Australian Coffee: Best Coffee Beans To Try In 2024

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Australian Coffee

Australia’s coffee scene is a thriving one, encompassing everything from locally cultivated beans to skilled roasters, all within a rapidly expanding coffee culture. Australian Coffee is well-known and has firmly cemented its reputation on the global stage.

While bustling coffee shops and renowned roasters often take center stage in Australia’s coffee narrative, there’s an emerging player that’s starting to gain recognition – locally grown Australian coffee beans. Cultivated right within the borders of this island continent, these beans are adding a new dimension to the rich tapestry of the Australian coffee scene.

Essential Insights: Your Guide to Australian Coffee

Australia’s coffee culture leans more towards perfecting the production process rather than focusing on growing the beans. Therefore, any exploration of the finest coffee beans Australia boasts will inevitably highlight the importance of processing, roasting, and the overall coffee culture that permeates the country. Regardless of whether the beans are grown domestically or imported, Australia’s geographical proximity to coffee-rich regions like Indonesia and Papua New Guinea has positioned the Australian coffee industry for success. This advantageous location, coupled with a mastery of coffee production, has helped Australia carve out a unique space in the global coffee landscape.

A Snapshot of Australia’s Coffee Culture: Past and Present

Australia’s journey with coffee began in the late 19th century, around 1880. However, the initial attempt to establish a coffee industry faltered by 1926 due to a combination of factors: the beans produced were of low quality and thus cheap, and the labor costs, particularly for harvesting, were high.

Yet, the aspiration to grow coffee in Australia didn’t completely fade away. It lay dormant for about fifty years until a resurgence of interest in coffee culture breathed new life into this once-abandoned craft. This revival was largely facilitated by the advent of new mechanical harvesting methods, including the world’s first mechanical coffee harvester, which made coffee cultivation economically viable in Australia again.

Since then, although the coffee-growing industry remains small, it has continued to flourish. Farmers have shifted their focus to high-end varietals and are increasingly interested in producing quality beans that can compete on the global stage.

Australian Coffee Varietals

During this coffee renaissance, several Arabica coffee plant varietals, including Blue Mountain, Arusha, Caturra, and Bourbon, were introduced to Australia from nearby Papua New Guinea, among others. The selection of varietals is often based on their hardiness, making them suitable for expansion into the cooler regions of Queensland and New South Wales. Some of these include Catuai, Mundo Novo (a Typica / Bourbon hybrid), and various African/Kenyan varietals like K7 and SL6.

Flavor Profile of Australian Coffee

Australian-grown coffee is typically lower in caffeine and is known for its unique sweetness, lack of bitterness, and medium body that carries chocolate and nutty flavors. Other flavors include ash, coal, and tobacco, hinting at the overall milder flavor of the beans. In general, Australian coffees tend to have a less intense profile.

Growing and Processing Methods

Most of the coffee in Australia is grown at relatively low altitudes, between 650 – 1300 feet above sea level. This could partly explain why the coffee-growing culture in Australia has always faced challenges. Australian coffee farms are typically small, ranging from fifty to a hundred acres.

Processing methods vary widely. Some cherries are dry processed, others are wet processed, and some use a unique process developed by Mountain Top Coffee Company called double pass, which involves leaving the beans on the trees to dry and then re-hydrating them to be pulped.

Major Coffee-Growing Regions in Australia

The majority of coffee in Australia is grown in the subtropical regions along the eastern coast of the country, particularly in the states of New South Wales and Queensland.

New South Wales: Australia’s Coffee Hub

New South Wales (NSW) is presently the heartland of Australia’s coffee-growing culture. Its subtropical climate, characterized by slightly cooler temperatures, allows for an extended maturation period for the coffee beans. The region also boasts excellent water and soil conditions, and while temperatures are cooler, they never drop low enough to harm the sensitive coffee plants.

Queensland: Coffee Quality in the Tropics

Queensland, situated on the northeastern side of the continent, is closer to the equator and thus to more tropical climates than NSW. Despite producing slightly less coffee, the region consistently yields high-quality beans, including some award-winning coffees from local estates.

Noteworthy Mentions

Skybury Estate

Located in Queensland’s Atherton Tablelands, Skybury Estate deserves a special mention. Among the many coffee cultivators in Australia, Skybury Estate stands out for its award-winning coffee. It earned a gold medal at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show for a coffee that left an unforgettable impression, delivering a “good depth of flavor in the middle palate and a long finish.” This accolade attests to the estate’s commitment to producing a wide range of top-notch coffees.

Mountain Top Coffee Company

Mountain Top Coffee Company, a notable player in Australia’s burgeoning coffee-growing industry, cultivates its beans in the nutrient-dense, red volcanic soil in the mountains above Nimbin, New South Wales. The farm specializes in K7 varietals, producing a range of internationally acclaimed coffees characterized by their light to medium body and a crisp, floral, and fruity sweetness.

The Uniqueness of Australia’s Coffee Culture

Stepping into an Australian coffee shop, one might quickly ask, “why is Australian coffee so good?” The answer lies not just in the region’s coffee-growing capabilities, but also in its long-standing status as a coffee hotspot. Australia frequently sets trends and remains at the forefront of the coffee world. As a significant importer of green coffee beans, the country imports a large volume of harvested and processed green beans, which are then expertly roasted for resale.

Over recent decades, Australians have taken their coffee culture to heart. Their unique coffee “style” is so distinctive that even large chains like Starbucks have found it challenging to compete. When Starbucks attempted to introduce its own flair to the country, it was met with resistance due to the deeply entrenched and distinctly “Australian” coffee culture.

Australians have a clear preference when it comes to their coffee. The nation has a particular fascination with espresso-based drinks, although filter coffee is gaining popularity. Additionally, Australians tend to favor lighter roasts, further emphasizing their unique approach to coffee culture.

The Present Scenario of Coffee Production in Australia

The coffee production landscape in Australia has traditionally been modest. To put things into perspective, according to AgriFutures, a paltry 1000 tonnes of coffee (just over 2 million pounds) was produced in 2012. This is minuscule compared to the nearly 1.5 billion pounds produced in Sulawesi, a part of the Indonesian coffee industry, in the same year.

These figures are largely due to the low-lying, flat nature of many Australian coffee plantations, coupled with the challenge of cultivating coffee plants under the sun in a monoculture setting.

This non-optimal method of growing is necessitated by the mechanization of the industry, which is required to maintain profitability and the continued existence of Australian coffee farms.

However, the availability of infrastructure and necessary machinery is less of a concern in Australia compared to more remote coffee-growing regions. Even though the conditions may not be ideal for coffee cultivation, it doesn’t mean that the Australian coffee-growing industry is struggling.

On the contrary, Australia’s longstanding love for coffee and its close proximity to numerous coffee-growing regions have ensured its prominence in the global coffee scene. The country’s interest in importing, roasting, and growing its own beans is expected to continue to grow as the industry matures.

Pairing: Optimal Roasting and Brewing Techniques for Australian Beans

Once you’ve sourced your Australian beans, the next step is to understand how to roast and brew them.


Given the relatively small scale of Australia’s coffee-growing industry, there is limited information available on the best roasting techniques for these beans. However, the generally mild flavor profile of Australian beans typically suits medium to dark roasts. The lower altitude at which the beans are grown often results in a subdued flavor that doesn’t favor lighter roasts, especially when compared to other island beans in the region.

However, there are exceptions. For instance, Mountain Top coffee is known to benefit from a lighter roast, which can help to enhance the fruitier elements of these beans.


For medium roasts, we recommend using a filter brewing method such as a Chemex. For those leaning towards medium-dark roasts, a steeping method like a French press is ideal.

Lastly, for dark roasts, steeping methods or even espresso-based brewing options are the best choices.

Top 3 Australian Coffee Beans to Try in 2024

Despite not being as abundant as other high-producing countries, Australian coffee brands have some impressive offerings.

For those seeking the crème de la crème, we’ve curated a list of the best tasting coffee beans from various corners of the globe.

Beyond locally grown beans, it’s worthwhile exploring the creations of Australian roasters who have honed their skills amidst the vibrant coffee culture of the South Pacific.

1. Skybury Estate

Origin(s): Cultivated in the Atherton Tablelands of Queensland
Process: Shade-grown coffee
Award: Award-winning estate
When it comes to Australian coffee, it’s worth sourcing from an award-winning estate. Skybury Estate is well-versed in the coffee industry, and purchasing directly from them not only guarantees quality but also supports the local industry.

A noteworthy aspect of Skybury Estate is their availability of shade-grown micro-lots, a feature that is uncommon in the largely mechanized, sun-grown Australian coffee industry.

2. Moccona Freeze-Dried Coffee

Origin(s): Produced in the Netherlands
Process: Freeze-dried for extended freshness
Award: n/a

Established in 1925 in the Netherlands, Moccona started exporting its coffee to Australia in 1960. It swiftly became a household name, and major supermarkets began stocking it.

Moccona’s Freeze-Dried coffee is a premium-grade instant coffee that rivals the taste of freshly brewed beans. The freeze-drying process, involving three stages of eliminating moisture from the coffee, results in a more durable product that retains its original flavors. You can expect a robust, full-bodied coffee with a powerful aroma from Moccona. Plus, it’s incredibly convenient to prepare – all you need is hot water and a cup.

3. Mountain Top Coffee

Origin(s): Cultivated in red volcanic soil
Process: Washed process and free from pesticides
Award: Champion at Sydney Royal Fine Food Show 2021

For those interested in savoring a specialty Arabica coffee that is free of pesticides and naturally grown in fertile, nutrient-rich volcanic soils, the Mountain Top Estate offers an excellent Microlot variety.

These beans belong to a Bin lot of pure (K7) Kenyan coffee, selected within the first three days of harvest. They are roasted to cater to different brewing requirements, including French Press, cold brew, and espresso. Enjoy delightful sweet flavors of apple, sultanas, and watermelon in your brew.

Stay updated on its availability and seize the opportunity to experience these high-quality Australian beans!

Final Thoughts

Regardless of whether you’re keen on the finest grown or roasted coffees, or perhaps both, Australia has you covered.

Although the Australian coffee-growing industry is relatively young, its positioning within a coffee-loving culture sets the stage for success. As time progresses, we can optimistically anticipate a consistent increase in both the quantity and quality of production.