What Makes Australia's 'Magic Coffee' Unique

Over the last several years, Australian coffee culture has become the dominant force in trendy caffeination worldwide. Australian-run coffee shops can be found all over the globe, even in cities like Paris and New York with their own distinct coffee customs. Centered around the city of Melbourne, coffee culture down under evolved out of a post-World War II influx of Italian immigrants, whose espresso turned out to pair perfectly with the British custom of drinking coffee with milk (via The New York Times).

Australian coffee has become so synonymous with quality and sophistication that it even lays claim to one of the de facto coffee drinks of the last decade: the flat white. Invented in the 80s in either Australia or New Zealand — both countries argue they invented the drink — and made from espresso and creamy steamed milk, the flat white is famous for having a distinctive velvety layer of microfoam on top of the drink, while using less milk than a latte and less froth than a cappuccino, according to Food & Wine

But there's a new cult favorite coffee drink poised to steal the flat white's crown, known as "magic coffee." So, what exactly makes it so magical?

'Magic coffee' is like a flat white on steroids

Although the origins of the flat white are disputed, magic coffee is definitively an Australian invention. Originating in Melbourne, up until recently Latte Art Guide reports magic coffee couldn't be found outside the city. But according to Delish, magic coffee is making its way to the United Kingdom through the popular in-store cafes at retail giant Marks & Spencer.

M&S Café's Head of Coffee, Tom Rawlinson, tells Delish, "It's a really popular coffee choice in Melbourne, and you often hear coffee lovers asking for 'A Magic.'" 

The brand says the coffee is named for having the magic ratio of coffee to milk, creating a bold coffee without bitterness (via HuffPost). A magic coffee is made by brewing a double ristretto into a 5-ounce cup and pouring steamed milk on top, per Drink Stack, which makes it very similar to a flat white. The main differences are the use of ristretto instead of espresso and that magic coffee is served in a 5-ounce cup rather than the 6-ounce cup traditionally used for a flat white. 

Ristretto, which means "restricted" in Italian, is similar to espresso, explains Perfect Daily Grind, but uses half the water and a finer ground of coffee, and is pulled in a shorter amount of time, hence the name. Sounds like the perfect thing to order for trying to one-up the pretentious barista at your favorite local haunt.