Auckland, one of the very few cities where there are more local cafes and coffee shops rather than big coffee chain franchises. The coffee culture in Auckland is real and so are the endless amount of options we have to choose from. As coffee lovers, we don’t just want a morning kick of caffeine. We want an enjoyable cup of aromatic goodness to start the day right and it can take a bit of trial and error to find the perfect cup of joe. After downing a dangerous dosage of caffeine, we have made up a list of Auckland’s best coffee and the own little experiences they bring.
The cafe formerly known as Kōkako has transformed its look (Kia Ora, Postal Service) but one thing still remains the same—the coffee is still Kōkako, and the coffee is still great. Delighting many coffee and food enthusiasts for over seven years, Kōkako coffee is both certified Fairtrade and organic. Situated in the historic Grey Lynn post office, the café serves a range of coffee options (both espresso and filter) as well as a seasonal menu that’s both delicious and nutritious. You can also buy beans for at-home brewing—they even have a subscription service available. They supply their beans at select cafes nationwide—simply lookout for the iconic Kōkako bird you know and love.
Everything about Billy oozes cool. There’s the incredible and very instagrammable menu, the trendy fit-out and even their stylish Billy branded uniform (merch was available to purchase last time we were in) which has often made us wonder, are they hiring? But the standout isn’t just a cup of coffee; it’s the whole experience of enjoying your coffee. For starters, they use Supreme to extract liquid gold, and is best enjoyed sitting out front of the shop. With amazing views of the stunning Auckland Domain and our iconic museum, this is taking your coffee game to the next level. Their iced coffee is heaven on a summers day, and their takeaway cups are works of art, so we’d love more than anything if they came out with their own range of keep cups.
We would sacrifice our best friend and our right arm for a good coffee, but when you head along to Bestie in St Kevin’s Arcade, there is really no need to compromise. The favourite espresso spot along Karangahape road for as long as we can remember, their alternative milks are reasonably priced and that’s a huge tick for us. There are no gimmicks or frills when it comes to the all important caffeine hit, because there is no need for it. The best coffees simply make you feel great, so you won’t find any fleeting Instagram trends (looking at you, deconstructed flat whites). Just a good cup of Eighthirty, skilfully prepared by a happy barista. Besides the Towpath toastie, what more could you ask for?
Atomic Roastery Kingsland
The familiar smell of toast when you’re walking along New North Road can only mean one thing: Atomic is a roastin’. A Kingsland coffee staple for years, it’s outlasted many of the old favourites on the strip, and the reason for this is simple. Atomic Roastery makes a bloody good coffee. A roastery, ‘Brew Bar’ and eatery all-in-one; the airy and modern interior is a great place to sit and enjoy a good, strong cup of roasted bean juice. Bonus points if you can nab one of the street-facing tables outside whilst you partake in the street-side custom of Kingsland people watching.
Honey Bones has been around for a few years now and has cemented itself as a staple in the Auckland coffee and brunch scene. A favourite among patrons who come from near and far, their blend of choice is Supreme, and their coffee is superb. Whoever is behind the coffee machine is also likely to be part machine, as every coffee arrives promptly, is consistently delicious and looks just how a great coffee should—beautiful. Extra points for the bacon butty which goes perfectly with your hangover, made better by a velvet-y flat white to wash it all down. Get yourself a hangover today, you won’t regret it.
West is best, so head out in that direction and visit Deco Eatery, Titirangi’s Turkish delight for some great coffee and an overall, wonderful experience. Situated in the historic Lopdell House, enjoy something from their delicious menu while you sip away on your brew of choice. It’s blended and roasted on site so you’ll be drinking the freshest coffee possible. We can’t go past their signature Turkish coffee served with a cube of Turkish delight—it’s some of the strongest coffee you’ll try. If you’re cutting back on caffeine but want a hot cuppa, their hot chocolate is served with a stick of Whittaker’s chocolate, a sight which needs to be seen and enjoyed.
Since 2009, Eighthirty has slowly but surely staged a takeover of our tulip cups and hearts with their fantastic blend, cool industrial fit-outs and expertly brewed coffee. Whilst the coffee speaks for itself, it’s the people who are the beating heart of their coffee shops. Their baristas are just as skilled in making great coffee, as they are in delighting you with great conversation (this is a special shout out to the MVP barista, Francis of Ponsonby Central). With joints on K Road, Ponsonby Central, High Street and Anzac Ave, there’s bound to be an Eighthirty near you. If that’s not the case, you’ll find the much loved brand in a handful of great cafes throughout the country. Tip your barista!
If you’ve given up hope of ever managing to nab a table at the elusive Orphans Kitchen for dinner, ditch the queue and make sure you visit them in the day time to enjoy one of Auckland’s best coffees. The coffee is Supreme and expertly crafted, and somehow seems silkier and smoother than that served up elsewhere. They offer options of creamy raw buffalo or hazelnut milk and it really does make the cup that much more lavish.
Serving up Wellington’s best export yet (Flight Coffee), prepare to let Williams Eatery take you on a journey. Located a few blocks back from Wynyard Quarter’s main drag, Williams Eatery has fast become a favourite for brunch enthusiasts and coffee connoisseurs alike. Nothing beats sitting outside with a long black whilst reading the paper, people watching (or dog-spotting) and taking in Tāmaki Makaurau in all its glory. Inside is spacious, yet cosy and the service is impeccable. This might be a stretch to say no one has ever had a bad coffee here, but there isn’t any evidence to say otherwise. Head on down and find out for yourself.
Fancy an emoji with your coffee? Taking coffee art to a whole new level, the friendly baristas at Sandringham’s Petit Bocal never cease to amaze with the artwork adorning their cups. Half the fun is waiting to see what cartoon character, animal or elaborate pattern will arrive at your table. Trust us when we say: they’re too adorable not to Instagram. Rest assured, the novelty doesn’t get in the way of quality with beautiful Supreme Coffee hiding underneath the foam.
Taking up prime real estate on the corner of Westmere shops and deservedly so, views of the harbour towards West Auckland make Seabreeze a picturesque coffee spot. Having been around since 2016, just like how they serve their coffee—they’re still going strong. A favourite spot for locals, dogs are a welcome sight outside, and are welcomed by the masses waiting on takeaways and in need of joy. Coffee is Supreme, which makes sense as this seems to be a favourite for some of the best cafes and eateries in Auckland.
The Return of RAD Cafe
RAD occupies a relatively small space at the end of Mt Eden Village and the coffee is, err, totally rad. The house ‘bomber’ blend comes from Flight Coffee, and the team at Rad certainly do it justice. They’ve got all your caffeine faves as well as cold drip, clever brew and aero press. Yep, trust us when we say: these guys are serious about good coffee. Every cup is made with a copious amount of TLC and a range of guest blends and single origins are often available for connoisseurs. Their juices, smoothies and milkshakes are equally desirable.
Tucked away in Westmoreland Street West, Grey Lynn, you’ll find an all-day eatery, which in our humble opinion, has flown under the radar for far too long. It’s not only the open, light-filled space or incredible food that will make your day—the unsung hero of Ozone is their coffee. With their beans expertly roasted on site, whatever you're craving, Ozone will deliver with a coffee menu tailored to your style of beverage. There’s seperate blends for black and white espresso, single origins for those ooh-la-la brews (CC: syphons, aeropress et al) and a friendly staff member on stand-by to answer your queries or top up your water the second you take a sip. You won’t be disappointed, you’ll will be fulfilled.
What kind of place is Kind? A sanctuary. You’d be quite surprised to be transported to an other world place after coming in from industrial Morningside. Trying to beautify the up and coming suburb, Kind is a social enterprise, which will mean that with every sip of your delicious almond, half strength, extra hot flat white (three-quarters full) is supporting a cafe with an ethical and sustainable ethos. Another eatery serving up delectable Supreme coffee, your conscience will thank you for this one.
Tucked down the back of Ponsonby’s The Shelter, save the designer racks and homewares for later, because you’re here for a singular mission. Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to test out the Brazilian single origin which Maloca is steadily becoming known for. Single origin means when coffee beans originate from one place, as opposed to sourcing them from multiple locations and blending them together, and single origin is something the Brazil is not necessarily famous for in the world of coffee. Husband and wife owners Renato and Cintia are on a mission to change that, and just one taste offers you a new flavour profile whilst expanding your horizons. Grab yourself a filter coffee via V60, or try it as espresso. Since you’ve been converted, the racks await, and you are now ready.
A recent addition to the Auckland coffee scene, Patch is serving brunch with a Korean twist and a great cup of Kōkako coffee. Owners Allen Zhang and Jenny Che took over Forrest Hill favourite, William Souter Espresso a few years back, and have obviously taken their learnings to deliver a bold new eatery— just what the doctor ordered for Sunnybrae. Coffee is a ritual, it's preparation to take on the day. A good brew is paramount, but the environment in which you consume it needs to match. So when you sit down at Patch, revel in the wide, open industrial space, and be inspired as the sun shines in from the sky lights. Take a sip of your coffee and ready yourself to take on the world.
ARK Coffee Company
Something about getting your brew from an exclusive spot adds a special element to your coffee ritual. Located down a tiny alley beside the Department Store, ARK has been in business since 2012 and run by sister duo, Naomi and Ulala. This hidden gem is filled with expert coffee brewing apparatuses as well as baristas with the knowledge and skill to whip up the smoothest flat white in the whole damn North Shore. Don’t hold back from asking questions as the crew are more than happy to walk you through the difference between pour-over and cold-press and help you to find the perfect bean and method for you.
A lot of people tend to let this café slip their minds when considering their next pick-me-up, but if you’re in downtown Auckland, this needs to be at the top of your list. Tucked away on High St, Chuffed have been brewing for a number of years now and are a regular on lists such as this one. A busy café with not only great food but also highly experienced baristas who take coffee very, very seriously. Their flat whites are great but their cold brews really deserve a special mention. They also have a great outdoor space with art spray painted on the surrounding walls, making it the ideal spot to sit and take a break from the crazy city. One of the best places for coffee in Auckland, this is no doubt a place which will leave you feeling Chuffed.
Honorable mention—La Voie Française
La Voie Française is a French bakery located on the Sandringham end of Dominion Road. If you want to have the closest thing to what the French consider a good boulangerie, this is the shit right here. Kiwis hate nothing more than standing in lines, but for these freshly baked baguettes, croissants and all manner of french treats, you will be happy to wait. Seriously. But what sticks out about this joint, is the barista who just might be superhuman. Wait times and rushes are a fact of life but La Voie Française will deliver you a stunning take away cup of Kōkako that is well worth the wait. Promise.
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Image credit: Phil Botha, Billy Cafe, Honey Bones,Williams Eatery, Ozone Coffee, Chuffed