Brewing a bean scene
In a startling burst of reverse colonialism, Auckland baristas are schooling Londoners in the art of good coffee. Here, we talk to five local exports boosting London’s bean scene.
An oral history of New Zealand coffee in London often begins with a little cafe in Soho called Flat White, before covering off a series of names that are to London as Depot is to Auckland: Caravan, Climpson & Sons, Allpress. An Australian and New Zealand-led coffee revolution suddenly inspired the notion that if the tips jar read “tups” and there was a jandalled barista behind the machine, the brew would be good. The phrase “flat white” slowly entered the British vernacular, most frequently prefaced by the words “what is a?”, because up until that point, a cup of coffee usually meant half a pint of milk with a drop of generic espresso, or was shunned entirely for a brick-hued mug of tea. But the dent has been made. Caravan Coffee, founded in Exmouth Market in 2010 by a trio of New Zealanders, now has three restaurants and a coffee wholesale business with a turnover of $18 million a year. They also have future plans to expand their offering with a dedicated roasting and retail facility.
Nothing’s more New Zealand than flying 18,389 kilometres to be served coffee by someone who knew your order by heart at a cafe back home. We interviewed five such faces: former Aucklanders working in coffee in London. We asked them about life in the capital, their view of New Zealand coffee culture as an export, and just how hipster they really are.
The managing director of Climpson & Sons coffee roasters moved to London in 2010.
The manager of Bulldog Edition, the cafe at Shoreditch’s Ace Hotel, moved to London in July 2016.
Wholesale account manager, Caravan Coffee Roasters. Moved to London in 2013.
The barista at Allpress moved to London in March 2016.
The co-owner of Flotsam and Jetsam cafe moved to London in 2012.