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New Zealand: Not Just Mountains and Rings – Cafe Culture

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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 twenty years old, but has become very much a part of the NZ lifestyle. And I mean cafes that make really good coffee, with home-style 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, except for inner city locations.


In July of 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 annoying winds. 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 cozy 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 okay because there was jazz playing softly in the background and warming my hands was a cup of my favorite coffee: flat white.


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 double shot 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 that’s 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 Web site I recently discovered. If you are planning a trip down under to either Australia or New Zealand, you must try out the wonderful cafes around the cities and towns. But for now, just picture yourself sipping on some of the finest quality coffee made with love for you to enjoy.

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