Remedy Coffee, Auckland
The first time I went into the Auckland CBD, I came upon Remedy Coffee, a small cozy cafe tucked in the busy commercial area. I ordered an iced coffee assuming it was the standard American version with regular coffee and ice. To my surprise, it came with a scoop of vanilla ice cream! Compared to the others I had in NZ, this was the most memorable with a near perfect ratio of fresh expresso, milk, and ice cream; meaning the expresso is the star of the drink, while the rest is secondary. The price is a bit steep, on average costing about $7 NZD and not a drink I would order often, but definitely nice to try.
The cafe had a friendly ambiance with board games and book exchange. However, it was very difficult to find a seat due to its popularity.
Of the few cafes (The Flight Coffee Hangar, Fidel’s, etc.) that I tried in Wellington, I enjoyed Lamason the most for its spot-on flat white and delicious avocado toastie with a runny egg on top.
I was dripping in sweat by the time I finally found the Lombard Street cafe after searching 30 minutes, circling the neighborhood at least 2 times. Shamefully, it was my was also my 2nd time searching for it; once during my first trip to the city with my travel-mate and then a layover alone in the city. It was well worth it. Though I would recommend avoiding lunch-time, when it is the most crowded.
CC Cafe, Kerikeri
Hands down my favorite cafe for lounging, relaxing, and chatting with friends. Their coffee is consistent, their staff personable, and their gluten-free orange almond cake is heaven.
This eco-conscious cafe (that turns into a bar at night) own by a Swedish-Kiwi (casual term to reference New Zealanders) couple quickly became our hang-out spot in town during our 2 month seasonal work stint in Kerikeri. We would sit by the two armchairs out front right by the sidewalk and share a slice of that cake with a dollop of yogurt on the side. Other times I would bring my laptop and work on my resume (they have power outlets, but no wifi).
Their eggs benedict with ciabatta bread and NZ salmon gravlax is also a must-try.
An honorable mention goes out to Ikarus Coffee Roasters who has a stall in Kerikeri’s Bay of Islands Farmer’s Market. They are independent coffee growers and roasters by Doubtless Bay with a mobile coffee cart at various farmer’s markets in the North Island. One Sunday I woke up early to visit the market, and got a chance to try their flat white which was decadent, especially when paired with the lively atmosphere of people shopping, the music from the live band, and early morning sunshine.
Bay Expresso, Hawkes Bay
In June 2016, my friend Charlotte and I moved to Hastings to get a piece of that apple packing action. Going to work we would past the Bay Expresso storefront on Omahu Road everyday, but never had the chance to go.
Until finally, after an exhausting day of work we rode our bikes into town (15 minutes) and visited the Cornucopia – The Organic Shop, where I purchased the BE’s Cafe Blend for $13 NZD. This bag of coffee made me excited to start the work day at 5 AM.
Two days before leaving town and a failed attempt with a co-worker to visit the Omahu location (closed for Saturdays), I made my way alone on bike to the location on Karamu Road. Having never gone beyond Hawkes Bay Showgrounds, I was nervous and I was riding next to a highway.
The cafe, which was pleasantly surrounded by farms, was quaint and quirky with illustrations decorating the walls. With the sun streaming in and unpretentious atmosphere, it was the most relaxing feeling I had in the past month. I sat with my laptop and sipped my flat white, which was smooth and nutty.