If you’re not from Melbourne or you’ve never looked into the Australian coffee scene, you’ve probably never heard of Magic Coffee before. It’s made of two ingredients: steamed milk + double ristretto. Read on and get in the loop about what is magic coffee hype all about.
Melbourne’s magic coffee is made with steamed milk added to a double ristretto. The drink is normally served in a normal cup size- 160ml or 5oz cup.
What is magic coffee?
Magic coffee is what you get if you don't feel like having a large latte, but want a quick caffeine fix that’s not too “black.” This drink is made with steamed milk added to a double ristretto. Yup, pretty strong.
The thing is, you won’t find the magic coffee on the menu of mainstream coffee shops. This is actually an “off the menu” order. Argh! The mystery!
“Magic coffee” is an Australian beverage that originated in the cafes of Melbourne. But even then, you won’t even find it on the menus of cafes in Melbourne.
But according to one avid fan of magic coffee on Reddit, he’s been getting mixed reactions. “...its name gets mixed reactions…I asked for it at cafes that don't serve it the response is often a puzzled face, and I sound like a hipster ay cuz.” 😂
What do you need to do to get this coveted drink? To get your hands on this exclusive beverage, you’d have to tell your barista that you wish to order a “Magic”.
If your barista is cool with it, they’ll give you this 5oz cup of goodness.
However, it turns out that this “magical” drink is starting to make waves internationally. Now it’s not just an old secret menu item in Melbourne’s coffee shops. But you didn’t have to go all the way there just for a cup. You can definitely make yourself one in the comforts of your own home.
Simply put, the magic is served to you in a 5oz cup or 160ml made with a double ristretto followed by a flat white style milk topping. The flat white is steamed milk with little to no foam.
Most people believe it should also be slightly cooler. The temp on this drink should be about 48 degrees Celsius or 118 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is strong enough to satisfy your coffee craving but does not fill you up. So it definitely works for me when I feel too full or if I’m saving tummy space. I personally think this is a great coffee option after a big meal or on your way to dinner.
In a nutshell, magic is like a smaller, stronger-tasting flat white. Here’s a better look at the two main ingredients in magic coffee: 👇
- Two shots of ristretto
Ristretto is a short shot of espresso. It is a stronger coffee shot than the other.
You can say it is a compact version of espresso. It is smaller, more concentrated, and slightly sweeter than the usual espresso shot.
It is a result of less water involved during extraction from the coffee grinds.
- Three-quarters of steamed milk
The texture of the milk recommended for magic coffee’s recipe is similar to that of flat white. It is steamed milk that is glossy and velvety with just a little bit of microfoam.
Some even pick something silky enough for latte art as a bonus. There are also a lot of vegan alternatives for milk in magic if preferred since this drink requires little to no milk foam anyway.
What does magic coffee taste like?
Magic coffee is strong and smooth. It is a more concentrated drink that will have a stronger taste of coffee than milk.
It’s like a teeny tiny latte. ☕
But it is much stronger than a latte in terms of caffeine because of the use of two shots. You should be able to taste the intensity of a ristretto with the rich mouthfeel of a dairy-based drink.
The equal parts espresso and milk make it easy to drink for coffee lovers like you and me. Pretty tolerable even for those who like things sweet.
Magic coffee is a smooth, well-balanced caffeinated beverage. And you can save yourself a trip to Melbourne ✈️ because you can try making it yourself as long as you have your own espresso machine at home.
Some people are already altering the magic coffee recipe. Some people even order a skinny magic coffee.
Don’t stray, my friends! Here are other drinks on cafe menus you might get confused with.
Magic coffee vs Piccolo
Both piccolo and magic coffee may have originated from Australia, but the two can’t be any more different. Yes, Melbourne magic coffee isn’t the only thing Aussies can brag about.
Piccolo is fundamentally different from a magic coffee in that a piccolo is somewhat between a macchiato, cortado, and café latte.
It is prepared with a single ristretto shot and then topped with milk. A piccolo is normally served in a 90ml glass. This makes it more an espresso and less milk and it’s a bigger serving compared to your magic coffee.
As a result, a Piccolo tastes significantly stronger than magic coffee since there is more espresso in it than milk. The flavor of Magic is more well-balanced compared to the piccolo since it contains equal amounts of espresso and milk.
The Piccolo might be the better option if you want to enjoy a stronger coffee taste. Magic is more appropriate if you desire a subtly powerful yet smoother coffee.
Magic coffee vs Flat white
A flat white is made with two-thirds smooth milk and one-third espresso, which is very similar to that of a cappuccino.
The milk is not heated for long, which prevents it from creating the thick foam layer a cappuccino usually requires. A flat white is different from magic in a few ways:
- The size of the cup ☕️
- the amount of coffee ♨
- and the proportions of milk 🥛
A flat white contains much more milk than magic. This gives the flat white a milky taste.
If you like a regular-sized coffee with more milk, a flat white is the better option. Magic is more appropriate for someone who likes a stronger and smaller cup of coffee.
Magic coffee vs Cortado
A cortado is also another espresso-based drink. The espresso is combined with roughly equal amount of warm milk.
It has less milk and foam than a latte, but these two beverages can be very similar. Typically, it is offered in a small glass comparable to the piccolo, but minus the luscious froth.
Cortado milk is made in the same way as the milk in magic coffee. However, cortado should have less foam, resulting in denser milk. It needs to use a roughly 1:2 ratio of espresso to milk.
In this drink, the milk reduces acidity and provides a sweeter taste. The way the milk is prepared is one of the main reasons the Cortado tastes the way it does.
How to make magic coffee
Now that we know how magic coffee stands out, let’s find out how to make magic coffee in our own kitchen.
What do you need
A magic coffee recipe only needs the stuff below:
- Finely Ground Coffee
- Espresso Machine (of course!)
- Milk (Your Preference)
- Cup or Glass (160ml is recommended)
Step 1. Make your ristretto
Using your espresso machine at home, fill two baskets for brewing and pull two shots as you normally would for a double espresso.
The difference between making a ristretto and espresso is that you need to let it extract for only 15-20 seconds. You will likely get around 15-20 ml of the espresso shot.
Note: Make sure to wash your equipment prior and get rid of any old coffee grinds.
Check this video below to know how to make a ristretto 👇
In extracting espresso shots, the lighter, sweeter flavors come first and then the bitter, stronger ones come out last.
We are going to want our ristretto light and sweet compared to espresso. This is why we cut the extraction time short. We don’t wait for our coffee to get fully extracted or risk getting the bitter coffee that comes out at the end.
But what if I only have a drip coffeemaker?
If you don’t own an espresso machine, it is possible to brew ristretto shots using a Moka Pot or French Press.
Here’s what a Moka Pot looks like 👇
And here we have a french press:👇
However, you might not achieve the same result as when actually brewing with an espresso machine.
Step 2. Add in the milk
Next, carefully pour the milk into your ristretto.
Ideally, you would want steamed milk and there shouldn’t be too much microfoam. And it should be slightly on the cooler side instead of piping hot.
You can steam your milk in a jug with the wand just under the milk’s surface. Heat it until a thin layer of foam appears. You wouldn’t want to be making a lot of foam in steamed milk for magic coffee.
The goal is that you can drink magic coffee quickly and it’s going to be hard with too much froth.
This means you have to make sure to swiftly submerge the milk. The right amount of microfoam is easily achieved this way.
You should then froth it until the temperature reaches 60 degrees. This will ensure a smooth and silky texture on your milk.
After pouring in the milk, you can go ahead and serve your magic coffee. The best glass or cup for a Magic should be around 160 ml.
Remember that you should pour your ristretto shots first and then your milk into your glass. Also, make sure that there is a 50:50 espresso-to-milk ratio.
So there —your homemade Magic Coffee is done! Magic! 🪄
Now, you can even put simple or fancy latte art if you like.
Does magic coffee help with weight loss?
As a general rule, coffee is the healthiest when it’s black and void of any additives like creamer, milk, or other sweeteners.
So chugging magic coffee double ristretto with just milk, it’s arguably healthier. Also, it isn’t as fattening as most caffeinated beverages. It might even be a better option if you use vegan alternatives for your milk.
There are lots of caffeinated drinks making the rounds on the internet that claims of aiding weight loss, though. You have the “Magic Slimming Coffee” or “Magic Skinny Coffee”, where most of them are just instant coffee drinks marketed as a weight loss products.
Abracadabra! The Melbourne magic coffee and why it’s worth it
The next time you visit Melbourne, Australia’s coffee capital, you might try ordering a “magic” for yourself. This espresso-based drink is getting more and more popular lately. So if you happen to spend some time as a tourist, make sure to not miss it.
While a long black is more frequently found on regular menus than the magic coffee is, baristas in Australia are becoming more skilled at preparing it.
Of course, the beverage can be made by any quality Melbourne barista. Some Sydney and Queensland baristas are starting to catch on as well, and even the rest of the world. 🌎
If you can’t visit Magic Coffee’s home country yet, it’s easy to prepare it in the very comfort of your home. You just need to have your own espresso machine. Or probably anything to extract fine coffee grounds with.
What is magic coffee? It is a well-balanced caffeinated drink —not too strong —yet not as sweet either. It doesn’t require very complex steps to prepare either, which makes it greatly recommended to broaden your coffee options, so definitely give it a try!