How To Order Coffee Down Under

Australia is a long way from just about anywhere. And for Americans venturing Down Under for the first time, the jet lag can be rough — the time change can range anywhere from 12 to 18 hours depending on where you're coming from and where you're going (more if you're coming from Alaska or Hawaii). So for anyone arriving in the morning in Australia, the first order of business is to get a proper cup of joe. But this may be more difficult than you'd expect.

Walk into any café and ask for a black coffee with two sugars and a half-and-half and you'll likely be met with a blank stare. Short of commencing every coffee order with "I'm an American..." what can you do? Check out the table below for Aussie/American translations which we obtained on a recent trip to Melbourne to prepare yourself the next time you march into a coffee shop in Australia.

Australian American
Short black Single shot espresso
Ristretto Espresso with less water (stronger flavor)
Macchiato or "short mac" Espresso with dash of foamed or cold milk
Long macchiato or "long mac" Double shot espresso with dash of foamed milk
Latte Espresso shot with steamed milk
Cappuccino Espresso shot with hot milk and froth plus a dusting of chocolate powder
Long black Cup of black coffee (not always a double shot)
Mocha Latte plus 1/3 hot chocolate
Flat white Espresso with thick density of steamed milk
Filter coffee Americano served black (not as strong as an espresso)
Affogato Espresso shot served over a scoop of ice cream
Skinny milk Light, demi-crème, or trim milk (not whole milk)

There are a couple of things that are not on the table, though. Visiting during the summer? The last thing you want is a hot coffee. Try asking for an iced coffee, though, and you'll end up with something completely unexpected. To Australians, an iced coffee is a coffee with ice cream on top — a coffee float. If you want to ask for a cold cup of joe, try looking for a "cold drip" instead.

And, if you want to sound cool, ask for a "latte with two" — meaning two cubes of sugar (not two shots of espresso). Lattes are the drink of choice among trendy city dwellers.

There you have it. The next time somebody scoffs at the mention of people speaking Australian, tell them that when it comes to coffee, at least, they really do speak another language.