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Coffee Types

What is Magic Coffee?

Magic coffee is a common Australian beverage that is exclusive to Melbourne. The beverage is made of double ristretto and topped up with steamed milk. You can only find magic coffee on Melbourne cafe menus, so it’s a must-try beverage when you visit Australia.

You’ll likely get a puzzled look from the barista if you order magic coffee outside Victoria’s borders. Additionally, you can make the beverage in the comfort of your home if a trip to Australia isn’t in your cards. Magic coffee is among the espresso-based milk beverages. The drink is served in a 160ml cup size or 5oz cup. Let’s break down the coffee’s ingredients.

magic coffee



Double Ristretto

A ristretto is a short espresso shot. Usually, an espresso shot is approximately 30ml, while a ristretto is approximately 20ml. You’ll need a double ristretto to make magic coffee which is about 40 ml. A ristretto is made with less water, unlike espresso, so the final shot comes out less, sweeter, and more concentrated.

For regular espresso, the lighter and fruitier notes are extracted first, while the darker ones are extracted later. On the other hand, for the ristretto, the bitter notes don’t extract because less water is used, so the flow of water cuts out earlier. A ristretto is sweeter and brighter compared to espresso and that’s why most people love the beverage.

Also, the use of ristretto in magic coffee instead of espresso is an Australian coffee trademark. You’ll find that most of the country’s drinks contain ristretto, and it’s a common way to distinguish between New Zealand espresso drinks and Australian espresso drinks.


Steamed Milk

The milk used for magic coffee is silky, velvety, and has a glossy texture with a small amount of microfoam. The milk texture is quite similar to that of flat white. However, the milk is steamed only long enough for a small amount of microfoam and to add texture. The steamed milk shouldn’t be as hot as the latte milk which makes it easy to drink. Additionally, you can use alternative kinds of milk for your magic coffee if you’re a vegan. Alternative milk works best for your magic coffee since you don’t need much foam for your coffee.


Cup Size

As mentioned earlier, magic coffee is served in a 160ml cup size or a 5oz cup. On the other hand, a regular flat white is served in a 6oz cup or 200-220 ml cup. The 160 ml cup used for magic coffee fits the double ristretto shots, steamed milk, and the tiny amount of froth. In short, magic coffee contains less milk and is more concentrated than flat white. If you’re looking for a quick caffeine fix without having a large latte, you can ask the barista to fill the cup up to three quarters – this way it’s stronger and more concentrated. Magic coffee is strong for your coffee craving but doesn’t fill you up.


Magic Coffee History

Magic coffee is originally from Melbourne, Australia. The local cafe lore claim that the coffee is a result of an incorrectly made beverage. A barista in Melbourne served the beverage to a customer who liked it very much. So, when the customer asked the name of the beverage, the barista responded with the name magic. As a result, the customer repeatedly began to order “magic” and the beverage’s popularity spread to other customers, cafes, and regions.

Magic coffee is well known across Melbourne, and baristas in Queensland and Sydney know how to make it. Throughout Australia, magic coffee is ordered as “a magic coffee” or “magic”. However, baristas outside Australia are unlikely to know the beverage and how it’s made. But the good news is that you can make the beverage at home. Here’s how to do that.


How to Make Magic Coffee

To make magic coffee at home, you’ll need to get the proportions right, as well as have an espresso machine that pulls espresso and steams your milk. Alternatively, you can get a separate milk steamer. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making magic coffee.

  1. Brew a double ristretto shot – To make magic coffee, you’ll need double ristretto. To pull a double ristretto, you’ll need to brew a double espresso but cut off the process mid-way. Allow the ristretto to brew for 15 to 20 seconds instead of the 25 to 30 seconds used for espresso. This way, you’ll achieve 30 to 40 ml of ristretto. An espresso shot is usually 30 ml, while a ristretto shot is 20 ml. So for double ristretto, you’ll need to pull 40ml of coffee. For ease, you can use a double shot portafilter basket, similar to the one you would’ve used for double shot espresso. Equally important, use finely ground coffee.
  2. Steam your milk – Steam your milk until you achieve a thin layer of foam. Additionally, avoid steaming your milk too hot for drinking ease. For a silky milk texture, froth your milk until the 60 degrees temperature.
  3. Combine your ristretto with milk – The final step to making magic coffee is combining ristretto with your steamed milk. The ideal cup size for magic coffee is a 5oz cup or 160 ml cup size. Put the ristretto in a 160 ml cup size and fill the rest of the cup with steamed milk. You’ll need approximately 130 ml or 4.3oz of steamed milk.
  4. Enjoy your magic coffee

Magic coffee tastes stronger than flat white and is sweeter compared to lattes and other espresso-based drinks.


Alternative Melbourne Drinks


Piccolo is a beverage made of one shot of ristretto and topped with milk. Just like magic coffee, the beverage originated in Australia. However, piccolo has a smaller serving than magic coffee. While magic coffee is served in a 160ml cup size, the piccolo drink is served in a 90ml cup. Additionally, the beverage is served in small demitasse cups. Outside Australia, espresso may be used in the place of ristretto.


Flat White

The difference between magic coffee and flat white is the milk proportions, coffee proportions, and cup size. A flat white is made of a single shot of espresso and 150 to 200ml of milk. The drink is served in a 200 to 220 ml cup size. The beverage has a bitter and weaker taste, while magic coffee has a stronger but not bitter taste.



A cortado is more like a latte but contains less milk and foam. It is also an espresso-based drink made of two shots of espresso and 60ml of steamed milk. Cortado coffee is served in a 160ml cup size.


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