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New report highlights consumption trends in the Australian coffee market


MILAN – Payments company Square, in partnership with the Specialty Coffee Association, has launched its 2018 Square Australian Coffee Report, crunching data from the millions of coffees sold on the Square platform across hundreds of outlets nationwide.

Despite total sales decreasing from 43 per cent to 33 per cent since 2016, the latte still reigns supreme as the country’s most popular coffee drink. Hipster favourite, the flat white, remained a staple claiming 24 per cent of coffee sold, but the big mover was the resurgence of the cappuccino. Sales jumped from 12 per cent to 19 per cent showing that foam is back – especially in New South Wales where it landed the top spot.

Matcha-infused coffee led the march of flavour-infused coffee sales with an incredible 80 per cent upturn. For the tea drinkers, Chai was again the most popular order, followed closely by matcha, English breakfast and earl grey.

Non-dairy milk alternatives are becoming ever more popular in cafes. While soy remained the most popular choice, nut-based alternatives are gaining momentum with almond, coconut, macadamia and cashew milk rounding out the top five most popular.


The 2018 Square Australian Coffee Report reveals that prices across the board were up only a few cents from 2017. Other key findings showed:

  • Coffee drinkers in the Northern Territory (NT) spend on average $1 more on their beverages than consumers in New South Wales.
  • Australians still spend more on the sweeter flavours of mocha and chai.
  • The cheapest coffee in each state is still the traditional long black – the only coffee that costs less than $4 on average.
  • The majority of consumers (54 per cent) choose to pay with card over cash.

The key research outcomes are illustrated in this infographic:

Peter Giuliano, Chief Research Officer at the Specialty Coffee Association, said, “The independent coffee shop is an integral part of so many neighbourhoods. It’s a space where communities come together. But with that independence comes the unique challenges of running a small business, while seeking to make coffee more sustainable from the farmer to the barista. In order to achieve both, information is critical. That’s why we are thrilled to share these insights, ultimately helping independent coffee shops make their businesses more sustainable.”

Ben Pfisterer, Australian Country Manager at Square, said, “Square is passionate about empowering all business owners to run and grow their operations more efficiently. That’s why we provide thousands of coffee shops across Australia with an affordable payment solution and intuitive free software to help them make sales and analyse that sales data to inform business decisions and compete more effectively.”