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Australia's American coffee culture

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Abstract:

When US coffee chain Starbucks announced it would close 61 of its 84 Australian stores, some Australian coffee drinkers were smug: Starbucks, it seemed, had failed to understand the Australian market. The President of Starbucks Asia Pacific John Culver admitted: 'I think what we've seen is that Australia has a very sophisticated coffee culture'. Australia does have a sophisticated coffee culture and the collective belief is that its origins are European. This article argues that Australia had a coffee culture of sorts prior to WWII but that it was American serviceman stationed in Australia, followed closely by the introduction of Nestlé instant coffee in 1948, that kick-started Australia's shift from tea to coffee drinking. It also argues that Australia's contemporary coffee market is very similar to America's, with recent trends in America's specialty coffee industry closely watched and followed by Australian 'third wave' coffee roasters and consumers.

Keywords: American coffee; Australian coffee; Coffee culture; H. A. Bennett; Specialty Coffee; Starbucks; cafe; ‘Third Wave’

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/ajpc.2.1.23_1

Affiliations: CQ University

Publication date: 2012-06-07

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  • The Australasian Journal of Popular Culture is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of everyday cultures. It is concerned with the study of the social practices and the cultural meanings that are produced and are circulated through the processes and practices of everyday life. As a product of consumption, an intellectual object of inquiry, and as an integral component of the dynamic forces that shape societies. The journal will be receptive to articles which focus on Australasian examples, or broader comparative and theoretical questions viewed through an Australasian lens.
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