The One Kitchen Appliance Mosts Aussies Don’t Have

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Russell James Smith)

Although cafe culture is relatively new to Australia — we didn’t really have many coffee shops until the 1980s — we Aussies have taken to coffee like kangaroos to the outback … or shrimp to the barbie? You get the point! So strong is our passion that we have even managed to export our flat whites and long blacks to the rest of the world, with Australian cafes springing up everywhere from New York to Paris to Barcelona.

But what may surprise you is that, despite our obvious love for coffee, most Aussies don’t own coffee makers. That’s right: Go into any Australian home and chances are, you won’t find the appliance that is a staple in most American kitchens.

What Australians Have Instead of Coffee Makers

What you will find, instead? An electric kettle (something most Americans don’t own, much to the surprise of Aussies everywhere). Kettles are part of the very fabric of every Aussie kitchen.

My kettle is definitely my most cherished item in the kitchen. Watching the kettle boil provides the perfect pause in my day. Seeing the steam drift from the spout feels like a sigh from one’s soul. The first thing I asked for after coming home from the hospital with my baby daughter was a cup of tea, and now when the kids are driving me crazy I will go switch on the kettle and wait for the water to boil. It’s almost like a little sanctuary for me.

Stovetop kettles take far too long when an electric kettle will have perfectly boiled water in around a minute or two. Plus, they’re incredibly cheap — you can pick one up at Target or Kmart for around $10 — and, as any tea aficionado will tell you, a proper cup of tea needs perfectly boiled water. Microwaved hot water just won’t do!

Another Surprising Fact About Aussies and Coffee

The fact that we don’t own coffee makers doesn’t mean we don’t drink coffee at home. In fact, here’s another fact about Aussies and coffee that might surprise you: While we can be quite snobby about the coffee we consume in cafes (Australia is one of the only countries in the world where Starbucks and its empire of Pumpkin Spice Lattes didn’t succeed), the vast majority of us have a stash of instant coffee in our homes.

It might not be fashionable, but it’s convenient. And since a small cup of coffee in most Aussie cafes can set you back $4, instant coffee seems to be the go-to drink when one’s caffeine hit needs to be quenched. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, almost 75 percent of Australia’s annual coffee consumption comes from instant coffee.

What’s Next for Australians and Coffee?

That said, the tide may be turning in terms of Australians and their home brew. In the last few years, Aussies have started buying coffee machines — but not the style most common in the U.S. Instead, we go for capsule-style coffee machines such as Nespresso, or proper espresso machines. Some are even paying thousands of dollars to take barista lessons just so they can make proper coffee at home.

For now, though, coffee at home means an electric kettle and the instant stuff.

Your turn! How do you make coffee at home?