Thursday, September 16, 2010

One Thing Thursday: Wellington, New Zealand

For five months after leaving the hallowed halls of Drake University, I hung out on the opposite side of the globe, working two jobs, living below the poverty level and wearing turquoise suede boots in Wellington, New Zealand.

One Thing to do in Wellington: Grab a coffee.

Kiwis are dead serious about their coffee, man. As a fledgling barista (I put in a few good months at Caribou before taking up shop and brewing down under), I realized this like, real quick when disgruntled Wellingtonions would spit out the flat white I had just ruined. It took me at least four months of full time barista-ing at the national museum's cafe before I could pull a decent Kiwi-level coffee. It's just no joke down there.

I heard once that Wellington has more coffee shops per capita than any city on earth. Every corner has a funky little shop with highly skilled baristas ready to pump your veins full of caffeine. Truly making a good coffee is an art and I think Kiwis might know that better than anyone, even Italians. They steam milk perfect, they roast, portion and grind beans perfect. They tamp perfect. No wimpy press-a-button-and-BOOM-coffee machines down there. Just lovingly pulled perfect shots of roasty espresso and creamy milk (fun fact: skim milk in New Zealand is called trim milk. Isn't that adorable?).

If you have time for two things: find a little round building down off Courtney Place near the city center and if it still a vegetarian cafe/coffee shop, get a chocolate cake and flat white. OH. GOOD. HEAVENS. I'll never ever forget that cake. It was my day-off ritual. Also, the reason I brought an extra ten pounds back stateside with me. But, I digress.

An extra freebie for you: for a third thing, admire Kiwi women's fashion. They are way, way ahead of us. They were rocking skinny jeans in 2005, at least a year before I saw them here. I don't know how they managed to lead the pack in skinny jeans and have that cake in their nation, bless their hearts.

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