There was once a time, less than 20 years ago, when going for a coffee in New Zealand meant a cup of hot brown liquid that had been festering on the hot plate for an hour. Or if you were going really posh, a cafetiere, or plunger as they call it in NZ.
Then in the space of just a few years, the nation became obsessed. Properly made barista coffee is a huge part of the culture and you should expect to get a good cup almost anywhere you go, in the heart of Wellington (capital of country, cafés & coffee), aboard the Interislander ferry or out in the remote Chatham Islands.
And it is not just about the brewing, the roasting is also considered to be an art form with boutique roasteries all over the place.
What is particularly interesting is the paucity of the coffee chain stores that are familiar in many other countries, the Costas and the Starbucks. Kiwis just do not feel the need for that relentlessly formulaic approach and prefer the atmosphere and character of small cafés with their own style and roast and personality.
I asked Jeremy where we should go for a really, really good coffee in Auckland and he said that we can go anywhere. If they don't make good coffee then they'll go out of business.
All the familiar coffee types are available, as well as serious gourmet filters, and there are some particularly Antipodean options to look out for:
The Long Black - along the lines of an Americano but more strongly flavoured
The Short Black - like an espresso
The Flat White - my favourite, a double shot with velvety steamed milk rather than froth, stronger and richer than a Cappuccino or Latte. I'm no health freak and don't usually go for soy or sweeteners or decaf or skinny or anything like that but a Flat White with skimmed milk, or "trim milk" as it is called in NZ, works very nicely.
And the board next door has plenty of others.