Photo by Emma West

Coffee from Wellington, New Zealand is something I hold near and dear to my heart. Even on the windiest days and running late for uni, I would stop by a small café called “Jack’s Bakery” for a flat white. Many of us would probably give little thought of the coffee-making process, but luckily Wellington is filled with people who make it into an art form. Before your perfect cuppa is placed in front of you there have been many heartfelt hours given over to sourcing, roasting, grinding and blending. With more coffee shops per capita than any other city, CNN ranked Wellington one of the top 8 international coffee destinations.

I had the awesome experience to take a tour with ISA , International Studies Abroad,  in Havana Coffee Works to take a look into how Wellingtons roast their coffee beans. From using biodegradable-packing wherever possible, to safeguarding social equality and environmental preservation, Havana produces their coffee with the highest of love. They seek out the best beans for their coffee and found 16 origins around the world, knowing each farmer personally before trading with them. Farmers roast their beans in their origins to keep the taste authentic and give their customers a true sense of their flavor and culture. Havana Coffee Works roasteries are popping up all around New Zealand, however their company stands out the most because of their originality, sustainability, and force behind fair trades.

This being said, Havana is just one part of the whole coffee scene in Wellington. If you walk down the famous Cuba Street you will be greeted with numerous coffee smells drifting through Wellington’s strong winds. One of my favorite places to grab a drink was Midnight Espresso. This café is eclectic in design with black and white tiled floors and polyester booths. I would often sit at the windows and people watch while sipping on a latte. The cool thing about this coffee shop is it stays open until 3 a.m., a time in which is vital for you and your mates to grab a cuppa while walking home from Cuba Street’s various pubs and bars.

Of course you can’t truly experience Wellington’s coffee without trying brunch at Fidel’s Cafe. Looking back at Kiwi’s representation of “Caribbean” food was lackluster; however, the coffee was phenomenal and that’s all I’m really focusing on. Often, my mates and I would meet up at Fidel’s for Sunday brunch and order flat whites while sitting on the patio. Later I researched and found out that Fidel’s Cafe actually buys their coffee beans from Havana Coffee Works and all of their other ingredients from local artisan producers and vendors. This is just another example of Kiwis pride towards neolocalism.

Photo by Emma West

Overall, I would say that if you want a taste of real steamed coffee you should go travel to Wellington. Just by walking a few blocks down Cuba Street you can see how the demand for coffee is high due the amount of shops in the CBD.  The quality for coffee is also taken very seriously which has made Wellington’s roasters and baristas to be the most competitive in the world. So, if you consider yourself a coffee fanatic I would suggest you go visit Wellington, New Zealand. One easy way to explore this beautiful coffee culture is to travel with ISA abroad and experience first-hand the taste of international coffee.

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Angie Baquedano is the Assistant Lifestyle Editor at Niner Times. She is close to completing her Creative Writing major and Journalism Minor as an Undergraduate and hopes to one day work for The National Geographic Society. When Angie isn’t swamped with homework or working her CNA job she can be found traveling, reviewing restaurants for Charlotte Food Adventures or taking up new hobbies such as painting with oil pastels (It changes depending on what inspires her that week).

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