Thursday, October 8, 2020

7 Australian Café Etiquette Tips

According to the National Coffee Association, “Coffee grown worldwide can trace its heritage back centuries to the ancient coffee forests on the Ethiopian plateau. There, legend says the goat herder Kaldi first discovered the potential of these beloved beans. The story goes that that Kaldi discovered coffee after he noticed that after eating the berries from a certain tree, his goats became so energetic that they did not want to sleep at night. Kaldi reported his findings to the abbot of the local monastery, who made a drink with the berries and found that it kept him alert through the long hours of evening prayer. The abbot shared his discovery with the other monks at the monastery, and knowledge of the energizing berries began to spread. As word moved east and coffee reached the Arabian peninsula, it began a journey which would bring these beans across the globe.”

The drinking and cultivation of coffee has a relatively short history in Australia. Coffee landed on the Australian shores from 1788 on the first fleet from abroad. It has been said that during the first fleet’s voyage, it made a stop in Rio de Janeiro for plants and seedlings to grow in the new lands. 

At the time, coffee was often mixed with “fillers” like chicory and other food products such as mustard or eggshells, that had no business being in coffee. This changed with the the arrival of immigrants to Australia, notably after the second world war, who brought their own styles of coffee-making with them. Coffee became a well-known, popular beverage and cafés were set up to accommodate a little taste of Greece, Italy, Hungary, and the former Yugoslavia, from the 1950’s onwards. These immigrants  also brought with them different coffee grinders and coffee accoutrements, such as a briki, cafeteria or moka pot, that would fill the walls, piquing the interest of the consumers enjoying coffee and dessert with friends.

By the 1970’s and 1980’s, the hot trend was for Australians to sit at a café and eat newly discovered, and even exotic desserts and biscuits, with their coffee, may it be cappuccinos, lattes, flat whites, long blacks etc. Australian’s are frequently ranked as top consumers of coffee. Many of the original coffee houses in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide still stand, even with their original fit out, now making icons of the Australian coffee scene. Namely: Pellegrini's Espresso Barand Mediterranean Wholesalers.

Today, cafés are on the top of many Australians daily or weekly agenda. They will discuss where to get the best coffee, ask for recommendations from friends and family. Research on the web or good food guides. Interest in where the coffee beans are sourced is another subject. Many good cafes won't just choose a certain brand for their café, but also source coffee manufacturers that will provide coffee from growing origins such as Ethiopia, Central South America, and New Guinea and make that a feature of their café.

  1. Savor your espresso the Italian way.... with a glass of water. The glass of sparkling water which often accompanies espresso is to cleanse your palate before, and after, a drink of your espresso. Due to its intensity and concentration, espresso can be a lot for the palate at once, so it is nice to have something to prepare the palate, then cleanse it, even during your cup, and at the very last of the cup.
  2. If you wish to remain long after you receive your coffee to do work, check around you. How busy is the cafe? Good manners and common sense will help you to determine whether you should stay longer. Some cafes are made for you to stay and access their free wifi and facilities, some want you to eat, drink, then leave.
  3. If you are working via phone or online or talking to friends make sure you use your 'indoor voice' so others are able to hear conversation.
  4. Bring your best manners along with you, even though the café is a very casual establishment. Cafe's tend to be small and what you say and how your behave can be overhead and seen by the café owners, employees and all other customers.
  5. If you are by yourself, choose the smallest table, rather than spreading out and taking up a table and potential earning for the café . 
  6. Stop and think before plugging your electronic gear into the walls of the cafe. First and foremost, not all cafés may welcome your added contribution to their electric bill. Besides, you may not be insured if there is a surge and you certainly don’t want to be responsible for causing one. Cords can be a tripping hazard. If someone trips over any of your ‘office on the go,’ liability may fall onto your shoulders. It's good to ask and find out the cafe's policies in advance of pulling out your cords.
  7. Cafés are a great place to meet people. Keep a smile with you and don't feel uncomfortable saying “hello” to others, while carrying on with your own day.

For many years, Etiquipedia contributor, Elizabeth Soos, has had a keen interest in cultural customs. With her European background and extensive travel, Soos developed an interest in the many forms of respect and cultural expectations in the countries she has visited. With her 20 years’ experience in customer service within private international companies based in Australia, and her lifetime interest in manners and research, she decided to branch out into the field of etiquette and deportment. Through her self-directed studies and by completing the Train-The-Trainer’s course offered by Emma Dupont’s School of Etiquette in London and by Guillaume Rue de Bernadac at Academie de Bernadac based in Paris and Shanghai, she founded Auersmont School of Etiquette.

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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