Bryce’s Guide to Wellington Coffee Culture

That morning coffee fix is a serious business in New Zealand and nowhere more so than in Wellington.

That morning coffee fix is a serious business in New Zealand and nowhere more so than in Wellington. In this capital city, coffee is passion.

“Having coffee in New Zealand isn’t just about the caffeine; it’s this whole culture full of immense pride, creativity and community,” says Bryce Dallas Howard. “I loved spending time in Wellington discovering new cafés and trying different roasts. More than that though, I loved the culture that coffee creates here.”

“Wellington is a very artsy city and that’s definitely reflected in the coffee. There are so many different options to choose from!”

A real Kiwi coffee has to be great to be good. Flat white, short or long black, dirty chai… there are various forms but once you’ve worked out your preference the perfect cup awaits.

Flat White
Wellington’s notoriety on the world coffee scene began with pioneering the ‘flat white’ – traditionally a less milky brew with textured rather than frothy milk. The flat white now enjoys popularity in Britain and the United States but Wellington remains the original and best place in the world to get a perfect cup.

Know your bean
Wellington’s coffee culture is fuelled by the bigger picture. Typically Wellington roasters import their beans directly from farms and suppliers so they can nurture sustainable practices and support fair trade. I love Wellington’s sustainable ethos – somehow it makes the coffee taste even better.

David beats Goliath 
There’s real passion going into the coffee. The roasters and cafés are typically independently owned and fiercely competitive but they’re also mutually supportive. The global chains have never gained a foothold in the city because Wellington coffee drinkers are loyal, not just to their bean of choice but to the passionate barista who makes their daily fix.

Best of the Best
Wellington has a whole bunch of specialist coffee roasters who supply the local cafés with the perfect bean. If you want to make your coffee at home, you can buy your beans direct – still warm from the roaster.

Try Havana on Tory Street where you can grab an early coffee and watch the roaster hard at work. The Hangar – Flight Coffee’s headquarters – is heaven for a true coffee aficionado offering batch brewing, cold drip, Chemex, Aeropress or V60. Mojo is a Wellington success story with cafés now found in Auckland and even off-shore. Local favourite Supreme is one of the original Wellington coffee roasters.

Bryce’s top five cups

  • Hangar by Flight – 119 Dixon St, Te Aro, Wellington
  • Midnight Espresso – 178 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington
  • Astoria – 159 Lambton Quay, Wellington
  • Fidel’s – 234 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington
  • Caffe L’affare – 27 College St, Te Aro, Wellington


Coffee glossary

  • Flat White – A less milky brew than a latte with textured rather than frothy milk, and a double shot of espresso
  • Long black – Double shot of espresso topped up with hot water
  • Short black – Same as above with less water
  • Dirty chai – Chai latte with a shot of espresso coffee
  • Cold drip – Process of dripping cold water through lightly roasted coffee for a long period of time

You May Also Like