If there’s one thing us Aussies love, it’s our daily cup of coffee. From short blacks to long blacks, flat whites to half-skinny, half-soy cappuccinos, if there’s caffeine in it, we’ll drink it.
Unfortunately that also means we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to top-notch beans, which often makes finding a decent coffee abroad a hard task. Luckily for coffee aficionados visiting Wellington, New Zealand, the city is home to stellar line-up of local roasters, all bringing you the finest brews available – and there’s not a jar of Nescafe Blend 43 to be seen.
As the flagship cafe of roastery giant Coffee Supreme, Customs doesn’t mess around when it comes to making a quality cuppa. Offering a revolving menu of ethically-sourced beans from around the world, they are constantly testing new blends and working towards creating the best coffee in Wellington. Oh, they’re also bringing back filter coffee in a big way. Yep, filter coffee – but not the type you’d expect to find in some dingy roadside American diner. We’re talking a premium hot beverage that’s been expertly concocted using state-of-the-art appliances. Customs also does a mean sourdough toast with toppings, if you’re wondering where to eat in Wellington. Try the classic butter and cinnamon sugar combo; it’s next-level good.
39 Ghuznee Street
Rivalling Coffee Supreme as one of the top coffee roasters in Wellington, Flight Coffee’s The Hangar cafe is a favourite among the city’s caffeine addicts. The in-house roastery means you’re guaranteed the freshest of brews, and the team at The Hangar love sharing exactly where the beans (ethically sourced, of course) are grown and produced. With a swag of equipment that includes an Aeropress, Chemex and v60, whipping up anything from a cold drip to a magic (that’s steamed milk poured over a double ristretto) is their speciality. But what really gives The Hangar extra clout is the breakfast offerings. With baked blueberry French toast and a brisket benedict on the menu, it’s not hard to understand why this also happens to be one of the best places for breakfast in Wellington.
119 Dixon Street
If you’re a shift worker, post-party coffee drinker or just enjoy a late-night caffeine hit, Midnight Espresso is your go-to establishment. This much-loved icon of Cuba Street has been roasting Havana beans until the wee hours of 3am for the past three decades, earning a reputation as one of the best coffee shops in Wellington, New Zealand. But it’s not all about the life-changing lattes here; alongside hot drinks, Midnight Espresso serve up some of the tastiest vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free fare in the city. Word on the street is the veggie hash stack goes down particularly well with a steaming hot cup of the good stuff – no matter how late in the evening it is. On top of that, Midnight Espresso boasts super-friendly staff, chilled out vibes and a even pinball machine!
178 Cuba Street
Lamason Brew Bar
Less humble, run-of-the-mill cafe and more a Willy Wonka-style factory for coffee fiends, Lamason Brew Bar is leading the charge for alternative brewing methods, with siphon coffee their claim to fame. What’s siphon coffee, you ask? It’s a technique that employs fancy, science-looking equipment to create a caffeine-infused blend using water that’s not quite at boiling point (boiling water can actually burn the flavour of the beans). Having a coffee here is a theatrical, sensory experience, and Lamason’s baristas are experts at guiding siphon newbies through the method. And while there’s a few yummy morsels on offer to snack on, Lamason’s MO is quite clearly all about the bean, so take a chance and mix things up – who knows, you might even find yourself a convert to what many locals call the best coffee in Wellington’s CBD.
Corner Lombard and Bond Streets
As one of the original champions of fair trade, organic beans in Wellington, Peoples Coffee has a special place in the hearts of coffee drinkers in the city. Passionate from day one about sharing exactly what processes their beans go through and where they come from – they have long-term relationships with suppliers in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Ethiopia and Nicaragua – Peoples Coffee’s reputation as one of Wellington’s most respected coffee roasters has only continued to grow over the years. What began as a small Newtown cafe has now expanded into a nearby roastery and espresso bar in Lukes Lane that’s hugely popular with commuters. Plus, there’s something extra satisfying about knocking back a cappuccino that’s a sustainable and environmentally-friendly product.
1 Lukes Lane
Warm and welcoming, all it takes is one cup of meticulously-brewed coffee at Milk Crate to feel as though you’ve been a Wellingtonian your whole life. The team here, led by owner/baker Bridget O’Flaherty and owner/barista Morgan West, go above and beyond to accommodate their patrons, which includes everyone from students and suits, to mums with bubs. A large communal table dominates the space, while the cabinet is overflowing with the most gorgeous looking array of cakes, slices and sweet treats. The beans here come from local Berhampore-based Rich Coffee Roasters, and Milk Crate sure know how to make a cracking espresso. Could it be one of the best cafes in Wellington? You’ll just have to visit and see for yourself.
35 Ghuznee Street
Havana Coffee Works
You won’t find siphons, expensive brewing utensils or bean snobs at the retro and rustic Havana Coffee Works, which harks back to a time when lattes were simply lattes (and didn’t come in turmeric or blue algae flavours) and almonds weren’t yet considered a variety of milk. Established in 1989, the Havana team quickly garnered attention after designing the country’s very first electricity-powered hot-air roaster. From there, it didn’t take long for word to spread on the delicious, sweet-tasting beans being produced, and the roastery only continued to soar in popularity. Now, Havana coffee is stocked in many of the best cafes in Wellington, NZ, and the flagship brewhouse has a legion of dedicated coffee devotees, seduced by the promise of an always-good, reasonably-priced cup of Joe. You can even purchase Havana beans for when that caffeine craving hits at home!
163 Tory Street
Bottomless filter coffee? Say no more! But that’s not the only drawcard at Prefab – a buzzing, bustling enterprise that’s part eatery, part roastery and part events space. Housed in an uber-cool industrial building with sun-drenched outdoor area, it can seat up to 180 hungry patrons – most of whom aren’t fussed about lining up for a table on a Saturday morning, such is the quality of Prefab’s food and drink offerings. Beans are roasted on-site under the in-house ACME & CO brand, and while the single origin filter coffee (served hot and strong) is hard to beat, even the decaf option is a roaring success with the caffeine crowd. Ask any of the regulars and they’ll also tell you Prefab does the best breakfast in Wellington, NZ, in the form of the potato gratin with poached egg and bratwurst, or anything served with the house-baked bread.
14 Jessie Street
Eager to get your caffeine fix at one of the cafes above? Book flights to Wellington with Webjet and waste no time wondering where to find the best coffee in the NZ capital city! Need more ideas on what to do in Wellington? Check out things to see and experience with our 72-hour Wellington sightseeing itinerary.