Melbourne baristas share what’s next in coffee

As caffeine lovers across the city celebrate Melbourne Coffee Week, luminaries of the local coffee scene share their insights on emerging trends.

Some coffee trends move on as quickly as the queue at your favourite inner-city brew bar. Flavoured coffee. Edible coffee cups. A bulletproof for breakfast. The elusive magic. Matcha lattes.

Others reflect the times, such as plant-based mylks, caring where the beans come from, and the coffee subscriptions that saw us through COVID and rekindled our dual love of home brew.

The recently crowned National Barista Champion, Anthony Douglas from local brewhouse Axil Coffee Roasters, says the role of the barista is more important than ever.

‘The focus is shifting back towards the barista in terms of extraction techniques, tools to aid coffee making and workflow,’ Anthony said.

He takes on the world’s best at the World Barista Championship at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 27 to 30 September.

‘More thought is being put into post extraction variables like serving temperature, and ways to help convey coffee experiences better to the consumer.’ Anthony said. Axil Coffee Roasters has venues across the city, including Flinders Lane.

His routine for the championships consisted of three courses: an espresso, a milk-based coffee and a coffee-based signature drink featuring pomegranate and feijoa syrup, juniper reduction, barhee dates and honey.

‘It makes me feel incredibly proud to be able to represent Australia in Melbourne. Being born and raised here it’s a city I have a lot of love for, and it’s exciting to have people from all parts of the world to travel here and connect,’ Anthony said.

There are almost 50 dedicated coffee shops amid 840 cafes in the City of Melbourne, according to data from last year’s Census of Land Use and Employment.

Together, cafes account for more than 110,000 square metres of floor space across the municipality, providing more than 40,000 dining seats to enjoy a coffee.

Many city coffee shops have watched city evolve over decades. Others have swept in recently with fresh roasts and big ideas. So what’s next?

Freezing season

‘The frozen coffee trend recently has been amazing. Pre-dosing and freezing your coffee is a great way to minimise waste, store coffee, and improve your brewing. As coffee is seasonal, freezing allows us to curate diverse menus all year round.’ Path – North Melbourne.

The perfect pour-over

‘A lot of home brewers are opting for filter beans. Filter brewing allows a particular coffee’s unique flavour characteristics to shine through in the cup. It’s also more financially accessible than a home espresso machine.’ Market Lane Coffee – five city locations.

You get what you pay for

‘Drink better coffee and pay what it’s worth. Cheap coffee is not good coffee. It’s not good for the grower, the barista or the drinker.’ Rumble Coffee Roasters – Kensington.

Hold the milk

‘We wanted to do something different and focus completely on coffee served black. Not serving any steamed milk coffee has its challenges but showcasing the best coffee in a pour over / espresso format is having a positive effect on coffee drinkers. Path – North Melbourne.

Actions speak louder

‘Just as customers can expect to be told by a barista what country a coffee was grown in and the variety of the bean, we predict and hope that customers will also expect to know what a coffee company is doing to back up the values it claims to stand by.’ Market Lane Coffee – five city locations.

The rise of the magic

‘Our favourite coffee trend through the years is the rise of the magic. Our controversial take is that it is just trying to recreate the flavour profile of a flat white in NZ: strong.’ Rumble Coffee Roasters – Kensington.

Sustainability

‘Sustainability, not just in name but with real transparency and relationships with farmers. The exponential growth or awareness in all things coffee! What variety, which farmer, and what type of processing method was used in production.’ Seven Seeds – Carlton

Cold comfort

‘Nitro coffee is a thing, coffees are being deconstructed, and cold brews are all the rage.’ Quists Coffee – Little Collins Street.

Coffee with a conscience

‘Every single cup doing the most good it can do. Ethically sourced beans, bought from women-led farms. At STREAT, for every $10 you spend, you contribute 10 minutes of cafe hospitality training for a vulnerable young person.’ STREAT – various city locations.

Check out the latest coffee innovations, grab a brew from the best roasters in the country and meet the farmers at the International Coffee Expo in Melbourne from 27 to 30 September. And find out how liquid lightning has powered Melbourne since the gold rush.