Having been here for a while now, I can start reflecting on the task ahead of keeping you informed on the State of Coffee in New Zealand and more specifically, Wellington. However, before I turn my focus on Wellington, I will want to start with my short stint in Auckland, the business capital of New Zealand.
Now even before I landed in New Zealand, I had been told to expect to find plenty of places that serve good great coffee. My confirmation of this started right at the Auckland International Airport. As I was walking around the airport I realized that there were actually quite a few places to choose from. At that time I didn’t recognize any of the names of the coffee shops scattered around the airport although one did actually stand out. This was Espresso Bar by Atomic.
After a bit of back and forth… aahhh… the ole’ paradox of choice!, I decided to get a latte flat white from ‘Café Down Under’ and the reason being that they had some really nice looking paper coffee cups! Since I didn’t know any of the cafes, it was simply a matter of picking one and going for it!
The first thing I did was to place an order for a flat white. After all, I was down under… sort of… and this was the land of the flat white… something I had been hearing about and very eager to try. I asked the friendly barista what the difference between a flat white and a latte was. All I remember as I was walking away with my order was that a flat white was stronger than a latte. Later, I was to discover that there was more to that… but at that time I was really tired from the long flight and not very much sleep on the plane…
One thing I have come to learn over the years living in the US is, don’t expect to get an even halfway decent latte at the majority of the US airports. Maybe it’s one of those things where the majority of the customers are unlikely to be back at that particular airport so the coffee shops can afford to stick it to the customer. In that regard, if you are really desperate for an espresso drink, you’ll just have to suck it up, grit your teeth and drink up. So it was a rather pleasant surprise to find a decent espresso drink at the Auckland International Airport. I was indeed impressed by the quality of the flat white which I thought was pretty good considering I was at the airport.
The flat white was a good solid espresso with a different but great tasting flavor of milk… something to get used to considering now that I would now be drinking NZ milk rather than US milk. I remember thinking that if I could at least get something decent here, I am bound to get even better espresso drinks in downtown Auckland and Wellington too… I was certainly looking forward to exploring the coffee culture here in New Zealand!