You know of the third wave, right? Yeah, you’re on it. But did you see the first two that came through before it? The ones that set you up for the sweet ride you’re on now? Come, pick up your board and ride the silky golden coffee waves back in space time. Splash around for a bit in the sweet waters of Australian java history with me.
The tide first swelled from humble beginnings in the mysterious lands of Ethiopia. A goat herder noticed some quirky behaviour from his flock when they ate the fruit from this particular tree (a coffee tree, in case you’re wondering!) Word spread of this peppy cherry, and soon everyone wanted a sip of this wonder brew, giving all who drank it the feeling of a jubilant goat. Thus coffee swept through the souks and palaces of Arabia, to the promenades of Europe, It brewed here for quite some time before its current finally meandered to our antipodean shores.
Australians were hardcore tea quaffers and beer swillers, until the 1890’s when a gaggle of hardcore teetotallers succeeded in establishing the 6pm lockout law. These early closures of pubs paved the way for the trendy Parisian style cafes to become the social hub du jour and their coffee became tres chic. And ironically so did 6pm binge drinking. Thanks Temperance Society. What a legacy.
But while we still sit in cafes, we’re not drinking cafe au laits, somme nous? Non! We drink lattes. In the 1920’s and 30’s thousands of Italians emigrated to Australia, and with them, their espresso machines. Bellissimo. Australians received the Italians largely with racism and cultural ridicule, but also received their rich and syrupy way of brewing, taking to it (and their pizza and campari and gelato and parmesan and pasta and art and soccer etc etc) with great gusto.
Here the first wave settles. What a ride. It created a foundation of the cultural norm that is socialising over coffee, and introduced the method of brewing that we love. Looking forward to catching that second wave with you.