For all the innovation that America and its entrepreneurs have driven over many decades, they still haven’t got a clue about coffee. The default option here is a tepid brew of dirty dishwater served in as large a cardboard cup as possible. Sometimes they’ll add ice and call it ‘cold brew’ but the only word that I feel does American coffee justice is ‘awful’!
Thankfully a new breed of Australian entrepreneur is making its mark in the Big Apple and helping to change the tastes of the locals whilst improving the lot for us coffee-loving visitors.
There are literally dozens of cafes built around the Australian coffee experience, not to mention the many successful bars and stores run by expatriate Australians. They have chosen New York because of the opportunity it offers, the relative ease of doing business here and the captive large population.
The Aussie ingenuity and subtle cultural differences are apparent whenever you walk in to one of their stores. The welcome is warmer; still courteous but more familiar, usually delivered in strine (despite the best efforts of globalisation, our accent is still quite a novelty).
I have concluded this reflects our British heritage which usually involves a less direct approach to conversation. For New Yorkers it’s all ‘how may I help you’ after the hello without room for conversations about the weather…or much else.
The Aussie approach seems to be making a difference. Our business people are respected, liked and doing great things in many fields. The Aussie takeover of Manhattan still has a way to go but I did notice my local supermarket now has a small supply of Vegemite available, clearly for the expat community as I’m yet to find an American who likes it!
From my perspective, I’m just happy so many Australians are making their mark on the international stage, proving once again we can compete and win in the most competitive market on earth.
Speaking of competitive, this will be my final comment before the US Presidential election; an election where the outcome is still far from clear.
Few seem enamoured with either major Party candidate but if the rallies are anything to go by, the enthusiasm for Trump far outweighs any support for Clinton.
That said, many are deeply sceptical of Trump’s candidacy; he is unorthodox, deeply flawed and somewhat erratic but he has tapped into a deep well of discontent.
Even Clinton’s most ardent supporters are deserting her in the wake of her personal, political and financial history. She is the poster child for everything that is wrong with the American political system.
Trump has highlighted those shortcomings and exploited them for his own ends. In a binary choice, I’d be picking Trump because he is the least bad candidate.
I disagree with a number of his policy positions but there’s a lot of what he is saying that I do agree with. The hostility with which he has been treated by sections of the media, some political insiders and the militant left only reinforces the need for change.
There is a very real sense the political game over here has been rigged against the people for a long time. The voters put the politicians first and they in turn put the voters last. Trump’s rhetoric seeks to change that.
Whether he wins or not next Tuesday, I suspect the impact he has made on the political system here will be felt for a long time to come.
Next Tuesday, unlike most of my colleagues Down Under, I’ll be cheering on a Trump victory. I hope there’ll be something to celebrate.