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 jo. 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.
ARK Coffee Company
Something about getting coffee from an exclusive spot adds a secretive and special element to the experience. Located down a tiny alley beside the Department Store, ARK brews some of the best coffee in Auckland. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the interior is a sleek coffee connoisseur’s emporium. This hidden gem is filled with amazing coffee brewing apparatuses and the baristas know how to whip up the smoothest and creamiest flat white. Don’t hold back from asking questions as the workers here 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.
To all the busy Auckland workers that are in a time crunch but need to get their quick morning fix, Amano is the place for you. The baristas at Amano take all coffee seriously and put thought and care into your cups even if they’re to go. Their coffees are strong and rich and pair amazingly with pastry from their cabinet which are made fresh on the daily. For the real coffee lovers out there who look at the whole experience rather than just the beverage alone, take the time to get a table as Amano provides an ambience that almost makes you forget that you’re in Auckland.
Atomic Roastery Kingsland
Atomic has sat in Kingsland for a while and it has a reputation for brewing some of the best coffee in Auckland. This means Atomic is often packed, but there’s good reason. Atomic is a roastery and ‘Brew Bar’ all-in-one, so the staff are absolute experts. The airy and modern interior is a great place to sit and enjoy a good, strong cup of your coffee of choice. Bonus points if you can nab one of the street-facing tables outside, which mean you can partake in the Parisian pastime of people watching the characters of Kingsland. If you grab some beans to take home, Atomic will shout you a coffee to enjoy while you’re there in return. Now that’s what we call hospitality.
The Federal Delicatessen
This place was made for the simple coffee drinkers out there, especially the ones that just one straight black with no fooling around. The Federal Delicatessen offer an American diner experience with their bottomless cups of jo. However, unlike the common stereotype of American diners having average filtered black coffee, The Federal Deli make sure you’re getting premium quality filled into your cups every single time. They have two different beans you can choose from, Supreme and Havana so it’s perfect for Wellington locals too. The Federal Deli is the prime place when you’re wanting some downtime while enjoying some soul food and endless amounts of caffeine to get you through the day.
A lot of people tend to let this café slip their minds when brainstorming for their next coffee decision as it is quite hidden. Tucked away on High St, Chuffed is a busy café with not only great food but also highly experienced baristas who take coffee very seriously. Their flat whites are great but their cold brews really deserve a special mention. Chuffed’s cold brew is potent and finds the perfect balance with their strong and bitter taste but incredibly smooth feel to the palate. Chuffed also have a great outdoor courtyard space, an ideal place to sit and take a break from a hectic day. One of the best places for coffee in Auckland.
Eighthirty is slowly but surely taking over Auckland with their expertly brewed coffee. First opening on K’ Road in 2009, you’ll now find their espresso bars in the CBD (High Street and Anzac Avenue) as well as Parnell and Ponsonby. While each joint is unique in its own right, they all have sleek, industrial interiors. The minimal spaces don’t have the unnecessary frills—just good, honest coffee brewed to perfection every. single. time. You’ll also find the much-loved brand across a handful of cafes throughout the country (they only work with the best).
Fancy an emoticon 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.
Freemans Bay and Ponsonby
Let’s be honest, Allpress coffee is one of our country’s greatest exports and makes us damn proud to be Kiwis. Becoming a major player in the coffee game worldwide, you’ll find flagship cafes in Tokyo, London, Melbourne and Sydney. Closer to home, you can get your fix from their roastery in Freemans Bay or retail store on Ponsonby Road. Allpress coffee has earnt a reputation for being smooth and consistent so you can be sure to receive a top-notch cup every time. What’s more, the Ponsonby site hosts in-store coffee classes so you can create a café-style brew at home. Our fave from Allpress is their latte as it’s full-bodied and oh so creamy.
If you’re looking for Auckland’s best coffee, you may imagine the ideal local café/coffee shop, you fantasize about a friendly owner, welcoming, warm and cosy environment with a loyal following of regular customers. The Coffee Pen on Eden Terrace turns this fantasy into reality with their constantly smiling barista and owner, home-baked menu and amazing coffee. The Coffee Pen only use speciality coffee which is the finest 3% beans of world production, so it’s safe to say that this place is top notch. The beans are origins from the coffee capitals of the world, Brazil and Colombia so we can fully trust these guys to provide us with the best. Also, do yourselves a favour and check their sweet treats out, they are not to be missed.
Kokako was one of the leaders of the health food wave that has swept the city and their coffee is truly the star of the show. How so? Kokako coffee is both certified Fairtrade and organic—on ya, Kokako. 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. The supply their beans at select cafes nationwide—lookout for the iconic Kokako bird (the one with the blue wattle).
Dizengoff serves up some of the best coffee on the café-saturated Ponsonby Road. Single shot coffees are just offensive to this coffee rat, so Dizengoff gets serious brownie points for being one of the first Auckland places to offer a double shot as standard. The coffee also comes out piping hot, which is a welcome touch after far too many lukewarm experiences at the other places on the busy strip. What’s more, Dizengoff has an ace brunch game. We can’t go past their half-and-half breakfast with scrambled eggs and balsamic mushrooms on sourdough. Coffee + eggs + mushrooms = the best start to the day.
Newly opened in Takapuna and already earning a reputation for brewing up the best coffee in their area. Centro use beans from Flight Coffee which is a rare find on the North Shore. They make sure to differentiate each sort of coffee through texture and flavour. Their flat white is balanced, their latte is creamy, their cappuccino is frothy and the long black is strong. Centro stay true to authentic and traditional coffee and don’t like to play around when it comes to the beverage. They also do some refreshing iced coffees as well if that’s more your type of thing.
Parnell, Britomart and Orakei Bay Village
For some of the finest brews in town, look no further than Espresso Workshop. Founded in Parnell back in 2007, the roaster uses the best quality beans to produce small batch, roasted coffee like no other. Pop into stock up on beans, enjoy a meal and a cuppa, or grab a coffee for the road. Alternatively, get your inner-city coffee fix from their Britomart espresso bar or the Amerpsand’s Coffee Alley in Orakei Bay Village. If you’re serious about coffee (you are) keep an eye out for their coffee workshops covering everything from preparation techniques, recipes and milk texturing.
If you’ve given hope of ever managing to nab a table at the elusive Orphan’s 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 from Supreme is 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.
The Return of RAD Café
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 the amazing Wellington roaster, Flight, 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 (anyone for a chocolate fish shake?) are equally desirable.
One Tree Hill
Weta Coffee is making a difference—once coffee at a time. Launching in 2014, the boutique roastery uses 100 per cent premium Arabica beans sourced from sustainable and ethical farms around the world. With super friendly staff and coffee that is roasted on site (ahhh the smell), this neighbourhood venue is perfect for your daily fix. And for the weta? They give an ongoing contribution from every cup sold towards the Giant Weta at Auckland Zoo. Noice.
too Good Espresso
Nestled on Brown Street, too Good Espresso has quickly grown a loyal following. This light and bright space is owned by Rata Miller, a barista who knows his shit—his father started roasting the beans more than 30 years ago. While coffee is the focus at this cosy spot, you’ll also find rich Belgian hot chocolate and uplifting Kawakawa tea. Pair with a sweet treat made by the talented team at Criollo and you’ll be away laughing. If you haven’t been yet, it’s time to pay a visit.
Lattes, long blacks, drip coffee—you name it, and this North Shore spot has got it. With great service, the McGregor family has travelled the world and bring their expertise back to Auckland for your coffee pleasure. The Coffee Lab believes in doing good, they also actively help orphans, abandoned kids and the poor around the world. A word of warning: this spot gets pretty chocka in the weekend so get in early or opt for a takeaway cuppa. Oh, and the chocolate brownies are not-to-be-missed.
Another North Shore hotspot, Coffee General knows a thing or two about serving some of the best coffee in Auckland. Whether you like your coffee light, medium or dark, sweet or strong, they’ll deliver. Bringing together some of the finest coffee New Zealand can offer, this funky little venue is a must-visit. You’ll also find brewing equipment so you can BYO (that’s brew your own).
Sure, Goodness Gracious is already on our radar because of its incredible bagels, but don’t stop there—the coffee is where it’s at. Get your morning fix at this small but friendly spot on New North Road as you head into the city. They’ve even got affogato on the menu for those who like their caffeine with a big ol’ dollop of ice cream.
Head out west and visit Deco Eatery for some great coffee. Situated in the historic Lopdell House, enjoy something from their delicious Turkish menu while you sip away on your coffee. It’s blended and roasted on site so you’ll be drinking the highest quality 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 and it’s so. damn. good.
Image Credit: Jaiden Bhaga