A Flat White, please!

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As a Student from Sweden I am quite familiar with the idea of drinking coffee constantly during my presence at university. The lectures have a 15minutes break, where you have the chance of keeping your precious caffeine-level as high as possible. As one hand is occupied holding the holy cup the other one seems to be filled with a cinnamon roll. But this is not mandatory. However, when I began to study at Melbourne University I felt it was rather natural to look for a coffee container and some paper-cups around it to maintain my new developed need for coffee. Thus, I started to look for a coffee-distribution place everywhere; I was even expecting some serving stations. At last I entered the Union House which seems to inhabit all snack bars, shops and various mini restaurants where you can purchase food from; there is no cafeteria as at Malmoe University. As I strolled around the campus, which is rather huge and confusing, but looks like Hogwarts (see pictures attached which traces my search for coffee), I experienced my first cultural shock: There is no ‘brygg-kaffe’ served. Not even at Uni.  My search for a coffee container and a smiling blond cafeteria staff member handing me a paper cup in which I can pour in the black gold for a cheap prize was in vain.

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Coffee is essential during my studies, especially when a deadline runs short, coffee needs to be close. In Melbourne I encountered a different kind of coffee culture, not the entire loss of it. I found was the total admiration of coffee. Coffee at University seems to be not simply black, maybe with a hint of milk; it seems to be: cappuccino, latte macchiato and flat white (?), freshly made from pressed coffee beans (It wouldn’t even surprise me if they have an own roaster behind the various coffee shops). I do hope you start wondering what a ‘flat white’ is. I certainly did. As the Swede likes to drink coffee during his work-time preferably black, the Australian likes to enjoy their coffee with a lot of milk (here you can chose naturally between soja-milk, non-fat milk, lactose free milk and normal milk), and a flat white is basically a coffee with so much milk that just a delicate hint of coffee can be detected.

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In Melbourne, a city adorably proud of its coffee serving, each speciality you order is topped by fine foam; cappuccinos are even sprinkled with chocolate powder. No doubt, it is possible to find such coffee in Malmo too, but at my home University the students keep strictly to the ‘more caffeine the better’ method.  It might not be the most life-changing event which I came across during my exchange but it struck me how the small simple changes are the ones which surprise.

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About Charlotte

The fall of the Berlin wall was shortly followed by my birth in 1990 in Hamburg/ Germany. My parents were blessed with a polite little girl who soon developed to overcome her lack of beauty with being quite funny. I grew up in the remarkable city of Hamburg, being left in the believe that it belonged to Sweden till the age of 6, when I started elementary school in ..Germany. My Swedish mother was eager to hide that we lived in another country than her beloved one; hissing Swedish flags, cooking Köttbullar every second day and showing me constantly Astrid Lindgren movies. Thus it is legit to say that I grew up bilingual. In order to understand social and cultural differences I already grew up with I started to study International Relations in the old hometown of my mother, Malmö, to catch up with the 'real' Sweden. Now, I feel my horizon needs to be expanded even further, therefore I decided to travel to the other end of the world; as far as one can go. Down Under, Australia.

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