Earlier this year, I joined the many thousands of Australians before me and made sunny California my new home—and absolutely love it. With good weather, world-class restaurants (including delicious vegan and vegetarian options), organic cafés, local farmers markets, and great fashion, what's not to love? But there's one crucial part of my Aussie life that I miss terribly—besides my family, of course—and that's the coffee. Now, don't get me wrong: Coffee in America is good too—your almond milk iced lattes are world class—but in Australia we worship good coffee, just like the Ethiopians do. Even the world’s best barista, Sasa Sestic, is from Australia’s capital city, Canberra—#justsaying—and Melbourne was voted as having the world's best coffee. So I guess you can say we take our coffee making and drinking very seriously.
But something has changed recently. I've noticed a few Australian-style cafés and coffee entrepreneurs popping up in the U.S., spreading their expat espresso cheer with coffee-loving Americans. From L.A. to New York and even Boston, Australian baristas are shaking up the local café culture with their new breed of lattes with crema on top. Take Paramount Coffee Project, which just opened in West Hollywood. This über-stylish café was created by three coffee-obsessed friends: Mark Dundon of Melbourne’s Seven Seeds, Russell Beard of Reuben Hills in Sydney, and Jin Ng of Paramount House, also in Sydney. We're not talking cold brew, drip coffee, or French press, either; this is what Australian publication Broadsheet describes as a "creative concept-coffee experience," where there's a real "emphasis on the quality of the coffee, paying tribute to all the hard work it takes to get the coffee to the cup." Even if coffee isn't your thing, the slick interior design of this café is worth dining in for. Be sure to sample its lamington-stuffed French toast or classic "avo on toast" and "scram."