Hipster Coffee, Craft Beers, & the Holden-Ford Rivalry in Australia with James Buchan

In this Interview In Depth lesson, we’re going to study a portion of the episode: AE 417 – Interview: Hipster Coffee, Craft Beers, & the Holden-Ford Rivalry in Australia.

Read and listen to the full interview here.

How to complete this lesson:

  1. Listen & read
  2. Complete the quizzes

AE 417 – Interview: Hipster Coffee, Craft Beers, & the Holden-Ford Rivalry in Australia with James Buchan

Difficulty: Beginner

Red text – Aussie slang

Blue text – Lesson vocab

Exactly. Yeah, no that’s a good… They’re generally pretty good things to do. It’s just a pretty cruisy kind of atmosphere you just sort of wander around, chill out, get food, relax.

I know, that’s it. And the coffee culture is really coming down here now and the last 5 or 10 years from Melbourne.

It has. Yeah. It’s sort of slowly started to seep down from Melbourne, hasn’t it? It’s almost impossible now to get a bad coffee within Melbourne, Geelong, Barwon Heads, Ocean Grove, Queenscliff.

Yeah, you almost have to go out of your way and hunt down the worst coffee.

You do. That sounds like something I should try at some point.

Where can we get the worst coffee in Ocean Grove or down the coast here? Yeah, that’s it. It’s really funny how that’s become such a cultural thing of café culture all over Australia, not just in Melbourne CBD, but out in the Surf Coast here. I’m sure it’s bleeding or seeping into the average as well.

Have Australians become coffee snobs?

The standards have just been raised.

The standards have been raised. Well, that’s it. I was in Europe a couple of years ago, driving through Austria, and we stopped at this little roadside, you know, restaurant kind of little thing, and they had the waitresses and the waiters, and they were dressed in the typical kind of German-Austrian kind of outfits, and they brought us these cups of coffee, and they were just awful. And my hopes were really quite high and the expectation was… and I thought, has Australian coffee ruined me? I think it has.

I think is one of those things, though, where…there must’ve been, you know, one café or a small group of cafés that popped up all of a sudden, that just that combination of whatever it is that makes a good coffee nailed. They got it right. And then all of a sudden, people went there and were like, “I can do this!”.

This is really good.

“It’s awesome and I can do this!”. And they’ve just slowly just migrated out and it’s just spread everywhere. And it’s happening before our eyes. I’m sure you could still go into some pretty rural areas in Outback Australia.

And still get a decent coffee.

Or a bad one.


As well as maybe a good one, but I think you’d still be able to find average ones, where there’s just not the consumer culture. But the funny thing is the tourist attractions probably a really good coffee now too.

Yeah, absolutely.

Like Uluru, in the middle of the… smack bang in the middle of Australia probably has good coffee.

They built an airport there. It makes sense that they have good coffee there too.

I know, that’s just amazing. It’s so funny that Australia has become such a coffee cultured nation. It’s really bizarre, isn’t it? When you think about out of all the world…

You don’t associate Australia with being, you know, amazing with coffee.

I guess another thing to talk about is the beer.

Yeah, I mean, that’s something that…

That‘s only come up recently too, hasn’t it?

Only really come up recently.

All of these… what do you call them? Microbreweries.

Microbreweries, craft beers. I mean, if I want to sort of put them down a bit, you’d call them “hipster beers“. But there just seemed to be several years ago not much choice. You had VB, Carlton Draught. If you were in Queensland it might have been XXXX. And then all of a sudden, people started to, much like the coffee, think, “Hang on a tick!”, you know, “We can make our own!”, or… and again it’s just exploded. There’s just so much more choice. It’s not just beers it’s ciders as well.

I think it’s the hipster culture too that just bled into the entire nation with regards to these kind of small products that are home-grown, home-made, you know, it was literally one man and his dog who found this thing and it turned it into something that could be consumed, that people almost never stray away from the really mainstream.

Yeah that’s it!

The big products no one wants the common stuff that everyone has.

It’s seen as untrendy.

They all want to be hipsters who bring the beer that no one’s heard of.

That’s right.

Or have the coffee that no one’s ever tasted. It’s so true!

I’ve went to a friend’s house recently and we were sort of joking about the beer a little bit, and it’s really weird. His brother loves VB, loves it.

They are a dying breed, aren’t they?

They are a dying breed.

People who stand by VB.

And I went to his house, and I said to him, “Oh, so what would you do if I brought VB?” And he said, “Well it would probably sit in my fridge for a long time and not actually get drunk”. He said “I would actually prefer to turn up to someone’s house empty-handed, than come round bearing VB as a gift for them.”.

It is an insult!

It was an insult!

That’d be like bringing ground, pre-ground coffee to a coffee connoisseur‘s house.

Nescafé Blend 43.

Instant coffee.

Yeah that’s it. My grandfather was like that at Christmas he drinks a beer every now and then mainly wine, but he had all those VBs and he didn’t know where they’d come from and he was like, “They‘re out because I want you guys to drink and get rid of them. I’m not going to have them”.

I was like well, I guess, I’ll have it. But it’s… Yeah, VB and Carlton Draught and XXXX, how would you explain them? They’re the most popular beers. Probably just ’cause they’re the most banal, like just really lacking in any kind of complexity or taste. You can drink them like water.

You can, they’re not a high strength alcohol. So, you won’t really get hammered off them, unless you drink a lot. They don’t have a huge amount of flavour. They’re not really light like a Corona. So, they’re just sort of in no man’s land. They do almost nothing for me. I’d rather have a glass of water or lemonade. And I guess, why a lot of people don’t like them as well is they’re owned by, you know, these big corporations like Carlton Draught, and I think that’s owned by like SAB Miller or something. So, a big multinational (companies).

It is so funny that just that culture, I guess, too of Australia are just going towards the small guys, you know, wanting to support locals. I mean, I don’t know where this is… What’s this? John Boston beer, Australia’s first brewer 1796. Holy moly!


But there’s some other beer that I’ve seen recently, and we went out to a pub in Queenscliff, you, me, Quel recently, and the beers we got were made in Queenscliff.

Yeah, that’s right.

And I think I saw them when I was like, “Oh, yeah! Hell yeah! I’ll get those.”

Yeah, absolutely.

One, I’d never had them. Two, they were made in this small town.

Exactly. It’s a good thing to support, like, a local business. I think especially in Geelong too, because over the last say 15, 20 years Geelong’s, I guess, manufacturing or employment scene has changed a lot. We had Qantas. They serviced the jumbo jets here. We had Shell, the refinery. We had Ford. They built cars here. And that’s all just disappeared. So, for someone to sort of set up their own brewery and Queenscliff and, you know, do something that’s, you know, is sort of handcrafted, that’s pretty cool

We need to start waiting for people to start making their own cars in their garage and selling them, you know, making one a year and selling their own cars.

I’ve always thought that would be pretty cool.


ST = something

SW = somewhere

SO = someone

A brewery – a place where beer is made commercially

A cider – an alcoholic drink made from fruit, usually apples

A coffee connoisseur – someone who’s an expert in coffee

A coffee snob – someone who has exaggerated and high standards when it comes to coffee

A corporation – a large company or group of companies authorised to act as a single entity and recognized as such in law

A decent coffee – a coffee of an acceptable standard; satisfactory

A drying breed – a kind of person that is slowly disappearing

A flavour – a distinctive taste of a food or drink

A garage – a building for housing a motor vehicle or vehicles

A hipster – a person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream

A hipster beer – a beer that is unique or quirky, i.e. outside the cultural mainstream

A jumbo jet – a very large airliner (originally and specifically a Boeing 747)

A local – a person who lives locally in a place

A microbrewery – a very small beer brewery

A multinational company – a company that has facilities or assets in multiple countries

A pub – a public house, somewhere alcoholic drinks, and often food, are sold

A refinery – an industrial installation where a substance is refined

All of a sudden – suddenly

An insult – a disrespectful or scornfully abusive remark or act

Associate ST with ST – connect (SO or ST) with ST else in one’s mind

Banal – so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring

Be out – (for food and drink, in this case) to be placed out for people to consume

Bear ST – (for a person to) carry ST

Bizarre – strange

Chill out – relax; calm down

Come round SW – visit SW

Come up – occur or appear recently

Complexity – the state or quality of being intricate or complicated

Cool – awesome; very good

Cruisy – relaxing

Empty-handed – having nothing in one’s hands; not bringing anything

Every now and then – occasionally

Get hammered off ST – get very drunk from ST

Get rid of ST – remove ST; discard ST

Go out of your way – make a special effort to do ST

Go towards – moving towards

Got it right – be correct; get ST correct

Handcrafted – made skilfully by hand

Hang on a tick! – wait a moment!

Hell yeah!used to expression enthusiastic agreement

Holy moly!used to express shock or surprise

Home-grown – grown or produced in one’s own garden or country

Home-made – made at home, rather than in a shop or factory

Hunt ST down – chase or search for ST with a lot of effort

In no man’s land – SW no one should go; an indeterminate or undefined place or state

Instant coffee – soluble, coffee crystals that just need hot water added to make coffee

Lacking in ST – missing ST; not having ST

Mainstream – the ideas, attitudes, or activities that are shared by most people and regarded as normal or conventional

Manufacturing – the infrastructure for making ST on a large scale using machinery

Migrate out from SW – leave SW and go outwards

Nail ST – get ST perfect

Nescafé Blend 43 – a brand of instant coffee

One… two… – Firstly… Secondly…

Outback Australia – rural Australia; the vast, remote interior of Australia

Pop up – appear

Pre-ground coffee – coffee beans that have been ground up previously

Roadside restaurant – a restaurant that is located on the side of a road, usually a highway or freeway

Ruin SO – destroy ST for SO – I use this here to suggest that being exposed to good coffee in Australia has ruined my ability to enjoy worse coffee elsewhere

Seep down from SW – flow or leak slowly down from SW; here I’m using this to figuratively to suggest that ST has slowly leaked into or entered ST else

Set up ST – establish ST

Sit in my fridge – rest or remain in my fridge

Smack bang in the middle of SW – in the dead centre of SW

Stray away from ST – move away from ST

That’s it – you’re correct

The coffee culture – a social atmosphere or series of associated social behaviours that depend heavily upon coffee

The consumer culture – a social atmosphere or series of associated social behaviours that depend heavily upon consumerism, i.e. buying stuff

The standards have been raised – the level of required quality has been raised

The Surf Coast – the region along the west side of Port Phillip Bay in Victoria with lots of surf beaches

Untrendy – not very fashionable or up to date

VB – A brand of beer: Victoria Bitter