Until recently I thought Sydneysiders had a questionable relationship with coffee. Then I landed in Wellington.
It seems Wellingtonians (that’s what the locals refer to themselves as) can’t go two blocks without an injection of the liquid gold and the abundance of coffee shops is proof of their obsession.
But there are a couple of haunts which make the most coffee-obsessed individuals quiver at the knees.
Earnest on Garrett Street in Wellington is this industrial hole-in-the-wall joint which brews up a solid coffee, strong enough to shake off the early morning chill which often blankets the city. They keep it simple — there’s none of this latte, cappuccino, frappuccino nonsense — you can have your coffee white or black. But it’s always strong.
Milk Crate is another cafe whose love affair with the bean has grown since the early 90s. It’s something which Milk Crate owner Ben Lenart says has transformed the locals into “fussy” connoisseurs, which he says isn’t a bad thing.
“When someone lays out a standard of coffee, other cafes and organisations try and meet that and that raises the bar,” he said. “A lot of New Zealanders expect the quality from as many places as possible.”
Driving the growth of the coffee scene is an injection of students and tech entrepreneurs in the city, according to cafe owner Jarred Bishop.
Another Wellington institution, Mojo, is a chain which was founded by Steve and Julie Gianoutsos in 2003. There are now Mojos all around the city, across New Zealand and in Japan.
Havana at the top of Tory street roasts its own beans and distributes coffee around the city, going through about 6,000kg of beans a week. It has hints of strawberry tones, and is a super smooth blend.
While Flight Coffee Hangar is an aviation-inspired joint which thrives on shakas, good karma and smooth sounds.
You can even do “tasting flights”, which is coffee three different ways served side-by-side.
Touch wood. I haven’t had an ordinary coffee in Wellington yet.
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