Ordering a cappuccino in an Australian coffee shop will get you a different drink than you probably expect. Australian cappuccino is a creamy, silky, and smooth delight with a dusting of cocoa powder on top.
If you want to know exactly how to make an Australian cappuccino the right way, you’ll want to read on.
Meet the Australian Coffee Snob
Ask any Australian, and they’ll tell you that Australian coffee is the best in the world.
Move over, Seattle; you don’t know what you’re doing.
The Starbucks coffee company lost $143 million and closed down 70% of their Australian stores in 2008 because, well, their coffee tasted awful, and they just weren’t making their coffee drinks the right way.
Don’t get an Australian started about how Americans do coffee wrong. American coffee tastes like “hot brown dishwater, the color brown, actual dirt.” It’s “rank, disgusting, filthy,” and “not normal.” These are just some of the few colorful phrases Australians use to describe non-Australian coffee.
What is Aussie Style Coffee?
In Australian coffee culture, it’s all about “plunger coffee” (French presses), Moka pots, and espresso machines, never drip coffee makers.
Also, the coffee roasts in Australian coffee are smoother, with more caramel flavor and less bitter taste. For the most part, though, espresso-based coffee drinks are king in the Australian coffee world.
When in Australia…
When you’re in Australia, you need to forget everything you think you know about the composition of coffee drinks and how to serve them because you’re probably doing it wrong.
These are the proper compositions of popular coffee drinks in Australia:
- Australian cappuccino: Espresso + steamed milk + a fair amount of foam + cocoa powder for dusting, served in a small ceramic coffee cup
- Australian latte: Single shot of espresso + steamed milk + less foam, served in a glass (no chocolate)
- Australian flat white: Espresso + steamed milk + tiny amount of foam, served in a small ceramic mug (no chocolate)
- Australian Mocha: Espresso + steamed milk + a fair amount of foam + cocoa powder stirred into the espresso, served in a glass with a handle
How is Australian Cappuccino Different From a Flat White?
An Australian cappuccino is not just a flat white with cocoa. Along with its dusting of cocoa powder, the Australian cappuccino is a milky coffee with two more ounces of milk and a thicker foam layer than a flat white.
How to Make an Australian Cappuccino
An Australian cappuccino is similar to everyone else’s cappuccino, except that it always has a dusting of unsweetened cocoa on top and the milk and foam texture are silky smooth.
Different baristas sprinkle the cocoa in different ways so that some cappuccinos look like a work of art.
The Layers of an Australian Cappuccino
These are the essential layers of an Australian cappuccino from the bottom up:
- A shot of espresso
- A sprinkling of cocoa powder
- 6 ounces of frothy steamed whole, full cream milk
- A half-inch of microfoam
- A sprinkling of cocoa powder
Some baristas skip the extra sprinkling of cocoa powder between the espresso and milk. And the foam dome has gotten smaller with time so that now it practically blends in with the frothy textured milk layer.
How to Serve an Australian Cappuccino
An Australian cappuccino always comes in a small ceramic cup with a handle.
Which Beans Should You Use?
If you want to make an authentic Australian coffee drink, you’ll want to use one of their top specialty coffee brands to experience the right roast flavor:
- Vittoria Coffee
- Coffee Alchemy
- Blacklist Coffee Roasters
- Monday’s Coffee Store
- Skybury Estate (Australian-grown)
- Mountain Top Coffee (Australian-grown)
What Type of Cocoa Powder is Best?
Authentic Australian cappuccinos use unsweetened cocoa powder. However, some people prefer to use sweetened cocoa powder or a mixture of cocoa powder and powdered sugar.
Popular cocoa powder choices include:
- Vittoria Original Chocochino
- Bean Bay Côte d’Ivoire Red
- Bean Bay Double Dutch
- Nestle Alpen Blend
- Cadbury Drinking Chocolate
Milk Foam Texture for Australian Cappuccinos
The taste of an Australian cappuccino is more milk than espresso. It should have an extremely creamy mouth feel. You should order a dry cappuccino if you want a more robust espresso flavor with more foam than milk.
It’s essential to get the texture of the milk and foam correct in an Australian cappuccino.
Both the milk and microfoam should have a thick and silky feel.
Whole milk will give you the thicker and creamier foam you want for an Australian cappuccino because skim milk makes airier foam.
You’ll want to add more air into the cold milk to get the texture right and make a silky smooth foam. Be sure that your frothing wand stays about half an inch from the surface so that the foam bubbles don’t get too big. If you’ve done it correctly, the foam will all be even and smooth.
Enjoy Your Cappuccino, Mate!
Australians have perfected the art of making hot coffee drinks, and you’re going to love trying them. You can make the perfect Australian Cappuccino with Australian-roasted coffee beans, a smooth and silky well-foamed milk, and a dusting of cocoa powder.
Ready to give a superior cappuccino a try?
- Shot of espresso
- 1 Tablespoon of cocoa powder
- 6 ounces of full cream milk
- Brew your shot of espresso
- Froth your milk till it's thick and silky
- In a mug, sprinkle cocoa powder over your espresso shot and follow it by pouring your milk over the shot till you get a thick layer of microfoam.
- Sprinkle with more cocoa powder and enjoy!