Cafe culture thrives in New Zealand. The plethora of choices can cause the coffee-lover’s head to spin. Where to go? Each coffee shop has its unique charms. While I’m confident that none would disappoint—you really can’t go wrong—I’ve decided to write a series of short posts featuring my personal favorites.
albertpark cafe & espresso
Located on the edge of Albert Park in central Auckland, the aptly named albertpark cafe & espresso absolutely beckons. Do give in to its siren’s song. This little boit is as charming inside as it is from the street. Amazing coffee, lovely menu and staff, and the atmosphere is inviting and comfortable.
If ever you visit Auckland and are touring the city’s sites, you may find yourself near albertpark cafe & espresso. Several University of Auckland buildings are right across the park, there is tons of shopping in every direction, and the Auckland Art Gallery is only a few blocks away. Limited outdoor seating is available, and there are plenty of seats inside. Treat yourself! :o)
A special note to my American compatriots: Don’t expect to find bottomless cups of drip coffee in any New Zealand coffee shop.
All coffee options in New Zealand require special preparation by a trained barista and include various measures of espresso and optional steamed milk—delicious concoctions like a cappuccino, latte, or New Zealand’s favorite: the flat white. Caffè americano, which comes close to what we’re used to in the US, is not drip coffee at all but is in fact watered-down espresso.
Of course in America we have all of the above-mentioned coffee drinks (except, perhaps, for flat white!), but self-service style flavored drip coffees are also an option. Not in New Zealand. For me, this took some real getting used to.
According to legend it’s possible to order “American” coffee with milk on the side at Starbucks in New Zealand. I have never successfully completed this transaction and use my confusion over the issue as an excuse to pay more for a latte. :o)
If you can offer advice for American travelers about how to order drip coffee at Starbucks or anywhere else in Kiwiland, please share in the comment section!
And while we’re at it, circling back to the flat white… what the heck, New Zealand? This special coffee drink is set apart from a latte but honestly I must confess, I cannot taste a difference. Help me out! What makes a flat white special?