Many people are unaware of the vibrant cafe culture that exists in New Zealand. And although coffee is very popular, there are a number of reasons Kiwis go to cafes. Here is a little breakdown.

a short black

1. Good coffee- Well, of course this has to be number one. Since the 1980s, New Zealanders have slowly started losing their taste for instant coffee and started demanding the good stuff. We still have to import the beans, of course, but much of New Zealand coffee is roasted locally by small roasters who take pride in their craft. Our baristas also win awards in world competitions.


2. Cake- Need I say more? If you choose the right cafe, you will be in cake heaven. We have traditional gateaus and also what is known as a “slice” in Kiwi English. These little rectangles, that are somewhat akin to what North Americans call a bar cookie, come as ginger crunch, chocolate peppermint, muesli, and a whole host of other delicious varieties. Also check out that 1970s staple, the carrot cake. Just about every cafe does it and it’s always moist and delicious.

veggie brekky

3. Brunch- It would not be the weekend without having at least one brunch out in a local cafe. You order your coffee and read the provided newspaper or magazines while waiting for your eggs bene (eggs benedict), Kiwi big breakfast (eggs, sausages, bacon, tomatoes, hash browns…maybe even mushrooms), or mushrooms on toast to be served. It’s very social, too, as many people will meet up with friends or family for the occasion.

Interior of the Fat Dog, Rotorua
Interior of the Fat Dog, Rotorua

4. Cool interiors- New Zealand cafes tend to each have their own theme. Some are eclectically decorated with vintage furniture from thrift shops, styled for the surfies (surfers) down near the beach, or revamped from an old church, for example. The fun is in finding new ones and checking out the decor.

people watching

5. People watching- Families, city slickers, tourists, students, they are all there for your own anthropological study.

Read more:
Cafe culture in Buenos Aires
When to drink cappuccino in Italy
The New Zealand Dairy

About the author

Marie lives in Auckland, New Zealand but was born in the United States and is a dual-national. She has lived in five countries altogether but sees New Zealand as her real home base. She loves travel, and living in multi-cultural Auckland is the next best thing to being out there.