Today’s (or is that tomorrow’s? … that wacky International Date Line) The Australian includes an article suggesting that Australians, and not Italians, may yet be the world’s greatest connoisseurs of fine espresso: The Australian: Aussies know their beans, says coffee grower [April 03, 2006].

Drawing back to their English roots, Australians still drink slightly more tea than coffee. And at home, they are among the world’s biggest drinkers of instant coffee. However, Australia is reputed to have some of the best espresso in the world — and with good reason.

After Italy, Australians have the highest penetration of espresso in the world — drinking it as much as Americans drink drip coffee. A massive post-WWII Italian immigration from 1945-1972 helped establish the proliferation of good espresso in Australia. Today, Australia also boasts a recent World Barista Champion, an espresso institute, and the world-renowned annual Aroma Coffee Festival at The Rocks.

UPDATE: June 22, 2007
CoffeeGeek recently picked up a related story: CoffeeGeek – Cafe Culture Downunder.