The Reason There Are Few Starbucks Locations In Australia

It may be hard to believe, but there are places in the world where you can't find a Starbucks on every corner. The coffee chain has more than 15,000 locations across the U.S., per ScrapeHero. Australia, on the other hand, only has a total of 61 stores – all of which are located along the eastern coast, as seen on the brand's website. Considering that most U.S. states have more Starbucks locations than in the entire country of Australia, we had to wonder why.

Are Aussies just not big fans of coffee? In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The country that gave the flat white to the world (unless you subscribe to the New Zealand origin story) can't get enough of the brew. 75% of Australians consume coffee every day, per McCrindle. About the same percentage of Americans enjoy a daily cup of java too, according to a YouGov poll. If Australians love coffee as much as Americans do, why don't they love Starbucks?

Australia has its own unique coffee culture

Coffee in Australia is more than just a caffeinated fix; it's part of the social fabric of the country, as Roasty Coffee explains. The birth of Aussie coffee culture really happened after World War II, when Italian immigrants brought over espresso machines, which yielded coffee that was richer and more flavorful than what came from a regular drip coffee maker. Australians gained a fondness for the brew, and consuming it became inextricably intertwined with socializing.

This is precisely why Starbucks hasn't been a massive success in the Land Down Under. The chain's focus on convenience, quick service, and to-go coffees didn't really suit the Australian coffee culture, per Castus. The brand also served coffee drinks that were sweeter and more expensive than what Aussies were typically used to (via CNBC). As a result, consumers didn't take a liking to Starbucks, leading to the company's lackluster sales and the closure of most of its stores in Australia in 2008.

Australian coffee culture favors a more hands-on, slower approach to the beverage so each cup is expected to be at a certain level of quality, especially in Melbourne, where you can find some of the best baristas in the world (via Roasty Coffee). It is even said that any barista who doesn't excel at latte art won't last a month in the city. 

While there are still Starbucks locations in the country, they primarily cater to international customers rather than locals, per CNBC.