to their work place. The scene during lunch time and later in the afternoon are not much different, Degraves Street and Centre Place are always buzzing. I am not a coffee expert, I’m just an ordinary person who love to have good coffee. But at least I can tell which coffee tastes good and which does not. Every morning and afternoon I always went to different cafe so I could taste the coffee they brewed & served. As far as I can recall, I could not find any bad brew.. 😀
The history of coffee culture in Melbourne itself is dated back to the period of the Second World War when immigrants from Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, the regions with a strong coffee tradition, came to Australia and especially Melbourne. The desire to get an authentic taste of their home coffee as well as to continue their coffee drinking tradition triggered the culture, as it developed over time in Melbourne. The immigrants from Italy and Greece are fine coffee brewers, and they ensured there was no shortage of baristas to cope up with the increasing number of cafes throughout the city.
Without this strong coffee culture, the city of Melbourne itself is already an interesting city to visit and friendly place to stay, with all the excitement and the cultural and social life diversity. After all, the coffee culture is what makes me want to go back and visit Melbourne again and again..
Some of the information re. Melbourne is taken from http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Melbourne