Australian Coffee: Everything You Need to Know

the land of australia has a firmly established reputation for its obsession with coffee.

but while coffee shops and celebrity roasters are the name of the game in the Australian world, the little-known kingdom of Australian coffee beans, grown on the same island-continent, is starting to gain momentum.

Reading: Best australian coffee

From locally grown beans to expert roasters and the overall exploding cultural phenomenon of coffee, here’s our roundup of all things Australian coffee.

You Must Know the Facts: An Australian Coffee Guide

with a culture that tends to focus less on growing the beans and more on mastering production, any guide to Australian coffee beans will include a heavy focus on processing, roasting and Australian coffee culture in general

However, whether grown at home or not, being located so close to coffee hotspots like Indonesia and Papua New Guinea has seen the Australian coffee industry thrive.

a brief history of australian coffee culture

coffee was first cultivated in australia in 1880. the industry continued until 1926, but ultimately failed in its early stages. this was due to a couple of problems: the beans produced were of low quality (and therefore cheap) and labor in the region was expensive, especially when the cost of harvesting was factored into the equation.

rather than dying out entirely, however, the desire to grow coffee lay dormant for half a century until a cultural coffee renaissance(1) began to blossom, breathing new life into an otherwise neglected regional craft

this new wave of coffee farming, as well as being fueled by a renewed interest in art, can be largely attributed to the introduction of new mechanical means of harvesting, most notably the world’s first mechanical coffee harvester, making it economically feasible to grow coffee in australia once again.

since then, the coffee farming industry, though small, has continued to flourish, with farmers focusing on high-end varieties and showing increasing interest in developing quality beans that can compete with others around the world


Australian coffee varieties

during this recent coffee renaissance, varieties of arabica coffee plants were brought to the mainland island. For example, the Blue Mountain, Arusha, Caturra, and Bourbon varieties were imported from nearby Papua New Guinea. others followed.

the large number of different varieties, many of which are selected for hardiness (and therefore now recommended for expansion into the cooler regions of queensland and new south wales), include some of the the following:

  • catuai
  • mundo novo (typical/bourbon hybrid)
  • k7, sl6 and other African/Kenyan varieties
  • Australian Coffee Beans: A Flavor Profile

    Coffee grown in the lowlands tends to have less caffeine. it also tends to have a particular sweetness, lack of bitterness, and a medium body that comes with flavors of chocolate and walnuts.

    Other flavors include ash, charcoal, and tobacco, all of which would suggest the overall milder flavor of the beans. In general, most Australian coffees tend to have a less intense profile.

    cultivation and processing methods

    Most of the coffee in Australia is grown at a measly 650 – 1,300 feet above sea level, which may explain, at least in part, why Australia’s coffee-growing culture has always struggled.

    Most coffee farms in Australia also tend to be smaller, from fifty to one hundred acres.

    Processing methods vary across the board, some cherries are dry-processed, others are wet-processed, and still others use a unique process developed by the Mountain Top Coffee Company called double-passing, which involves leaving the beans in the trees to dry and then rehydrating them to be pulped.

    main coffee growing regions of australia and their beans

    Most of Australia’s coffee is grown in subtropical regions along the country’s east coast in the states of New South Wales and Queensland.

    new south wales

    new south wales (nsw) is now the center of australian coffee culture.

    Its subtropical climate means the region has slightly cooler temperatures, allowing for an exceptionally longer ripening period for the beans. it also has good water, soil, and although it’s cooler, it’s not too cold for the delicate coffee plants.


    queensland is on the northeast side of the continent and is closer to the equator (and thus more tropical regions) than nsw.

    while the region produces slightly less coffee, it still produces great beans on a regular basis, including some award-winning coffees from local farms!

    honorable mentions

    skybury estate

    See also: 7 Best POS Systems For A Coffee Shop Or Cafe In 2022

    this property is located in the atherton tablelands in queensland.

    although there are many coffees grown in australia, skybury estate is one of the few that can claim to have grown one so good it won a gold medal at the sydney royal fine food show.

    while the estate produces a wide variety of coffees, the one that won a gold medal had a “wow factor” to remember, delivering “good depth of flavor in the mid-palate and a long finish.”

    you can see a beautiful video of the skybury property in action below.

    mountaintop coffee company

    One of the biggest names in Australia’s burgeoning coffee farming industry, Mountain Top Coffee Company’s beans are grown in rich, red, volcanic soil in the mountains above Nimbin in New South Wales.

    Working with K7 varieties, the estate has produced a line of internationally renowned coffees that tend to have a light to medium body and a fresh, floral and fruity sweetness.

    his coffee was even used by the winner of the world barista championship in 2005!

    australia’s unique coffee culture

    if you visit a coffee shop, you might quickly ask yourself, “why is Aussie coffee so good?”

    This is because, growth aside, the region has been a coffee hotspot for a long time, often setting trends and staying at the forefront of the coffee world.

    case in point: australia is a major importer of green coffee beans. in other words, the nation brings in copious amounts of green beans that are harvested and processed…and then expertly roasted for resale.

    Australians take their coffee culture very seriously, especially in recent decades. his “style” of coffee is so distinctive that even major chains like starbucks have had a hard time competing with him.

    the chain moved to the countryside, tried to bring its “starbucks” flair, and utterly failed in the face of the intensely “Aussie” coffee culture they found already established.

    Australians know what they want when it comes to coffee. the nation is particularly obsessed with espresso-based drinks, though filter coffee is also on the rise, and Australians tend to choose lighter roasts.

    you can read more about local Australian coffee culture here.

    the current state of coffee production in australia

    coffee production in australia has never been what one would call “stellar”. for example, according to the people at agrifutures, in 2012 a paltry 1000 tons of coffee (a little over 2 million pounds) were grown. Compare that to the nearly 1.5 billion pounds produced in nearby Sulawesi (a part, just a part, of the Indonesian coffee industry) in that same year. Much of this stems from the flat, low-lying nature of many of Australia’s coffee plantations, coupled with the problem of growing coffee plants in the sun in a monoculture growing environment.

    This less-than-preferable farming method is necessary due to the mechanization of the industry. Simply put, it’s necessary for things to be profitable and for Australian coffee farms to continue to exist!

    That being said, infrastructure and the need for equipment and machinery is certainly less of an issue here than in more remote coffee-growing regions. however, while the situation may not be ideal for growing coffee, that does not mean that the Australian coffee growing industry as a whole is reeling.

    If anything, Australia’s long love affair with coffee, and its proximity to so many coffee-producing regions, has kept it front and center in the coffee world, with an interest in importing, roasting and cultivating its own beans which is sure to continue to gain strength as it matures in the future.

    where to buy Australian coffee beans

    Although Australian coffee brands are less prolific than those from many other high-volume countries, there are still some great ones available.

    but if you just want the best of the best, here’s our list of great-tasting coffee beans from around the world.

    In addition to the Australian-grown beans, it’s also worth taking a look at many of the Australian roasters who have studied and mastered their craft from the heart of the South Pacific coffee world.

    See also: Dale Coopers Damn Good Coffee Means a Lot More Than You Think


    if you’re going to get Australian coffee, get it from an award-winning farm! Skybury Estate knows their coffee business and buying direct from them ensures that you are also supporting the local industry.

    not only that, but they actually have shade-grown microlots available, which is a rarity in the mechanized world of sun-grown Australian coffee.

    You can see their medium roast shade-grown microlot here.

    See also: Dale Coopers Damn Good Coffee Means a Lot More Than You Think


    Known as “Australia’s #1 Pure Coffee Brand”, this extremely popular Australian coffee company has been family owned since 1958.

    Although the coffees they supply are from around the world, the high quality of both the beans and the service make Vittoria one of the best coffee roasters Australia has to offer.

    Example: This Rainforest Alliance Certified Organic Vittoria coffee is grown with 100% Arabica beans. It’s quality and care in one cup!

    See also: Dale Coopers Damn Good Coffee Means a Lot More Than You Think


    If you’re a home roaster looking for a good supply of Australian grown green coffee beans, Mountaintop Coffee is a good starting point.

    They’ve got you covered with green coffee beans grown in the red volcanic soil of their farm. With three different options (bin 478, bundja, and peaberry beans), you can choose exactly what you need to grill at home.

    just be sure to check in regularly to see when the beans are available!

    pairing: the best way to roast and prepare Australian beans

    once you’ve bought your Aussie beans, you’ll want to know how to roast and prepare them!

    Here are our suggestions for your consideration.


    due to the extremely small nature of the current Australian coffee industry, very little information has been published on the best ways to roast these beans.

    However, the generally mild profile of Australian beans tends to lend itself to medium or darker roasts. the lower altitude generally leads to a dull flavor that doesn’t favor lighter roasts, especially when compared to other island beans in the region.

    However, there are always exceptions, as indicated about mountain coffee in the coffee profile. a lighter roast can help bring out the fruitier elements of these beans.


    if it’s a medium roast, we suggest a filter option like a chemex. a mashing method like a French press is perfect for darker roasts.

    and finally, mash or even espresso-based options are the way to go for any dark roast.

    You can find more information on how to combine roasting with brewing options here!

    enjoy your cup, mate!

    Whether you’re interested in some of the best-grown or best-roasted coffees (or both!), Australia can deliver.

    Although Australia’s coffee growing industry is still in its infancy, the fact that these beans are grown in the heart of a coffee-crazed culture leaves the country poised for success. we expect to see a continued increase in both production and quality as time progresses.

    if you enjoyed this overview, please consider sharing it, and as always, if you have any thoughts on Aussie coffee or coffee in general, please comment!

    See also: Coffee Shops in Murfreesboro, TN [Top 8]


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