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NZ, it’s not just mountains and rings.

September 6, 2008

Yes there’s a lot more to this country! As much as I love NZ, I have begun to tire of telling people there is more to New Zealand than pristine landscapes, mountains and Lord of the Rings. Oh and sheep.

When you visit NZ you will be pleasantly surprised at its cafe culture, which may only be less than 20 years old, but has become very much a part of the NZ lifestyle. And I mean cafes that make really good coffee, homestyle cooking and atmosphere. For a good number of New Zealanders (kiwis), life revolves around cafes be it work meetings, networking, weekend brunches, family outings, the list goes on.

It doesn’t matter where you go in the cities or towns, you will always come upon a cafe, locally owned and operated selling good coffee, tea and food. That’s just how it is in this country. You won’t often find a Starbucks or MacCafe (Amen!), except for inner city locations.

In July this year I was travelling through the western coast of the South Island with a friend. It was winter and winter in this part of the country means freezing cold and annoyingly windy. I found a small cafe in the town of Greymouth, where I had stayed overnight, and gravitated towards it unknowingly. It was zero degrees celsius outside, and cosy degrees inside. Naturally the cafe was popular. I sank into an old sofa, no untrue let me rephrase, the sofa’s springs were so far gone, it had no choice but to let me sink into it. I was cast into the sofa but that was ok because there was jazz playing softly in the background and warming my hands was a cup of my favourite coffee: flat white.

taken by Cate

taken by Cate

Most Kiwis and Aussies know what I’m talking about when I refer to a flat white. I have not been able to explain it properly to non Australasians but here goes. Take a doubleshot of espresso and add hot steamed milk, just a little, not too much or you will end up with a latte. It all goes in a cup smaller than a cappuccino size and bigger than a double shot espresso size.  

This is a great drink for people who like their coffee strong without having to drink it black. If you end up with a drink thats milky and weak, you have either a lousy barista or the wrong drink.

To find out more about the history of cafes in Australasia you can read about it on this website I recently discovered http://coffeegeek.com/opinions/georgesabados/06-12-2007

It’s an informative website dedicated to coffee lovers and coffee professionals. A great read if you have some spare time.

So, to all you expat Kiwis and Ozzies who are, at this moment, pining for a good flat white, I dedicate this post to you.

Caffeinated Traveller

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