It’s not QUITE around the corner (like Rabbit Island Coffee used to be…), but if you don’t mind the 150km/ 2 hour trek over the Whangamoa Saddle to Blenheim, Matt Hellriegel’s “Ritual” café pretty much fits the bill.
Stunningly good coffee, funky decor (if you ignored the accents, you could be in New England – this place has a clone in Keene, NH..), food to kill for (mine was scrambled eggs with hot-smoked salmon) and the nicest 26 year old you’ll meet in a long time.
And it’s how a café should be – call it 4th Wave coffee.
The first wave – in America, at least – was putting filter coffee of everyone’s breakfast table (“The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup”.
Peet’s and Starbuck’s made espresso widely accessible to a large public – that was the 2nd wave.
The 3rd wave? Beans are sourced from farms instead of countries, roasting is about bringing out rather than incinerating the unique characteristics of each bean, and the flavor is clean and hard and pure.
But frequently a bit precious.
When the 3rd wave becomes normal – no retro-hip baristas (caps, pinstriped vests, suspenders and tattoos), you’ve got the 4th wave