Café Lumes

Christchurch coffee lovers have double the reason to step inside Café Lumes’ warehouse-inspired coffee house.

First, the coffee is roasted fresh on-site, and second, Owner David Pai always has an eclectic range of beats pumping from the speakers, ranging from jazz to alternative, and anything “funky” as David puts it.

David worked as a music teacher for many years while making coffee part time at a local café.

Eventually, his part time hobby became his full time career and passion. David opened Café Lumes in 2009 and it quickly became a town favourite.

Unfortunately, the tragic Christchurch earthquake in 2011 destroyed much of the city, including the 19th-century building where Café Lumes was housed.

“We lost everything. It took us 18 months to rebuild,” David says.

Thankfully, Café Lumes’ new bustling city location is thriving, and has once again become a popular community coffee hub.

David says the name Lumes is inspired from two of his favourite characters: Sherlock Holmes and Arsène Lupin.

“Like the characters, we want our customers to search and investigate the local area until they stumble upon the gold – which is this café and the delicious food and coffee we serve,” David says. “We love to make coffee for those who appreciate it.”

Business partner and Head Roaster Andy Norman, formerly of Underground Coffee Company, works his magic on a 15-kilogram Joper BPR roaster.

“Roasting has been a learning curve. It was the next challenge for us to take, but it’s the right step because we care about expanding our knowledge, coffee quality, and control over the product we serve,” David says.

Café Lumes serves Coffee Embassy’s seasonal espresso blend, in addition to single origins and filter coffees from Melbourne’s Silo Coffee.

“The market is starting to pick up in Christchurch and people are thinking of coffee like they do wine,” David says. “We want to encourage customers to sample different brew methods like clever coffee dripper, then try to brew it at home.”

Most of all, David says he’s proud of what he’s accomplished, and thanks all his staff members for their support and passion: “I would not have gone this far without anyone of them.”

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