Speciality coffee in New Zealand is simply booming. And I LOVE it! Inde-Roasters are beginning to pop up everywhere, rocketing up the standards of flavour to be found in our mugs, on our kitchen benches and most importantly fuelling brunch sessions. I mean important work things.
It’s not often that a caffeine junkie is invited, nay, driven to exploring the hallowed ground that is a coffee roastery. Ripe is a small owner-operator set up just on the harbourside of foodie boom-town Petone, Lower Hutt in Wellington. I do have to make a small confession here. I’m not the only coffee junkie in my family. My Dad mainlines his with as much sugar as he can get away with, my sister takes hers in soft-drink format, but my brother is the worst of us all. He works for Ripe, testing freshly roasted slurps of coffee hot off the roaster.
Out the back is where the magic happens. A mischievous team of roasters cast their spells over selected green coffee beans, in an alchemical recipe of flavour, texture and deliciousness. My bro explained to us in depth the processes they go through to retain complexity of flavour, uniformity of batches and experiments of seasonal roasts that they’re known for. Alas, I hadn’t remembered to pre-load with a cup of Joe so my note taking was scanty at best. Ok, I admit it, I only took photographs.
So come with me, on a wee tour of their HQ; a scatter of retro design, passion, humour, delicious taste, mysterious brewing equipment, chocolate fish and last but definitely not least, Betsy their gorgeous mobile coffee van.
|Their refurbished and modified 1923 Whitmee coffee roaster. Credit.|
|Ubiquitious, essential Chocolate fish – a kiwi staple|
They supply to a growing number of North Island cafes, hotels, coffee bars and home roasters. Just listen to the mouthwatering description of their Ethiopia Yirgacheffe;
“The coffee is spicy & fragrant, with a slightly chocolatey or nutty
quality. This washed processed coffee produces a bright & clean
acidity with subtle peppery notes with lemongrass & tangerine, with a
medium to light body.
Roast Depth: Light
Aroma: Rosy, Cardamom, Apricot
Sweetness: Preserved Orange, Paw Paw
Acidity: Citrus, Clean & Bright
Body: Silky & Light
Flavour: Peppery, Palm Sugar, Tangerine
Finish: Toffee & Honeycomb”
Ironically I never managed to photograph any of the coffees we drank over the course of the week I was on the fair shores of Wellington; too busy enjoying that incredible taste, childhood treats and baby cuddles. I wonder how long it will take my nephew to realise what kind of a family he’s been born into…
|Didja think I was kidding about Ripe’s dreamy location?|
There ends the tale of a fortnight in my home (New Zealand). It was with a heavy heart that I left her shores, but a paradoxically a happy one excited to be headed towards my hearth and home in the sprawling urban chaos that is the London I love. Seeing New Zealand’s shorelines disappear slowly from the corner of the
plane was utterly bittersweet. Every single expat will know exactly I
My trip was short, sweet, wonderful and I was a very lucky girl to be able to spend so much time with my family; a relaxing Christmas, enjoy a day at the beach, enforce hairy-toed stereotypes visiting Hobbiton, realise a lifelong dream feeding a Lion, snuggle my beautiful Nephew and literally take a stroll down a foodie memory lane in Wellington.
What a country, eh?