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Cashing in on Australia's Robust Caffeine Economy

Coffee shops have multiplied quicker than any other food and beverage enterprise, but for how much longer? With only a few ‘hiccups’ since its worldwide inception, it seems a never ending fairy tale for the second most sought commodity on the planet. So, checking in with a 7% annual growth rate, should the recent price disparity per cup across our major cities be of concern?

While 2014 saw poor crop conditions in Brazil account for an extremely volatile period, coffee bounced back to prove how resilient and mercilessly lucrative its market has become. Even with price fluctuations over the continent raising concerns over longevity, Melbourne café owner Troy Benjamin insists coffee lovers will continue to fork out for the ‘luxury drug’ regardless of rising prices in the big smoke.

“We’re not worried about growth in the per cup price, we're more interested in people enjoying coffee in greater numbers.”  Freddy Parsons, owner of Higher Grounds, Perth City.

Meanwhile, in the same SMH article, Paul Geshos of Mecca Espresso in Sydney has stressed that business rates are increasing at a greater rate than the cost of the average cup, but maintains that “price isn’t an indication of whether it’s going to be good or not.” He’s also pinpointed three key factors for a consistently high turnover, courtesy of his considerable experience: 1) Hospitality, 2) Quality, and 3) Environment.


“Coffee is increasingly becoming about reputation.” Sarah Hendricks, co-owner of Bondi's Porch and Parlour.

Ninety percent of Mecca Espresso’s business in Sydney is from returning customers. This isn’t purely down to ‘service with a smile’, but rather a combination of factors. For example, the 'vibe' and ambience of a coffee shop is intrinsically linked with the coffee drinking experience. When your local customers are happy to soak up the atmosphere and exchange pleasantries at will, keep up the same service to ensure they’ll come again.

Making Quality Coffee is a Precise Science

Behind the smiling baristas and scenes from Havanna on the walls, the business of coffee depends largely on your product range and increasingly, exclusive blends. The chilli-chocolate confectionary trend showed us how an existing flavour combination suddenly exploded onto the worldwide market, achieving absurd levels of popularity with Lindt’s Chocolate Chilli bar having its own Facebook fan page, for example.

Today, thankfully, our machines have evolved to cater for such experimentation. While 'fully loaded' pressure machines remain the pinnacle of café equipment they simply don’t suit every establishment, which is why small to medium duty machines may reap more benefits in a discreet setting and keep your maintenance costs down to a minimum. Keeping your milk fresh and within arm’s reach with an under counter fridge also helps to speed up processes, but check its proximity to any heat sources before the installation goes ahead.

Variety is the spice of life

Americano, mint-frosted chocolate mocha or hazelnut toffee latte? If the most seasoned of coffee veterans are willing to try something new each time, then there is always scope to create something new and exciting for your customers and create a buzz. Having an adjustable coffee grinder will allow you to experiment with different methods, perhaps try a cold- pressed coffee for a change.

When it comes to fresh styles and techniques: the only limit is your imagination.


Successful cafés tend to focus heavily on lifestyle and culture which is often reflected in the artwork. However, attractive and comfortable furniture can be achieved for a relatively little expense and help to create a warm, inviting interior decor. Bright colour schemes naturally draw the eye too, rich red coffee cups are a timeless addition to any trendy haunt, whereas taller latte cups are essential for those frothy tops. When establishing a new coffee shop, there’s usually one or two items which slip through the net, of which milk thermometers and cup warmers are common culprits.

Read more on our café launching tips for further analysis of café equipment and handy hints.

In the meantime, hop aboard and ramp up your business with Nisbets. 

By Jeff Gibson

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