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Published March 14th 2024

Coffee Consumption Habits in Australia: What Can Brands Learn?

What can brands learn from the average Aussie’s coffee consumption?

In Australia, coffee isn’t just a drink: it’s ingrained into the culture.

Whether you’re grabbing a to-go iced coffee in the charming laneways of Melbourne or enjoying a coffee date overlooking Sydney’s sunny beaches, the vibrant coffee culture is an integral part of everyday life for the typical Aussie.

Monitoring conversations on social media about coffee consumption can help brands market to a constantly evolving audience. With preferences changing and tastes developing, let’s delve into the latest coffee trends in Australia.

A note on methodology: For this article, we used Brandwatch Consumer Research to analyze public online consumer conversations in Australia around coffee between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2023.

Which coffees are the most popular?

According to social media mentions in Australia, the most popular coffee order is the latte. Impressively, lattes accounted for almost half of online mentions about coffee.

Mentions of lattes spike in the fall months largely due to the huge variety of holiday drinks on offer – such as eggnog lattes, toffee nut lattes, and the famous pumpkin spice lattes.

Flat whites, cappuccinos, and cold brews were next in line for popularity. Yet, mention numbers didn’t come anywhere close to lattes – flat whites stole 15% of the conversation, cappuccinos had 14%, and cold brews 12%.

Aussies are always keen on a flat white, a drink that is said to have originated in Australia.

Cappuccinos were the third most mentioned coffee type in Australia. Among these cappuccino mentions were several debates about the difference between cappuccinos and lattes – which is something the instant coffee brand Nescafé covered in detail here. In short, cappuccinos are smaller in size, use less milk, and are frothier.

Pro Tip

Brands looking to tap into an audience of coffee consumers in Australia might benefit from keeping the cappuccino vs. latte debate in mind. For example, a campaign educating consumers on the difference might go a long way. Alternatively, creating a divide between the drinks’ lovers over which beverage is better might spark online mentions for your brand.

The cappuccino vs. latte debate also leans into a trend all Aussies will be aware of: The magic coffee debate.

How did Melbourne’s magic coffee become an international trend?

If you aren’t aware, a so-called “magic coffee” is a double ristretto – a short espresso – topped with steamed milk served in a small cup. The result is a strong, velvety coffee with a balanced flavor profile, but less intense than a straight espresso shot.

The deliciousness of a magic coffee went viral on the Australian coffee scene when mentions of magic coffee spiked by over 500% from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2023 compared to the previous period.

Aussies love the flavor – so much so that the coffee drink took off globally.

The magic coffee phenomenon became so popular that British retailer Marks & Spencer trademarked it, launching it as a menu item in their cafes in the UK last year.

By noticing and staying ahead of this trend, Marks & Spencer has undoubtedly seen plenty of positive publicity. This goes to show the benefit of staying ahead of the curve when it comes to social media conversations.

What’s considered bad coffee to Australians?

Like most coffee lovers, Aussies take their brewing seriously. They value not just the taste but also the entire coffee experience. From the aroma of freshly ground beans to the artistry of latte designs, coffee is a big deal.

So, with coffee being a hot topic, we delved into the social mentions to find out what Australians deem a bad cup of joe.

There were a number of mentions from Australians about lackluster American coffee, which is said to contain a lot of sugar and artificial flavors. To the Aussies, coffee should be simple, either black or with just a dash of milk and sugar. 

According to the online mentions, coffee shouldn’t contain additional toppings or syrup, with some saying it spoils the whole coffee experience.

So, to those looking to sell coffee in Australia, it’s important to keep it simple. Fresh, local coffee seems to be the best option, focusing on brew flavors over sugary additions.

The rising popularity of milk alternatives

Milk alternatives have gained popularity across the globe in recent years – and this can be seen across social mentions in Australia, too. Whether you’re lactose intolerant, vegan, concerned about the environment, or have health concerns – there’s bound to be a milk alternative for you. 

We looked at some popular milk alternatives to see what Aussies prefer in their milk.

Almond milk was the most popular milk alternative for Australians, followed by soy milk, and oat milk.

Even though almond milk seems to be the most popular option in 2023, online mentions about the alternative have been on a steady decline since 2019. On the other hand, oat milk mentions have been climbing steadily. But why?

Apparently, oat milk froths well, making it a popular choice for baristas in coffee shops. And it’s creamy taste and texture is now making it a fast favorite for Australian coffee consumers.

Food and beverage brands should keep this in mind when deciding on milk-based strategies in Australia. As consumers are becoming more health conscious, it’s important for coffee establishments to offer milk alternatives to appeal to a wider audience.

How are businesses marketing their coffee in Australia?

In Australia, where coffee culture thrives, businesses need to employ innovative marketing strategies to stand out in a busy and competitive market. By showcasing unique blends and artisanal approaches to the humble coffee, brands can appeal to an array of coffee enthusiasts.

Let’s take a look at some examples.

Drop Coffee’s subscription services are thriving

Drop Coffee found a niche, and they’re marketing their services with expertise. The brand offers a coffee subscription service for Aussies which allows customers to have coffee beans delivered to their doorstep. The beans are delivered from specialty roasters across Australia every fortnight, so customers can ensure they’re shopping local and receive the freshest flavors.

Each subscription box contains beans from different establishments, and their website is regularly updated with tasting notes and information about the roaster and supplier, enhancing the coffee experience.

Coffee subscription services like Drop Coffee solve a pain point for Australian consumers who don’t know where to purchase good quality beans from.

By finding this untapped market and solving a problem for these coffee lovers, Drop Coffee has seen plenty of success across the country.

ONA Coffee taps into the local community

ONA Coffee is one of Australia’s most highly regarded specialty roasters. They’re diving into the benefits of cultivating an engaged community by organizing exclusive events across the country. 

These events allow customers to taste their specialty coffees and connect with other coffee lovers, which proves to be a great way for brands to build and engage with customers.

Prioritizing sustainability

It’s nothing new for Australian cafes to focus on sustainability, but it’s still as important as ever. Recognizing the significance of environmental responsibility and ethical practices can help consumers connect with your brand identity. 

Cafes across Australia implement these initiatives, aiming to minimize their environmental footprint by creating eco-friendly environments – think biodegradable coffee bag sachets and reusable keep cups. 

Focusing on sustainability can help to differentiate cafes in a competitive market, attracting environmentally conscious customers and contributing to building a positive brand image.

Roundup

Australian coffee culture is vibrant. And in this constantly evolving market, there’s a thriving and dynamic community of coffee enthusiasts.

By tapping into the online conversations around coffee, brands can gain a comprehensive overview of market dynamics, consumer sentiments, and emerging opportunities.

Discover how Brandwatch can help you discover the latest social trends in your industry.

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