If you’re craving a proper flat white, then look no further than The Aussie Bean in Old Town Orange. As soon as you walk in, you’re enchanted by its charm. Cozy leather sofas to hang out with friends, exposed brick walls that match the brick on the bar and an image of a friendly little koala stamped in various spots around the coffee shop. And as an homagé to his home, Gavin Wilkinson (along with his wife, Natalie), has an Australian flag hanging up on one of the walls – right next to the American flag, his adopted home. A proper fit for a coffee shop that’s giving us Americans a taste of the good life down under.
Since one of our best friends is from Melbourne and she raves about the coffee there, we had to come see what the fuss was about with Australian style coffee. How different could it be from American coffee anyways?? And now that we’ve come to The Aussie Bean a handful of times, we get it. Just like a Tim Tam Slam and sausage rolls with tomato sauce, it was love at first taste. It’s the type of place that you want to come to unwind with a friend and shoot the breeze over a cup of coffee.
So, what exactly makes a cup of coffee from an Australian coffee shop so special? We thought you’d never ask. A flat white is Australia’s unofficial coffee drink (more on the history of that in a moment). Essentially, a flat white is ristretto espresso and milk with a smooth, velvety foam in a 8 oz ceramic mug. Some may read that and compare it to a cappuccino or a latte, but trust us, it’s different, especially to Australians who are serious about their coffee. Plus, it gets served in a cup with a koala on it, so really what more can you ask for?
Now, we know that some of you are coffee or history snobs and you’re thinking to yourself, “Wait, are you mad? Kiwis invented the flat white!” We’re not ones to get involved in silly disputes, but it usually lends to a fun discussion so here goes the story behind the flat white: Alan Preston, an Australian, claims to have named the flat white when he opened his cafe, Moors Espresso Bar in Sydney in 1985. However, Fraser McInnes, a barista from New Zealand says that he made a cappuccino that was low in fat and so he went to the customer and apologized for it being “a flat white,” hence he was the one who discovered it. So, we may never know exactly where the flat white originated from, but it’s kinda fun reading about the battle of the flat white between the two countries.
But, having tried flat whites at non-Australian/New Zealand coffee shops, we must say that Aussies/Kiwis know what they’re doing. We can see why the Wilkinson’s decided to start a coffee shop in the heart of Orange County! To some people, it might just be coffee, but wait until you try Australian-style coffee. There’s a reason why Australia is THE place for coffee and coffee culture. Every little cafe down under makes an amazing cup of coffee, so much so that Australians prefer those over a Starbucks any day. And let’s not confuse that with snootiness, either. To an Aussie, a great cup of coffee sets the tone for the entire day. It’s a way of life, kind of like the Italians with their meals. It’s an experience. A daily ritual to be shared with friends and family.
So, come start your day with a stroll down beautiful Old Town Orange and take in the wonderfulness of a flat white whilst listening to the sounds of the baristas slinging ‘spro and friendly chatter between friends (sometimes you’ll even hear an Australian accent or two…that’s when you know it’s good stuff). And you’ve been warned, don’t be shocked if The Aussie Bean becomes your favorite spot and you start using Aussie slang and eating Vegemite for breakfast (or at least avo toast). Their flat white really transforms you, almost to the point that we’ve seriously debated moving to Melbourne (you make a strong case, G) to enjoy the carefree Australian lifestyle and coffee culture. Until then, we’ll simply enjoy a cup of coffee at The Aussie Bean and reminisce about our dear friend G.
Wanna grab some coffee?
We’re always perusing through our social media, so let us know if there’s a coffee shop, cafe or even food place we need to try out! And feel free to use our hashtag #dailycoffeerun so we can see where you’re enjoying your daily caffeine fix! We’ve seen that the Celebration roast is out from Intelligentsia so we must buy a bag and try it! And if you want to grab a cup of coffee with us, let us know. We’re always looking for new friends and new coffee shops!