Sydney overtaking Melbourne as Australia’s coffee king capital

By RJ Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Sydney overtaking Melbourne as Australia’s coffee king capital

Related tags Australia Coffee

Melbourne might be famous for being the starting point for Australia’s coffee revolution a decade ago, it is now being challenged by Sydney to become the country’s most caffeine-crazed city.

Australia’s fondness for fresh coffee has been growing at the same time that instant coffee has been on the wane. 

According to data released by Roy Morgan Research, the number of Australians visiting cafés in an average three months rose from over 53% in 2010 to almost 57% last year, while ownership of coffee makers increased from 28% of households to nearly 37% over the same period.

Sydney likes its premium format

Source: Roy Morgan, January 2014 – December 2014.

More than 38% of the population bought fresh coffee at least once a month last year—up two percentage points since 2010. Admittedly, a considerably higher proportion (52.6%) buy instant coffee, though the number has decreased by over six points since 2010, when the number stood at 58.5%.

Not only are consumers from Sydney more likely to buy fresh coffee than other capital city residents, with almost 44% doing so each month, they are also the least likely to buy instant. 

But while some might say this makes the the Harbour City Australia’s rightful coffee capital, when it comes to café culture, Melbourne leads the country: on average, almost two-thirds of Melburnians visit coffee shops, with Sydneysiders relegated to third place, behind Hobart residents.

Melbourne residents are also the most frequent café visitors, with 11.5% visiting regularly, though Sydneysiders are only very slightly behind.

Incidentally, Perth, home to some of Australia’s priciest coffee shops, has the highest rate of coffee-maker ownership, with 39% of households having one.

Melburnians prefer the barista to a jar

Melbourne has long declared itself Australia’s coffee capital, and in some respects this is justified.  With a higher café visitation rate than any other capital city, Melburnians take their coffee very seriously​,” said Angela Smith of Roy Morgan Research.

And perhaps because so many of them count on their barista for their caffeine fix, Melbourne residents don’t need to buy as much fresh coffee for home or work consumption—which is where Sydneysiders lead the country​.

While a much higher proportion of Aussies still buy instant coffee than fresh, its popularity has been declining for several years. However, instant-coffee brands Moccona and Robert Timms are actually bucking this downward trend, with higher purchase rates in 2014 than in 2010​.” 

Meanwhile, Lavazza maintains top spot among the fresh coffee brands.

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