Wellington coffee again

After going around ‘reviewing’ coffee places in New York and necessitating a new section on my blog ‘Reviews’, Wellington cafes are not safe either. It’s been a while since I’ve openly commented on some, probably because we became regulars at a few places and I’m scared of upsetting people, but even though guys in cafes are greeting and hugging us like old friends which is absolutely fantastic, we’re experiencing their coffee for the first time all over again. And we want to get out and about and try some new places as well so I thought it about time to note down my thoughts again.

Our first coffee back in Wellington (apart from my own grainy attempt as the poor machine had to waken from it’s freezing 4-month slumber) was at Customs Brew Bar – man, that machine and that man Ralph are are partnership from the coffee gods. A flat white out of the slayer is like some kind of nectar. The consistency is like thick silk and the flavour is, hmmm, not sure how to put it without downplaying it, well it’s the pure flavour of coffee. No aftertaste or tones of something or aroma of anything other than good coffee. It was great to hang out in the cafe as well, it’s a cozy little spot, fairly quiet after New York, but nice to catch up with Ralph, eat his baking and excellent toasted sandwiches and use the wi-fi (snaps for that!)

Coffee at Customs

Next day, I caught up with our Supreme Friend in the Supreme Woodward Street store (bit of a Supreme groupie for those who don’t know) to get some beans and deliver his present from Intelligentsia in Chicago – not really the weather for a t-shirt but he was so appreciative that I didn’t regret squeezing it into my suitcase and finding a place to bring the packaging for it back undamaged. We snobbed on about coffee for a while and I told him all the cafe stories, especially about Saturdays Surf and he was most intrigued by the style of making coffee that has each one made individually, using a single milk jug. I got some ‘different’ beans, some that he told me smelled like a Perky Nana (banana chocolate) bar, which smelled to me like a banana cake. It was a different taste indeed when I made coffee with the beans later in the week, and despite being laughed at once for my description of the taste of a Riesling (although commended not long after for such a great description) “eeeuuuuuwww it tastes like the smell of a lemon rotting at the bottom of the fruit bowl” I again pulled out a doozy for the taste of this coffee “oh, it tastes like compost”. I try to be honest, and when I reported this to our Supreme Friend he said that it was not the feedback he’d been hoping for but 10 points for the ‘unique’ description!

During the week we’ve gone back to Fuel and actually the coffee was better than expected; we’ve had very sweet Supreme-style flavour for 4 months so we though the harder more peppery Fuel roast would seem sour but it wasn’t too bad. The Fuel taste.

Gotham had a rocky start (coffee-wise) when we stopped by earlier in the week to meet our boss – it was the busy morning tea time and the coffee was full of froth, to the point that the waitress asked if we’d finished our coffee when she was clearing the plates because it looked like we’d left half of it. However, this morning’s cup breakfast was superb. Good and thick and the Saturday morning taste I remembered.

Despite the rain this afternoon we went across the park to The Garage a.k.a. People’s – we’d been dying to get back there deciding when we were away that it was probably the closest thing to a New York-style espresso bar, especially an Eastside one where people hang out in a cramped some-what eclectic cubby-hole. It was great! The big table, shared by everyone, one person proud of making good coffee, not much food apart from a few cookies and a constant stream of people coming and going. The windows were totally steamed up and as we approached I thought that you probably just wouldn’t go in there if you didn’t realise what the place was because you couldn’t see anything!

198 - 17 July 2010 People's


#1 jon middleton on 08.30.10 at 3:01 pm

Great selection of reviews! I will definitely be stopping by these cafes when I am next in Wellington.

I am in the process of developing a site that provides a guide to New Zealand’s best cafés and coffee roasters, as judged by coffee-lovers like yourself.

I am looking for coffee enthusiasts based in wellington that can recommend great cafes such as those you mentioned in your blog. Interested?



#2 OrangeGirl on 08.30.10 at 6:23 pm

Oooo really? I’d love to become world-famous coffee reviewer 😉 Will email you.

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