Every Wellingtonian knows the capital has some of the best coffee in the world, but now the rest of the world is learning this too.
Asked to name cities around the world that are renowned for their coffee culture, Wellington wouldn’t be the first that springs to mind for many. However New Zealand’s capital has a thriving coffee scene and in 2014 CNN named it among the world’s TOP 8 coffee destinations.
The flourishing café scene and culture that surrounds the city dates back to the 1950s where milk bars started to sprawl around the city, followed shortly by coffee houses. These were fashionable places that became a focal point for poets, writers, artists and academic alike, to gather, share ideas and socialize over a steaming hot cup.
Today this culture is deeply ingrained among the local community and gathering for a ‘cup’ on the weekend is often just an excuse to socialize. Likewise, Wellington office workers are known to escape their desks and conduct many of their meetings over coffees mid-week.
These coffee shops are not just held in high esteem by the locals, but by the cognoscenti all over the world. Brewing coffee is an art form in Wellington and the city is jam packed with individuals who are internationally acclaimed for their barista abilities. Boutique coffee roasters are in abundance, each churning out their own fiercely guarded secret roast, and companies such as Flight Coffee, and People’s Coffee even have their own coffee farm projects in the quest to produce the perfect bean.
Founded in 1990, Caffe L’affare is a Wellington institution. This iconic coffee roastery and café has the look and feel of an industrial coffee packaging plant and equipment showroom, but with the bustling café atmosphere.
Brothers and sisters of the Revolution! Fidel's Café is where the coffee is Cuban and the hospitality is pure kiwi. Located on Cuba Street in Wellington, Fidel's is an oasis of good humour, fresh home-style food and smooth Cuban coffee, air roasted just around the corner at the famous Havana Coffee Works.
Memphis Belle is a specialty coffee house with ridiculously good baristas and a range of coffee from Flight Coffee. The space feels very ‘Wellington’ with big street-facing windows and a cluster of seating on the sidewalk. It’s a fabulous spot to watch Wellington pass you by on a cool spring morning.
What could be better than starting your Sunday morning with a cup of Red Rabbit’s Hopper blend and a sourdough loaf from the Leeds Street Bakery? Nothing!
Find the coffee shop and bakery teamed up in the old Hannah’s Shoe Factory – you may even be served by the owner of Red Rabbit Coffee Company, who came fifth in the last annual barista world championships.