Major Sprout

Major Sprout Owner David Lee has created an exciting dining destination in the heart of Auckland, and word is spreading.

Major Sprout may be tucked away behind tall buildings in the “business end” of Auckland’s CBD, but Operations Manager Jessie Choi says it only adds to its appeal.

“Surprisingly, we’re more busy on the weekends than on weekdays. Lots of people have heard about us and are travelling from out of town with their families just to visit,” Jessie says.

Major Sprout opened in November 2015. With its light and modern interior, top-notch coffee and Korean-inspired menu, it seems Owner David has achieved his goal of sharing a little “Korean passion” with Auckland residents.

Light fittings by Melbourne-based designer Christopher Boots are a focal point of the venue, but Jessie insists the endless seating options are one of her favourite features. Customers can enjoy their coffee from bar stools to tall tables and a marble communal table that sits 20.

Head Barista Sam McTavish works the La Marzocco PB Linea 3 group, pumping out high volumes of coffee from Wellington’s Flight Coffee Roasters.

The go-to house blend is Flight’s Bomber espresso blend, a combination of Brazil, Colombia, and Rwanda beans. Rotating single origins are also available, with past favourites including the Kenyan Kirinyaga, Ethiopian Adado, and Colombia La Reforma. A Fetco brewer and cold brew are also available.

Major Sprout is also experimenting with the latest craze to hit Melbourne cafés – rainbow lattes. “We do matcha lattes, golden [turmeric] lattes, beetroot and chai, adding a matching flavoured marshmallow to each drink,” Jessie says. “Our customers just love it. We have lots of customers come in just to try these coloured coffees.”

Major Sprout’s food menu delivers a generous selection of vegetarian, vegan, gluten and lactose-free options. It caters for both the health-conscious and those after something a little naughty.

There’s also a little twist of Korean, such as the BiBimBap, made with quinoa rice, tofu crumble, a 62-degree hens egg, sautéed vegetables, chilli jam, and kimchi.

“We want people to feel welcomed and have the best experience at Major Sprout,” Jessie says.

7010 Your Local

The best way Claris Jones-White defines 7010 is a “testament to her home town” – made by locals, for locals, with all her favourite things in the one spot.

“There is not one single item in 7010 that is not from Nelson. Every product including cold drink, chocolate, chai, antiques, pottery, cutlery, and tables are made from local artists and local suppliers. Everything is a combination of old and new, but most of all this place combines my love of coffee, tea and my home town. It’s a tribute to Nelson,” Claris says.

Claris has gathered as much worldly experience as she can in order to start her first solo venture. She lived in Melbourne for a few months in 2012 before travelling to Mexico where she started working for a specialty company called Buna. Other work opportunities then arose in New York and Cape Town. Eventually, Claris realised it was time to come home and share her experiences with the New Zealand market.

“The dream job would be a bean consultant in NZ – that link between great coffees at origin and bringing them into NZ. I want to be that go-to person for cafés wanting to showcase the world’s best coffees to NZ,” Claris says. “That’s the dream, but in order to get there I need a base. Back in Nelson, I got to the stage where I would question where I should go for a good coffee. I thought: ‘I shouldn’t be umming and ahhing about it.’ There were no dedicated coffee bars despite Nelson’s reputation for being the roasting capital of the world.”

As such, to solve her own dissatisfaction, Claris set up her own specialty coffee bar, which she opened on 21 October 2015.

“We specialise in coffee, and tea with a focus on education and training and getting people to appreciate the cup to crop philosophy,” Claris says. “Before my trip around the world I took for granted that coffee arrived on a container. I now want to impart my knowledge to others and show them what I love without overwhelming them with choice.” 

The biggest value Claris has taken away from her world adventures is management and training.

“I had to train people in Spanish to ensure a high standard of coffee and service were being met. Over in Cape Town you’re dealing with different skills and it taught me what type of manager I’d like to be, and the working environment I wanted to have for my own staff,” Claris says.

That environment is one of fun and passion. Claris may have even introduced the idea of hoverboarding coffee orders to customers. 7010 is a corner shop housed in an old historic building, so old that Claris says there’s a 60-millimetre different in floor height from one side of the venue to another.

Claris works with local suppliers Pomeroys Coffee & Tea Company to create seasonal blends for espresso and filter coffee. The menu consists of a spring/summer 2016 blend which contains 60 per cent Ethiopian Sidamo, 30 per cent Mexican beans, and 10 per cent Colombian La Jacoba. Filter coffee is 100 per cent Colombian La Jacoba.

For the upcoming winter blend Claris says this will reflect a more “grungier, spicy flavours” with Indonesian beans. All coffees are served as a double shot unless specified otherwise.

For the warmer months cold brew is a popular favourite, as is Claris’s Moccamaster, ice coffee and espresso over sparkling water. While in South Africa years ago Claris decided to make a cascara cider. Claris pitched the drink and two years ago, and now Moa Beer Company in Nelson has made her idea a reality.

“It’s beautiful, not too sweet, and we sell out quickly,” she says.

For the tea lovers, try The Cleanse tea herbal blend with lemongrass, rosehip, and hibiscus. White teas, earl greys, and oolongs are available and seasonal.

When it comes to the food, 7010 has an indulgent menu, including sugar free brownies, Roland’s Rollies range of savoury delights, and Little Bare sweet treats. Both Nelson suppliers only provide 7010 with gluten, dairy, and sugar-free products.

“This is the first time I’m not a trainer for a company. I’m not setting up someone else’s business. I’ve done this with all my heart and soul. This is all mine,” she says. “7010 is all about educating people that coffee is fun. For now 7010 is my local, and I hope it can be someone else’s local too.”

Little Merchants

Little Merchants is a tiny espresso bar with big aspirations. It’s only been open one year, but this 70-square-metre venue is born into a good family pedigree.

Big sister Café Lumes and big brother Coffee Embassy are close by guidance and support.

“We’re all part of one big family so we collaborate closely together for our bean selection, single origins, and filter coffees,” Café Manager James Burt says.

Just as people would once visit a merchant to trade products from around the world, Little Merchants invites people to visit for the same worldly experience.

“We offer seasonal blends sourced from around the globe that represents the coffees we believe in, what’s tasting amazing, and what we know our customers will respond to,” James says. “We really want our customers to embrace change and not be afraid to try something different. Unfortunately for some people, change is not celebrated.”

To reverse this perception, James and his team are taking a friendly approach to customer service and interacting with visitors about how the coffee tastes and what they’d like to see in the cup.

“We’re all about information sharing. The better equipped we are and the more our customers can appreciate our craft, the better our daily interactions will be,” he says. “We really want customers to get excited about the industry so we can create a fun coffee culture.”

Little Merchants serves the Embassy Espresso blend on a La Marzocco PB. It is a 50/50 mix of El Salvador San Emilio beans and Colombian Genova Quindio beans.

Single origins at the time of print included a natural Yirgacheffe that James describes as “stunning” with hints of spice, cocoa, and pineapple when brewed. He’s also excited about a single origin from Honduras due to arrive in the New Year.

To “complement and not overwhelm” the coffee selection, Little Merchants has looked to San Francisco’s popular toast craze for inspiration.

The food offerings include a range of tasty toasted sandwiches including classic combinations such as avocado, tomato, and feta on multigrain toast, hot smoked salmon and creme fraiche, and a banana and maple brioche for something sweet.

After eight years working in the coffee industry, James says he continues to enjoy the changing nature of the job. 

“I love that there’s always something to challenge what you thought you knew,” James says. “We want to keep making the best product we can from selection to execution, then make it better again.”

Rocket Espresso Bar

Ten years ago Rocket Espresso was the only venue on Grey Street serving coffee and food.

Thanks to the development of Hamilton’s coffee culture, the street is now thriving with coffee shops within close radius.

Co-Owner Sanchia Brodrick says the café’s strength lies in its “fun, youthful, funky vibe” – and quality coffee of course.

“Some customers might consider us a half record, half coffee shop. You won’t find house music on first thing at 7am but we do like to keep the tempo upbeat, even a bit of Bob Marley to end the day.”

Sanchia found her calling in the hospitality industry in her early 20s, and has been enjoying the journey ever since.

“Thirteen years ago I started working at Rocket Espresso washing dishes, then I progressed to working as a barista and climbed my way up to café manager and now owner,” she says.

Sanchia took over the business from the previous owners in 2005 with her sister Martina Mariu.

“I was only 25 years old at the time. It was a steep learning curve. A year later we acquired the space next door and did some demolition to make the café a larger space for our customers. It’s been challenging but a really satisfying outcome,” she says.

Rocket Espresso Bar’s interior embraces industrial aesthetics, curved walls, and strong use of red and black colours (no, Sanchia’s not an Australian Football League Essendon supporter).

When it comes to coffee, Rocket Coffee is the roaster of choice, and its House Blend is served at the espresso bar. The bean combination changes seasonally, but at the time of print it featured 70 per cent La Esperanza from Guatemala and 30 per cent from Gishamwama Pwanda. Decaf coffee is also available and filter coffee is set to be available for summer.

Rocket is a socially conscious café and was the first in Hamilton to join the Conscious Consumers Movement in effort to source free-range and organic products, and be more environmentally conscious. This led to the decision to add a surcharge for takeaway paper cups.

“We were sick of the wastage and so we added a $0.40 surcharge to encourage people to bring a reusable cup. It was a brave move but we have reduced the number of takeaway paper cups we serve by 50 per cent since 2010,” Sanchia says. 

A simple but tasty breakfast and lunch menu is available with the café’s bagels a constant crowd favourite.

Over the past 10 years Sanchia says there’s been one constant love apart of the coffee that keeps her excited about work each day – her customers.

“Each one of our customers are greeted with a genuine smile right from the start, and after a customer visits us three times we encourage staff to remember their order for a personalised feel,” she says. “And of course I enjoy working with our great team of staff. It feels like a family.”

Eighthirty High Street

White canvases are risky business. There’s an element of danger when it comes to splatters of food or red wine, but at Eighthirty Coffee Roasters’ new High Street venue in Auckland, they’re more than willing to take that risk.

The design of the café interior by Eighthirty architect Dominic Glamuzina is impressive. It features an industrial-looking concrete floor, stark white walls, a white workbench, white tables, and an origami-inspired pink feature wall.

“It’s a very different design concept compared to our other venues. We didn’t want it to be a cookie-cutter look,” Eighthirty General Manager Shaun Anderson says. “We’ve tried to adapt to the nuances of the street, which is CBD-based and attracts a lot of business clientele.

Eighthirty started roasting in 2009. When its first espresso bar opened on Karangahape Road in Auckland, just two coffees were served on the first day.

Fast forward six years and Eighthirty has an impressive four cafés around Auckland, and 30 wholesale accounts. Adding to that sum is the new High Street venue, thanks to Co-Owners Glenn Bell and Sam Jarius.

Shaun says High Street has experienced somewhat of an exodus in the last few years, with a number of tenants leaving.

Thankfully, he says the opening of this espresso bar in a 1920s building is one of many exciting things happening on High Street to help breath some life back into the area.

“There’s lots of new retail shops opening including high-end apparel shops, so for us the timing couldn’t be better. This street is turning a new leaf. Just like Eighthirty it is taking a fresh new approach to its look. We’re excited to offer this street something to be excited about too.”

A white La Marzocco Strada machine blends almost camouflage into the walls. It features wood panelling thanks to the café’s resident barista who also doubles as an engineer.

A Nuova Simonelli grinder sits on the counter bench alongside a Mahlkönig EK43.

Customers can sip on Eighthirty’s signature blend, specially created by Glenn. It comprises sustainably sourced beans from around the globe.

“We wanted to put our best foot forward and this blend definitely showcases that,” Shaun says. “It’s beautiful and sweet, with chocolate notes, molasses, and stone fruit.”

Siphon Saturday is a new addition to the menu that encourages customers to try something different on the weekend, when both they – and the café’s baristas – can dedicate time to enjoying a different brew method.

Shaun says the espresso bar is starting to source more Japanese brewing equipment, such as Japanese donut drippers, with the addition of Japanese ceramics.

A Moccamaster is always on hand with rotating single origins daily, with past favourites including Nicaraguan, Ethiopian, and Kenyan beans.

To complement the coffee, tasty food treats are available from local caterers Catroux.

“Our K-road (Karangahape) store is the flagship, but we’re happy we can now cater to our city fans,” Shaun says.

While the Eighthirty boys have excited Auckland crowds, there’s good news for Sydneysiders with Eighthirty opening their very own place in Sydney on October 12, 2015.

Café Lumes

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

Flight Coffee Hangar

In the heart of Wellington is a café in full flight. Run by 2013 New Zealand Barista Champion Nick Clark, World Barista Champion Judge Richard Corney, and Matt Graylee, Flight Coffee Hangar is giving local residents of Wellington plenty of reasons to navigate its coffee and food menu.

Flight Coffee Roasters was launched in 2009 in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay. When the time came to reinvent the brand in 2012, Nick says Wellington seemed the perfect space to establish an in-house roastery and coffee bar.

“At the time specialty coffee was still quite fresh in New Zealand, but we wanted to lead from the front and build our dream café,” says Nick. “We learnt early on that people are the key to everything. We’ve created a real family environment and people who walk into our hangar can feel that.”

The Hangar was constructed out of an old car park, with the yellow lines of the parking bays still visible on the floor. The design features raw, wooden materials with lots of natural light. A long coffee bar stretches along the café’s sidewall to help the baristas present different brew methods, and engage with customers as they prepare their brew.

“We aim to make the decision-making process simple for customers. We provide tasting trays, simple menus and try to reduce any intimidation in selecting coffee,” says Nick.

Flight Coffee’s signature coffee is its Bomber blend. “It’s made of Brazil and Colombia beans with tasting notes of cocoa, malt, and chocolate. People really relate to this coffee whether it’s served white or black,” says Nick.

The Belle blend contains fully-washed Ethiopia and Colombian beans. Nick describes this espresso blend as having flavours of jasmine, peach, and cane sugar.

For those keen to try something new, Flight Coffee’s coffee-loving staff serve a range of alternate brew options including batch brew through a Fetco, Aeropress, and a Gino Dripper. “There’s lots more people enjoying filter coffee and the black coffee drinkers in particular are keen to experiment. We’re just trying to make these brew methods more accessible,” says Nick.

To accompany the vast coffee selection, a creative menu provides breakfast and lunch options, all made on-site. “We developed our menu with Head Chef Lisa Craig. We looked at what we do and don’t enjoy when we dine at other cafés,” says Nick.
He developed a menu with an extensive list of sweet and savoury options. Must-have items include the Hangar’s homemade crumpets, eggs Benedict with black pudding, ham hock and smashed peas, but the most popular item is their “build-it yourself breakfast”, where everyone can create something to their preference.

Visitors to the Hangar will see the Flight Coffee team in full swing: a happy and educated bunch who take pride in their coffee production.

“Whether you visit to drink or eat we want our customers to experience our quality products and to have a damn good time while they do it,” says Nick.

Havana Coffee Works

Walking into Havana Coffee Works, visitors will easily forget they are in the heart of Wellington. Instead, guests are transported to a Cuban oasis in the Caribbean, with rustic wooden furnishings and eclectic paraphernalia.

“I love Cuba and its grand opulent architecture, beautiful cars, music, cigars, and rum. Havana Coffee Works has got all that and more,” says Co-Founder Geoff Marsland, who travels to Cuba regularly.

Geoff and Co-Owner Tim Rose have been friends for years. In the late 1980s they met up in Vancouver, Canada and fell in love with the city’s late-night café culture. It inspired them to bring back a coffee machine to New Zealand. Together they opened Midnight Espresso in 1989, followed by Deluxe café three months later.

In order to manage a consistent supply of well-roasted coffee, Tim and Geoff started roasting their own coffee. To do so, they introduced New Zealand’s first fluid-bed hot air roaster, producing 150 kilograms a week.

In 1997 Geoff travelled to Cuba and met with the local coffee farmers. “In the early years of importing coffee we became part of the Fairtrade movement, but we got disillusioned and started Real Trade in the late 1990s,” says Geoff. “The concept is about establishing long-standing, close relationships with all the people involved in the production and distribution of green coffee from farm to café.”

Havana Coffee Works was born in 1989 as a dedicated coffee roasting business. The company now supplies coffee to more than 250 cafés in New Zealand. The Tory Street site roasts five tonnes a week on a 60-kilogram Petroncini hot air drum roaster, with electric blowers that supercharge the roast. The venue is inundated with visitors who flock to the adjoining Havana Lounge to savour their daily cup of coffee on a La Marzocco machine, or partake in one of the daily coffee training classes.

“We have an open door policy. People are welcome to come into the factory, workshop, training centre, or coffee bar talk to staff and try our coffee,” says Geoff. “Our coffee is great but our customer service and machine service are second to none too.”

Havana Coffee Works serves an extensive range of eight blends. Geoff says the standouts include the Afro Cuba, Krazy espresso blend, Organic, and Five Star blend, which is an all-round “crowd pleaser”.

Alternative brew methods are available, in addition to 14 single origin coffees, which Havana Coffee Works has imported for the past 20 years. Favourites include beans from Bolivia, and Cuba – of course.

In the past three years Geoff has also committed to planting 25,000 coffee trees on Tanna Island – his own direct supply in the Pacific.

“Our motto is ‘the coffee you feel’. After 25 years it still surprises me how much fun this industry is. We’re still riding the wave and we’re loving it,” Geoff says. “People can follow us on social media and go to our website, but there’s nothing better than a good old fashioned visit to Havana.”

Welcome Eatery

To show local residents that the Grafton Road café was under new management, Welcome Eatery General Manager Ralph Jenner found the most obvious way to tell people.

“We thought, why not put a big welcome sign on the door in a big light box? You can’t be more obvious than that,” says Ralph. “The former business that was once here wasn’t too accessible to the public, but we wanted to show that we are.” 
Located in an Orion Health building, Ralph spent a few months refitting and designing the space with Perth-based architect Adam Alexander until it was ready for opening in March. “We went for a modern, clean and crisp fitout to tie in with the corporate building. It’s a spacious venue with plenty of room to hold a quiet meeting in a corner and lots of seating for couples and singles too,” he says.

The ‘welcome’ message quickly took effect, as the venue is filled daily with corporate visitors, local residents, and coffee lovers who are thrilled a specialty coffee shop has found its way to the outskirts of Auckland’s CBD.

The café uses Coffee Supreme for its house blend. “It has a nice caramel flavour with citrus notes and works well with milk-based and black coffees,” says Ralph.

Welcome Eatery also serves Coffee Supreme’s batch-brewed single origins using a Moccamaster. Ralph says standout single origins have included beans from Ethiopia and Yemen.

Ralph says the a la cart menu is driven by his love of fresh seasonal produce, in addition to his cabinet selection of sandwiches and salads for those eating on‑the‑go.

“Our motto is fast, fresh, and friendly. Our focus is on serving quality fresh food items made on site daily, in addition to our coffee,” says Ralph.

Ralph has worked in the hospitality industry since he was 16 years old. He’s worked in various New Zealand and Melbourne cafés, but jumped at the chance to start his own café venture with business partner Johnny Hartnett.

Besides dabbling in barista jobs, Ralph also enjoys critiquing barista’s techniques when he worked for three years as a sensory judge for the New Zealand Barista Championship.

“I’m passionate about judging and I enjoy the work I do each day,” he says. “I have a ‘feed the people attitude’, when I see empty plates and smiling faces, I can’t help but smile along too.”


On a trip to Paris, Marc Weir and his business partners Julie Clark and James Pedersen went to source items for their new venture. But they came back with nothing.

Instead, while Marc was recovering from jet lag and watching his favorite film A Single Man by Tom Ford, he had an epiphany. “I thought my gosh! We should definitely channel 1960s California like the film,” says Marc.

That film became the inspiration for Loretta’s design, which includes open spaces, clean lines, and timber furnishings. “I’ve operated my other restaurant business, Floriditas, for nine years. But I wanted to create a different, casual dining experience with no high-class expectations – just great service, great food, and exceptional coffee,” says Marc.

Loretta serves Coffee Supreme’s signature blend for milk-based coffees on its four-group San Marco 85 espresso machine. Two single origins from Coffee Supreme are also on rotation for drip filter, which Marc serves via a Fetco machine.They change monthly, but at the time of print included an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, which Marc describes as “smooth with flavours of blackcurrent and ginger”. The other is La Soledad, with caramel and orange blossom notes.

To cater to his customer’s large preference for milk-based coffees, Marc says he’s had to increase the range of milk they offer to include organic, full or trim milk, soy, rice and almond.

“Coffee has changed dramatically in Wellington over the past 20 years. Today there’s a refined and greater scientific application to the way coffee is served, and more boutique cafés are embracing this trend around Wellington,” says Marc.

To accompany the coffee, Loretta serves a detailed menu. Café favourites include the continental breakfast, carrot risotto with chervil or wood-fired sandwiches for lunch, and a broken chicken sausage pizza with shaved fennel and loads of fresh dill for dinner.

Growing up Marc wanted to be either a chef or a teacher. He was accepted into teacher college at a young age but his love for food crept back into his life. “I’ve developed my own ethos about food and I still strive for perfection in everything I do,” he says. “I love that this job is very hands on – perhaps it’s the teacher gene in me.”

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