Melbourne has a secret, one that you won’t find if you step foot out of Victoria. And that secret is the magic coffee of Melbourne.
Almost mythical, local coffee drinkers in the know will approach the barista and simply ask for magic. You may not know what it is, baristas across Australia may not know what it is, but Melbourne coffee shops know exactly what a “magic” is.
To put it simply, a Magic Coffee is a double ristretto that is topped with steamed milk and served in a five-ounce cup. It is a stronger version of a flat white coffee.
But, What is a Ristretto?
A ristretto is a sort of smaller shot of espresso. Espresso is typically 30 ml while ristretto is 20 ml – which makes a double ristretto 40 ml’s.
The biggest difference between an espresso and a ristretto, aside from being packed with a little more punch in a smaller cup, is that the water filtration process gives the two coffees different flavour profiles. Espresso has fruity flavours, but also darker, bitter flavours.
But a ristretto uses less water, so the fruity, sweeter flavours are brought out first in this coffee drink, and the bitter flavours don’t have time to filter into your ristretto shot.
How To Make Magic Coffee
To make a Magic Coffee, you make a double shot of ristretto, as outlined above. You can use an espresso machine if you watch it carefully – it is an espresso based, or espresso-related coffee.
After the double ristretto shot is made, steamed and silky milk is added. Very little foam is used in a Magic Coffee, and the texture is more like a flat white with a smooth microfoam finish.
The coffee is served in a 5-ounce cup or 160ml cup, but this cup isn’t necessarily even filled to the brim. It’s also served at a lower temperature than a larger coffee like a latte, so it can be enjoyed sooner.
What Beans To Use In A Magic Coffee?
The Magic is all about flavour; it's a specialty coffee afterall, so bean quality is of utmost importance. Given the coffee is pulled as a ristretto, using single origin coffee beans is our recommendation, here at Di Stefano.
So, if your keen to trial making a magic coffee at home, we're offering readers of this article 20% off our Rwanda Single Origin Coffee Beans.
These beans are light on the palate, but have a rich, chocolatey flavour. Perfect for this kind of coffee.
Use the code "MAGIC20" at checkout to claim the discount.
Why is Magic Coffee So Popular?
Melbourne’s Magic Coffee is hitting all the right notes with the coffee community because it is the perfect mixture of coffee to milk. And while it’s not everywhere--yet--it has become a not-so-secret favourite that is sought out by coffee aficionados and foodies.
The experience of drinking Magic Coffee is truly magical, and the fact that it’s an exclusive product that can only be found in the very best coffee bars, some of which are off the beaten path, means that it is building a groundswell of alternative coffee consumers.
Once you try Magic Coffee you will never want to go back, and when you introduce someone else to it they will be hooked. It almost feels a little counter-culture, just waiting to hit the mainstream and something that is prized for its exclusivity as much as its amazing taste and flavour.
It’s spreading outside of Melbourne--you can see Magic Coffee starting to appear in Queensland and Sydney, but for now it seems to be a solely Australian trend. Ask for it outside of Australia and you’ll be looked at like you’re crazy.
Still, if you have a good barista you can walk them through the process of making it wherever you go. Simply ask for a flat white with a double ristretto. The best baristas will be able to accommodate.