In an acknowledgement of Melbourne’s status as the coffee capital of Australia, McDonald’s opened the first McCafé in the world here. The concept was introduced in 16 other countries before the first US McCafé opened in Chicago in 2001. A survey conducted in 2011 showed that McCafé rated better than other popular coffee chains. It certainly helps when you’re heading up the highway.
The survey, by ratings company Canstar Blue, compared McCafé to other big Aussie chains, such as The Coffee Club, Gloria Jeans and Michel’s, for overall satisfaction and price. The fast-food giant had previously been criticised for the standard of its coffee and had overhauled the offering by training baristas and introducing better bean blends.
However, by 2015, Macca’s had well and truly lost their crown. Another Canstar Blue survey showed Donut King well in the lead, with an overall 5-star rating and a 4-star rating for the taste of its coffee. McCafé managed just three stars in every category except value for money and service, putting it at the bottom of the table.
The only chain scoring five stars for the taste of its coffee was Zarraffa’s, a chain founded in 1996 by Kenton and Rachel Campbell and based on the Gold Coast. The chain has nearly 80 stores, almost all in Queensland, with a few in Western Australia (check out the Kalgoorlie Drive-Thru next time you’re there) and a couple in New South Wales.
Zaraffa’s have plenty on the menu that your average espresso-drinking bod wouldn’t recognise. How about a Mocha float, for example? Or go crazy with the Banoffee Fusion – a delicious fusion of espresso, chocolate, banana and toffee, topped with freshly whipped banana cream, biscuit bits and caramel fudge. Perhaps it’s something that could only happen in the land of the banana bender. Or are they simply trying to out-Starbucks Starbucks?