Wellington’s Best Coffee
I’ve been very excited about the coffee scene in Wellington for a while now. I was a little disappointed about Melbourne, but I think that was my fault and will try harder next time around (in March). I did some research before we got here but google can only tell you so much about a place, so with the help of @Wellington_NZ I asked Twitter where was best.
Now I like my coffee but I’m no expert, much the same as my position on wine. I have become accustomed to a decent standard of coffee and I know what I like, but don’t expect this to be a high level review into the depths of the Wellington coffee scene. It’s just a bunch of cafes I visited, what they are like and what I thought of them. Maybe it will even save the next person from struggling to work out where to go like I did. I will also name one place the “best coffee in Wellington”, but only because I feel like I should, any of the places I went to would have been a good choice.
A Cuban themed cafe situated at the top of Cuba street serving Havana Coffee. Bit of a trend there. We enjoyed the coffee and some toast for breakfast and eavesdropped a little on the two businessmen discussing their future marketing strategies. The cafe was fairly busy and a lot bigger on the inside than it looked from outside and we enjoyed watching the staff run around working hard. This was the first cafe we visited in Wellington so I was immensely relieved when the coffee didn’t disappoint, in fact it was really nice.
Mojo Coffee (@mojocoffeenz)
Mojo coffee roast their own coffees in a large roastery that is open for the public to have a look around. We popped in briefly and Sally was mesmerised by the machine mixing together the different roasted beans for whatever blend they were creating that day. We had a quick chat with a bloke who was having ‘fun’ trying to repair a new roaster that they had just received but that had been damaged in transit. We tried their coffee in a cafe on on our first day and it was good enough that I hope to drink some more else where.
Flight Coffee Hangar (@flightcoffee)
This was the last stop of our first day and was instantly pretty much exactly what I was looking for. Three blends of espresso on offer, detailed information about each blend and the roaster in the background. I enjoyed a long black of the Bomber blend and plan to return to try one of the other blends. Sadly I ran out of time before we could manage it.
We walked straight past this place at first, it looked like there was only one table and that was full, but we ventured inside and found the shop extended past the bar and next door. Sally vanished and grabbed a seat while I got the coffees in, made with no fuss by a super friendly barista who Twitter tells me is probably called Jed. These guys roast their own coffee just outside of the city and I think we were drinking their Brown Lightning blend, I’m sure it’s named for it’s colour and caffeine content but I can’t get away from potty humour. Still, really nice coffee.
This was a quick take away stop just off Cuba Street, it was pretty much a room with a man and an espresso machine. This was I think the most expensive coffee I’ve had in Wellington, but they have the strange habit of charging more for take away than drink in here. More really nice coffee, roasted by People’s Coffee, but it never tastes as good in a take away cup on the go.
Prefab Eatery (@PrefabEatery)
This place seemed to be focusing on dishing out decent food to plenty of people in an almost canteen style cafe, just a lot nicer. But they also roasted their own coffee on site so I had to have a long black before lunch and it was typically very nice. Then the food came out and that was great as well, very impressed that they managed both on quite a large scale and that the staff managed to serve a mess of different groups randomly strewn across large tables. Still, it was organised, I’m pretty sure they kept track of every order and tab despite having half a dozen different tabs running on the same table.
Caffe L’Affare (@laffare)
I think this is Wellington’s original cafe and coffee roasters, but I could be wrong. It is a very smoothly run cafe; we were in, sat down and had ordered our coffee without needing to give it a second thought. The coffee was, of course, lovely and I enjoyed browsing their little shop of coffee paraphernalia. This was another cafe that clearly also serves a good selection of food, with most of one wall devoted to the counter, coffee machine and kitchen, with the roaster off to one side. They also had some Don Pachi Geisha coffee on sale at $20 per Chemex, but I didn’t think I would appreciate it enough to warrant the expense.
I wasn’t sure that we would visit this place as a bit of research suggested it was most popular for siphon coffee and we weren’t being that adventurous (too many different coffees to try without trying different brewing techniques too). Someone on Twitter had claimed it was the best coffee in town though and when we walked past we could see an espresso machine taking centre stage on the counter so we popped in. We weren’t disappointed, they served up a decent cup of People’s Coffee and it was nice to drink some not in a take away cup. Plus they use an iPad as their till and that’s just genius.
We were pacing ourselves through the afternoon on Valentine’s Day as our meal wasn’t until 8:45pm, so in the early afternoon we popped in here for a coffee and a muffin. Aside from Kiwi’s obsession with serving muffins with butter, our warm chocolate muffin was just what we needed. They serve Flight Coffee here and it’s still good. Not quite as good as it was in the Flight Coffee Hangar though, this could just be because I really liked the cafe there or maybe I rushed it to get to my muffin, who cares, it was still good.
Another planned pit stop for coffee and a chocolate brownie later on in the afternoon, which is this places main selling point; it’s open after 5pm. They serve Havana Coffee so another good long black.
Customs Brew Bar (@CUSTOMSBREWBAR)
I thought I was done but I had really wanted to try this place so we found the time before we left Wellington for one last long black. The lady behind the counter offered me a choice of two coffees; a single origin from Sumatra or a Coffee Supreme Blend. I went for the Sumatra and it was really tasty, worth the rather long wait I had for it to arrive, but you can’t rush a good thing!
And the winner is…
FLIGHT COFFEE HANGAR
Like I said, everywhere we went makes fantastic coffee, I just like a place with a roaster and an easily accessible selection of good coffee. Please correct me if I got any of the details wrong or if you just plain disagree with me.