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Coffee Culture

autumn 2010


coffee culture

Photograph courtesy of Mojo Coffee.

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The land of the

long f lat white

Photograph courtesy of Mojo Coffee.

grill looks at what we do with 140 tonnes of coffee beans each week.

There are about 140 tonnes of green coffee beans roasted in New Zealand weekly (a lot of it drunk by grill’s resource editor!).

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n international trade terms the dollar value of coffee ranks second only to that of oil, a menace threatening oil’s ‘Black Gold’ title. Coffee is a grand-scale economic and cultural phenomenon and Kiwis have latched onto the bandwagon with a vengeance, even making our own ‘flat white’ mark on the international coffee culture map. In late 2009 Starbucks announced that it would be adding the flat white to its British menu, and has begun training staff “appropriately”. The Kiwi coffee evolution has been grinding away solidly over the past 20 years. Self-proclaimed coffee guru Ron Laughlin arrived in New Zealand for the first time from America in 1989, and was devastated to find that the last coffee he consumed in Hawaii, was indeed to be his last ‘decent’ one for quite some time. As far and wide as he searched, Hospitality establishments take the bulk (110 tonnes) of the weekly roast; the rest turns up in retail – supermarkets and the like.

he encountered not a single drinkable espresso, only unsatisfying percolator brews and instant horrors. Upon his return three years later, he was delighted to find that Kiwi culture had embraced the art of espresso in his absence. In Laughlin’s words, Kiwis had “found something they liked and really made the best of it”. Today, after a nationwide tour of New Zealand’s cafes and coffee stops, Laughlin is pleased to pronounce New Zealand coffee amongst the best in the world. New Zealand has, per head of population, the highest number of roasters of any country on earth, some to be found nationwide, whilst others are locally specific. One can attribute the step up in New Zealand’s coffee-making standards in great part to such pioneering roasters as Coffee Supreme, established in Wellington in 1993. Fighting the good fight alongside Supreme in the early ’90s were These days most of the beans roasted are from the very top quality Arabica variety. Very little of the horrid Robusta strain is roasted in this country.


coffee culture

the Auckland roasters Atomic, Allpress and Miller’s; collectively these can be considered the founders of New Zealand’s coffee culture. Great coffee can be found right through the country, even in Auckland, and aside from the dozen or so giants of the trade, there are a number of small to medium roasters making an impact. In Wellington there are the great roasters Mojo (one of the fastest growing companies in New Zealand), Havana Coffee Works and Peoples’ Coffee all supporting the city’s enthusiasm for the perfect cup. In other parts of the country, tiny boutique roasters are also rapidly gaining market share. Havoc in Whanganui

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the industry as our roasters, as no roast can withstand the ruthless havoc wrecked upon a great blend by a bad pour. “The great taste developed by New Zealanders’ pioneering spirit and independent thinking,” says Laughlin, “can all be lost at the barista.” Collectively, cafe owners have a responsibility to the roasters who supply them to properly train their baristas in order to deliver a deserving exemplar of the roaster’s product. Whilst Wellington’s roasts may take pride of place in New Zealand’s bean bazaar, Christchurch can proudly boast the nation’s finest baristas, with six years of consecutive triumph at the NZ Barista Championships. Auckland fails to make the grade.

“Ordering a long black in the Auckland CBD is playing with fire.” and Volcano Coffee – the only roaster in the Ruapehu district, roast to order and pride themselves on the freshness of their product (sources intimate that Volcano’s Ethiopian roast is well worth a try). Christchurch’s Hummingbird, Scoota and Zeke’s Serious Coffee in Auckland and Puhoi Coffee, just north of that city, are well worth checking out too. Ozone, based in Fitzroy just out of New Plymouth, is also worth mentioning as a roaster of quality boutique blends. Even the wild and wooly West Coast boasts its own fair trade organic roaster, Kawatiri, located about 20 kilometres south of Westport down a remote dirt track. It doesn’t get more “number 8 wire” than this; all the Kawatiri equipment was designed and constructed on location. Other hot-spots for bean fiends are Dunedin, Golden Bay and Invercargill. With so many roasting houses peppering the country, there’s no excuse not to buy fresh and local. April saw the national final of the New Zealand Barista Championships. Kiwi baristas are just as much an asset to

According to accomplished Christchurch barista Giovanni Spiteri, who has manned the tamper from one end of New Zealand to the other, there is a tendency amongst Aucklanders to settle for appearance and style over good flavour and fresh grinds, and as with any product, the market dictates the quality. “Aucklanders’ past preoccupation with latte is possibly partly to blame; it’s easy to hide a multitude of extraction-related sins under that much milk, but ordering a long black in the Auckland CBD is ‘playing with fire’.” That’s not to say that Auckland is devoid of delicious coffee – there are plenty of stand-out roasters and accomplished baristas amongst the fug of mediocrity. “It’s just a pity that the market doesn’t discern the way it does elsewhere,” says Spiteri. It’s up to owners and operators to raise the bar and drive the standard higher, bringing Auckland into line with New Zealand’s admirable and diverse coffee culture.

New Zealand has more than 140 commercial roasters. The market is dominated by the largest dozen or so. These companies import green beans themselves.

Most of the smaller roasters buy from the main green coffee bean importer, John Burton Limited in Auckland. www.grill.co.nz


taste coffee

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producer profile

It’s not just the beans A

Coffee with Mojo The Mojo Coffee Cartel began in 2003 as a small boutique roastery on Wellington’s Wakefield Street. Now operating 16 of its own cafes throughout New Zealand as well as supplying its premium blended coffee beans to popular cafes around Wellington, Mojo is still based in the capital and employs a staff of 150 nationwide from its new HQ and roastery at Shed 13 on Wellington’s waterfront. Mojo’s Princes Street café in Dunedin is home to its second roastery, supplying its renowned blends to the South Island, and the first Auckland Mojo recently opened on Queen Street, bringing the flavour to the north. There are also Mojo sites to be found in Christchurch. The Mojo HQ team are all hospitality professionals and understand the need for good support and training. All Mojo staff, as well as the staff of all cafes supplied with Mojo beans, are provided with full barista training and ongoing support. The option of machine hire is also provided to businesses which choose Mojo as their supplier. Mojo’s signature blend, Dr Mojo’s Medicine, combines six single-origin coffees from regions around the world. A complex coffee with good body and medium to high acidity, Dr Mojo’s Medicine boasts a great aroma, hints

of nut and chocolate and a spicy toffee finish. Besides the house blend, Mojo also offers The Injection, a simple blend with wine-like characteristics from Africa, Dr Mojo’s Feelgood, and an organic blend. Several single-origin coffees are also available. Mojo maintains a high standard of ethical practice in purchasing its beans. Most are sourced from communities with which the company has forged solid trading relationships. Representatives from the company regularly visit these communities to communicate with their growers in order to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship. Mojo believes that its ‘relationship coffee’ is “more than fair”, as strong, durable relationships are forged and maintained to benefit both the grower and the consumer. Ranked in both the 2007 and 2008 Deloitte/Unlimited Fast 50, Mojo continues to grow, enjoying a solid and loyal customer base with over 18,000 VIP customers around New Zealand. Consumers can expect to enjoy consistent quality, and commercial clients a high standard of efficiency and ongoing support.

www.mojocoffee.co.nz info@mojocoffee.co.nz • 0-4-385 3001

uckland-based roasters picked up half the gold and a sizable number of the other medals at the New Zealand Coffee Awards. North Shore based roaster Altura also gained the Supreme Award. A fitting tribute to Chris White and Altura’s 20 years in the roasting game. As with the cheese awards featured on pages 19 & 20 winners were a mix of tiny roasters such as Christchurch’s Switch Espresso and Wellsford’s Rush, with its Rush Espresso judged New Zealand’s best Roasted Espresso coffee, and the bigger roasters including Cerebos, Altura and Jungle. After two very long days of blind tasting the 12 judges chose the following gold medal winners. Supreme Award Altura Coffee (Auckland), Eclipse Flat White Blend Café magazine Trophy: New Zealand Espresso Rush (Wellsford) Anchor Trophy: Traditional Flat White Altura Detpak Trophy: Ethically Traded Coffee – Espresso Switch (Christchurch) Waiwera Mineral Water Trophy: Organic Coffee Robert Harris Heritage Hotels: Supermarket Plunger Blend Jungle (Auckland) MIT Trophy: Supermarket Filter Blend Havoc (Wanganui) Foodservice Filter/Plunger Wildcat (New Plymouth) Decaf Coffee Volt (Auckland) For a full list of medal winners and a coffee roaster near you go to www.grill.co.nz New Zealand has more roasters per head of population than any country on earth and 63 of these coffee roasters entered around 250 coffees in the 2009/2010 New Zealand Coffee Awards. www.grill.co.nz


The bean’s knees Around 250 coffees from 63 New Zealand coffee roasters were entered in the 2009 New Zealand Coffee Awards and after two long days the 12 judges awarded the following medals. NZ Roasted Espresso

Ethnically Traded Company

Ethically traded

Gold

Switch Espresso Ltd (Chch)

Zap

Silver

Bruno Rossi

Primavera

Silver

Kokako

Rangatira

Silver

Switchcoffee Ltd (Napier)

Espresso Blend

Bronze

Pomeroys Coffee and Tea

Organic Espresso

Company

Blend

Bronze

Volt

Volt Earth

Company

NZ Espresso

Bronze

Toxic Coffee

Toxic Action

Gold

Rush Coffee Ltd

Rush Espresso

Silver

Celcius Coffee

Firehouse

Silver

Matakana Coffee

Matakana Blend

Bronze

Robert Harris

Natura Blend

Bronze

Excelso Coffee

Encore

Bronze

Fixation Coffee Ltd

Jolt

Foodservice Filter/Plunger Company

Filter/Plunger

Gold

Wildcat

Lignite

Silver

Robert Harris

Harris Blend

Silver

Hawthorne Coffee

Kidnappers Breakfast Blend

Bronze

Volt

Volt AMP

Bronze

Switch Espresso Ltd (Chch)

Rev

Bronze

Toasted Espresso

Nude

Flat White Company

Flat White

Gold

Altura Coffee

Eclipse

Silver

Rush Coffee Ltd

Rush Espresso

Silver

barista @ home

Ultimo

Silver

Orb

Lattitude

Bronze

Chiasso Coffee Company

Milano

Bronze

BP Fair Trade

Wild Bean

Bronze

Altezano

House

Organic

Decaf Company

Decaf

Gold

Volt

Volt Pulse

Silver

Karajoz

Karajoz Decaf

Silver

Coffee Lab

the Decaf

Bronze

Altura Coffee

Altura Decaf

Bronze

Coffee Lala – The Coromandel Coffee Co

Lalabye

Bronze

Bruno Rossi

Cafe Aria

Bronze

Ozone Coffee

FTO Decaf

Bronze

Robert Harris

Viva Decaf

Supermarket Plunger Company

Supermarket Plunger

Gold

Jungle Coffee

Java

Silver

barista @ home

Ultimo

Silver

Celcius Coffee

Capital

Bronze

Avalanche Coffee

Melt

Bronze

Coffee Lala – The Coromandel Coffee Co

LaLa

Bronze

Karajoz

Signature Range Blue Mountain

Bronze

Switchcoffee Ltd (Napier)

Market Blend

Supermarket Filter Company

Supermarket Filter

Gold

Havoc Coffee Roasting

Daily Havoc

Company

Organic

Gold

Robert Harris

Fairtrade Organic

Gold

Robert Harris

Euro Blend

Silver

Volt

Volt Earth

Silver

Revive Espresso

Silver

Altura Coffee

Altura Organic

Revive Orange Label

Bronze

Celcius Coffee

Capital

Silver

Hawthorne Coffee

Bronze

Coffee Lala – The Coromande Coffee Co

LaLa Organic

Te Mata Triple Blend

Bronze

Karajoz

Signature Range After Dianner

Bronze

Switchcoffee (Napier)

Espresso Blend

Bronze

Celcius Coffee

Capital

Bronze

Avalanche Coffee

Blizzard


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coffee taste

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Coffee Taste: Grill Autumn 2010  

Coffee Taste: Grill Autumn 2010

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