"Nothing Beats Wellington on a Good Day"
Did you know that Wellington, New Zealand (population 400,000) has more Cafes, Bars and Restaurants per head than New York City? It is next to impossible to get a bad coffee in this city, and it is home to over 6 large coffee roasters.
After leaving NZ over 2 years ago, Jessie and I decided to dash across the world for a quick visit. I was there for 5 days, while Jessie stayed on for 8. While the main focus of our trip was spending time with family and friends, we were so excited to tour around the coffee scene, and made plans for a coffee crawl before we even arrived.
Jessie and I started our coffee crawl in the Windy City at Coffee Supreme’s new café, Customs Brew Bar.
In a country that has been dominated by Espresso, we were excited to hear that Coffee Supreme was bringing something new to NZ – different brew methods (including Clover, Chemex, French Press, and Espresso), as well as single origin offerings.
We were even more excited when we heard that Customs had a brand new Slayer Espresso Machine. We ordered a Sumatran Espresso, a Panamanian in the Clover, and an Ethiopian Sidamo in the Chemex. The coffee was fantastic, and we had a great chat with the Barista about the beans, menu, and his new Slayer, which is a beautiful machine.
We were told we should head up to the Coffee Supreme Roastery for a tour, so we did just that. Olivia Ihamaera-Smiler kindly spent some time with us and gave us a tour of the Roastery. It is a beautiful spot, so well-organized, and after speaking with Olivia and their Roastmaster, Jessie and I felt that Te Aro and Supreme shared many similarities.
Pics of Customs Brew Bar and Coffee Supreme Roastery:
Next stop, Café Laffare in Te Aro, Wellington. The smell of freshly roasted coffee wafting up into our apartment when we lived next to Laffare was probably what started my dreams of opening my own Roastery! Jessie and I used to frequent Laffare almost every day, we really were spoiled living next to such an incredible Roastery.
Tony Kerridge, GM of Laffare, kindly met with me when I started writing my business plan before leaving NZ over 2 years ago, and it was great to catch up with him now, after Te Aro was born 10 months ago. We have certainly come a long way since we opened, and after spending time with Tony, touring around his packing line, storage rooms, training rooms, roastery, and looking at the site of his new roastery, I am even more excited about Te Aro’s future.
Laffare is a Wellington Institution. The Café is always buzzing, and the energy given off by the staff, along with the amazing coffee give it such a great feel. We met with the 2 Roastmasters – they work on a Probat and can roast 100 kg at a time.
Pics of Laffare:
After an espresso, a cappuccino, buying an Otto Espresso Machine, a couple t-shirts, 4 packets of espresso beans, and 3 packets of their own Fair Trade Hot Chocolate mix, we were ready for our next stop.
Milk Crate. This café was also one of my favourites when I lived in Wellington, and was opened 4 years ago by a friend of mine, Ben. It shares a space with a book store, and is using a local roaster, People’s Coffee. The espresso tastes like dark chocolate, and has the most beautiful long-lasting finish. This is definitely one of the smallest, and best Cafes in Wellington. After a long black (which is the same as our Americano, but much shorter), an espresso and flat white, we practically ran to our final destination.
Last stop – Mojo. Seriously excited about this stop. Mojo seems to be growing and growing and growing. They have around 16 Mojo cafes in Wellington and Auckland, and they have just moved their Roastery from Wakefield St. in Te Aro, Wellington to Shed 13 on Wellington’s Waterfront.
It is so beautiful, your jaw drops when you walk in. They also roast on a Probat, and because this building is a historical building, it is open to the public, which means anyone can come in and watch the action. We said hello to Steve Gianoutsos, who started Mojo with his wife back in 2003. We also said hello to the Roastmaster, who is Steve’s father, and had just finished a roast of their Espresso Blend.
Pics of Mojo:
I was then rushed off to the airport (Jessie was staying on for another 4 days), and was loving that there was a Mojo café, a Fuel Café, and an Orb Café. It really goes to show how much Coffee is a part of NZ Culture.
I’ve come back feeling even more inspired, picking up new ideas from each of these Roasters. Perhaps what I was most inspired by was that even though these Coffee Roasters have all experienced a huge amount of growth, they still have such an artisan feel to them, and continue to focus on the Craft of Roasting.
If you are interested in trying some Kiwi Coffee, I have coffee from all these Roasters, plus a few more! Just drop by Te Aro and ask.