Kiwi café culture really took off in the early 1990s when the first espresso bars opened in Auckland and Wellington. Auckland’s DKD in its upstairs/round-the-back location off Queen Street was a rite of passage for Auckland teenagers, who had to get their heads around the new and intriguing language of ordering good coffee. Flat whites, lattes and short blacks were new concepts back then.
In Wellington places like Midnight Espresso (still going strong) became centres for lovers of the black stuff who would flock there at all hours for their energy fix.
These days boutique coffee roasters have popped up all over New Zealand, churning out their own fiercely guarded secret recipe roasts. Here are just a few:
Roasted and delivered from their whole-in-the-wall roastery in the heart of Raglan, this coffee company provides the fuel for surfers tackling New Zealand’s best left-hand reef break.
Started in the back of a wind surfing shop a dozen years ago, Raglan Roast now has four outlets (Raglan, Te Uku, Wellington, Nelson) and sends their beans nationwide online.
Far East, as the name suggests, is based in New Zealand’s eastern-most city Gisborne. Established in 2014, Far East is new to the scene but staffed by a couple who once worked for one of New Zealand’s largest coffee companies. So they know their stuff!
Far East has a firm focus on the local market – Gisborne/East Coast – but they will deliver to wherever coffee fiends happen to dwell. It took them a year to work out the perfect blend, sourcing beans from throughout the world. And boy, have they nailed it. Rich, delicious, chocolatey and packing a big yet soft punch.
The Strictly Coffee Company
As morning temperatures drop Southland locals really need that extra oomph to get their days started. TSCC has been blending and roasting great coffee for over 15 years and now supplies over 300 cafes throughout the South Island and beyond.
Their Bath Street café is a Dunedin institution. Visit their website for fascinating coffee facts, such as ‘there are 68 beans in a double shot of espresso’. Interestingly, legend has it that Voltaire would always have exactly 50 beans in his cup. Whatever works!
And when you’re crossing Cook Strait, you can enjoy top notch espresso made with beans from Wellington’s longest running roaster, Café L’affarre.
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