The maturing palate of Australian coffee drinkers is fuelling a fast-growing thirst for franchises that serve up high-quality espressos.
BIS Shrapnel's Coffee & Beverages in Australia 2010 report reveals that Australian consumers spend $10.7 billion a year on coffee when combining the spend of coffee at home and away from home – or a total of $594 for every Australian aged 14 and over.
BIS Shrapnel senior researcher Tim Emmerson says half the Australian population drink espresso-based coffee, consuming an average of four espressos per week.
“Further evidence of the coffee culture is supported by the importance of factors when selecting where to go for a coffee or what brand of coffee to purchase with coffee taste and strength and coffee quality the most important by a significant margin,” Emmerson says.
Derek Black, director of Cafe2U, an Australian franchisor that is now expanding into the US and the UK, says Australians are world leaders in their consumption of and demand for high-quality coffee.
“Australians drink 2.4 kilograms of coffee each year,” says Black, citing Australian Bureau of Statistics data.
“The coffee consumer in Australia today is very mature in their taste, far more so than in the US or Europe. If people were to try to give away bad coffee they'd find it difficult to give it away for nothing,” he says.
“You've got people you wouldn't expect ordering a macchiato and latte and drinking a straight espresso. Fifteen years ago you wouldn't have had a blue-collar worker in blue singlets and stubbies drinking espresso - now it's quite normal for that worker to order a latte.”
In its pursuit of serving good coffee, the Cafe2U franchise has developed its own coffee blend in conjunction with coffee roasting company Belaroma and all franchisees are trained as baristas. The franchise is a portable business that serves up coffees at building sites and sporting events and in office districts.
Black says coffee says even an economic downturn is unlikely to reduce consumer demand for the low-cost item of a coffee.
“To a great degree, coffee is recession resistant. The other critical thing is whilst people can bring a soft drink in from home, they can't actually replicate a good quality barista-made espresso coffee,” Black says.