I remember how excited we were when our Aunt gave us her used percolator.
I didn’t drink an espresso til 2002, when I was in my first year of uni. Partly, the culture wasn’t established then, and partly the idea of spending $3 on a cup of coffee just didn’t make sense in my family.
What an amazing experience that first latte was. I’d gone vegan by then, so my experience of cafe culture, in NZ and elsewhere is entirely in soy and simple espresso/long black/americano. I find that in Wellington I can trust most places to make a soy latte or cappucino, but elsewhere I’m better off just getting a flat white. Steam burns through soy a lot more easily, so the less frothing in untrained hands, the better. I’ve done it behind a counter myself and I don’t think it’s that hard, but it seems to be for a lot of cafe staff. Vitasoy have released a cafe specific product which should improve things in NZ, for both the competent and the not-so-competent.
I keep a Presso in the office for the late afternoon fix. I find it makes something closer to a ristretto than an espresso, but that I don't mind.
This matches the way Australian cafes so coffee – if you order a latte, you’ll get a neat glass, not a massive bowl.
Yes. NZ cafes have wonderfully large bowls, so you can have the most aerated latte ever, and still get a decent drink.
Regarding the Nathan Field article... yes, sticking it to The Man is a factor, but it's not the main factor. Starbucks might be big in North America, where it basically started from a near-zero base. But it struggled in NZ & Oz because it didn't do its research - it ended up a late entrant to a well-established market (I wouldn't say crowded).
For lack of a better analogy, Starbuck's down-under foray is the Edsel Espresso.
You know, for all the tales of Starbucks failing in New Zealand, before the first one opened in Auckland in 1998, I wasn't a regular coffee drinker. There was DKD, but I can't remember many local cafes.
After work at Ihug one day, the aforecommented Dylan Reeve and I excitedly drove out to Parnell and had some lattes and stuff and felt all cool. And at the time the K Road Starbucks opened, I was far too terrified to go to the neighbouring Brazil.
For me, Starbucks was a gentle introduction to the world of espresso coffee. I haven't been to Starbucks in ages. It's usually for emergency caffeination purposes - like the desperate morning when I knew the Lower Hutt Starbucks would be a million times better than the awful coffee of the provincially bad place at the mall.
I've started drinking the 'Stumpy' from Fernandez& Wells (and one or two other Aussie spots in London). Does anyone know if this is just an Aussie term for a triple shots, lightly smaller version of a flat white, or what? Is this even an Aussie thing?
Any one remember the espresso machine in the c afe down Chancery Arcade? Don't remember the coffee as being anything fantastic. But is was a strange looking machine to a kid from Hoon Hay.
In comparison to some people I know, I am not much of a coffee snob, though every time I visit my parents, I have to explain to them that what they call coffee is not the same as what I call coffee.
But I have a friend who loves the caramel syruped, milky drinks they do at Starbucks, and I have never understood why, when you have any number of great cafes in the vicinity you would even walk into one. This is Wellington for crying out loud. Get thee to a Mojo.
Ahhh...coffee nostalgia. 40 or so years ago there was a place called Stewarts, downstairs in the Octagon, who roasted and ground their own coffee. If you walked past, the wonderful smell would waft you down the stairs......
Nothing to do with current post, but I find the quaint "old typewriter" font extremely difficult to read even with reading glasses. Please try something more bold and clear or risk discouraging myopic and aged readers like me. Cheers, Carry on raucously. K
Oh, you coffee snobs. Don't drink coffee or tea, never have. I love the smell of coffee but that's about it. So unusual is my non consumption of hot drinks that even people I have known for over 20 years still ask me if I am sure I don't want one. It is obvious how little I mean to them that they still don't remember I'm a Taurus either, which means if I never did something, then the likelihood of me starting to do it is virtually nil.
I have been enjoying the reminiscences of the cafes, though. DKD was a great hangout, with it's luscious Chocolate Cake, and I used to LOVE the tofu burgers at Domino's. And may I put a shout out to the lovely man who used to own the, was it called the Yoghurt Chalet?, in Victoria St?
Oh, you coffee snobs.
True dat'. Actually, speaking of coffee geeks (my preference to 'snobs' ;-), haven't heard from Sofie. Given our shared passion for Atomic coffee machines, thought she would be on here. Hope all is well.
Please try something more bold and clear or risk discouraging myopic and aged readers like me. Cheers, Carry on raucously. K
In case you're still looking now, there's a little link bottom right which says
Fonts by Typekit (disable)
Try hit the (disable) link and see if it improves.
ETA: Snap. Rich.
Kate: that font stuff apparently looks good on an iPad or whatever else the cool kids are using. To go back to normal, there's a *tiny* link in the bottom RH corner that says "Fonts by Typekit [disable]". Click it and you get a proper font.
Hey thanks recordari & RoO - I was suffering awful font display just like a old fashioned typewriter on my home desktop (though not on my work computer - a Mac), so hitting that disabled button fixed it! Thankyou.
I think Starbucks enables the construction of a hierarchy; proper coffee houses like Revel on K'rd, Peoples in Wellington etc, if these are unavailable where you are, then Starbucks, then Gloria Jeans and BBs, finally the small lunch places that you find serving expresso and the like.
Secondly I erred last night in not specifying what coffee I was talking about. There has been a range of coffee talked about in this thread; 1) brew at home coffee, 2) home made espresso 3) espresso coffee found at small independents like Revel, People's, Bambina in Ponsonby etc 4) Starbucks espresso coffee and by extension Glory Jeans etc, 5) espresso coffee found at lunchbars in provincial towns/localities 6) smaller chains like Robert Harris / BB's, espresso coffee 7) drip / brewed coffee found at Starbucks, lunchbars, Robert Harris etc.
I prefer brew at home coffee, and if unavailable then Starbucks drip coffee. If either are not available, then I get grumpy or alternatively go to the supermarket to get beans if I can.
Talk of the number of different places in Auckland in the mid to late 80s (DKD for example, and Java Jive in Three Lamps) would make for interesting cultural history, so I'm hoping someone is currently researching this era for publication!
I think Robert Harris deserves a creditable mention in all this. According to their website;
Having developed a taste for freshly ground Italian coffee during service in World War Two, Robert Harris was determined to awaken tastebuds in New Zealand. He developed his knowledge of blends and roasting, and in 1972 he launched his own brand.
The next chapter in the story came about when Murray and Val Connelly took over the business after the death of Robert Harris in 1979. They introduced the Robert Harris brand into supermarkets where, to this day, it remains the number one brand of fresh coffee.
As the brand’s popularity grew, Murray and Val opened cafés in Parnell, Takapuna, Remuera and Wellington.
A mainstream approach, but pioneering nonetheless. Of course, like Atomic, Cerebos Greggs now owns them.
I was most pissed off that the RH in Taupo shut it's doors. On a road trip, is there anything quite as fabulous as asparagus rolls for elevenses?
Speaking of which, The Fridge in Kingsland, opposite Neighbourhood Bar, makes the most dangerously good lamington, and a decent coffee to boot.
My mother took me to Olivers cafe in Parnell rd in the mid 70s for my first cappucino, made with a nice big hissing Italian expresso machine. I remember her telling me this was "real" coffee, so expresso machines and coffee culture isn't that new as other have testified.
I used to be part of the co-op that ran Just Desserts, first in Airedale St (the old Island of Real building - destroyed for Mayoral Drive) then over in Khartoum Place. We made bog-standard drip coffee, but introduced "the bottomless cup" idea, thanks to Christine Herzog (co-founder with Bruce Burnett) and her US background.
We were one of the only three cafes open late in Auckland (as I recall )- along with John's Diner (the artist John Reynolds) and then The Open Late, then followed by DKD.
Starbucks is shit.
We had an Atomic machine in our house that was used twice a day, every day and even taken camping and used on a white spirit primus stove... In the late 1960's. Beans came from a little specialized coffe and tea shop in an alley off Garden Place in Hamilton. So coffee a recent development in NZ!!?
Oh yeah and you notice I didn't say "barista"
I like the loaning of the word, in that it gives a whole new meaning to "being admitted to the bar" (a privileged that more than one local barista ought to see revoked.) It also leads to the always delicious phenomenon of cafes advertising for barristers.
Mentioning lamingtons. If you are ever travelling from Whanganui to Taranaki stop at the Windermere berry farm not far out of Whanganui, where there is a new cafe which not only makes wonderful fresh berry icecreams, but the lamingtons also have just picked boysenberries in them (but probably only in season). The coffee is not bad either.
Ahhh, yes, Just Deserts...
and then The Open Late,
Oh, the Open Late, champion of the "special coffee" -- which, iirc, was made possible by an amendment to licensing laws. Saw the dawn a few times there. Inevitable, given that we had to drink quite a lot of coffee to get an alcohol buzz on. Good jukebox, but.
I further seem to recall rumours that the startup capital for the place had an, er, interesting origin.
And it's catching. The modern New Zealand and Australian approach to coffee and cafes is feted in London, where there is a miserable lookalike Starbucks on every second corner.
This is true, but bizarre to see in action. It's even making its way to my out-of-the-way, Daily Mail infested corner of North Bucks. Doing the shopping late one night at the bleak mall on the edge of the estate I was living on last year, I spied a big friendly poster on the window of the local Costa's. "Coming Soon: The Flat White." Complete with picture of an NZ-style flat white, with silver fern froth decoration. It was the most surreal thing.
Of course, the British still don't really get coffee, particularly the fact that a barista needs actual, you know, coffee-making skills as well as a machine. The Costa flat white not only looks like a good colour photocopy of a New Zealand flat white, it also tastes like what I imagine that would be like. There are strong hints of ... er, nothing, with undertones of ... um ... nothing much. But at least they're having a go.
Oddly enough, the best coffee in this particular windswept-concrete wasteland can be had at the local branch of GBK. It still cracks me up that there actually is a local branch of GBK, but they appear to train their local baristas and source decent beans. So, I can get beetroot in my burgers and something that tastes a little like a Wellington cup of coffee. Maybe.