I can safely say that if you’re a coffee lover, you’ve never been to Wellington and you’re perhaps thinking of heading over there, then brace yourself as the amount of coffee shops and carts around town will astound you.
It could well be true that this city has more coffee shops per capita than New York City. Espresso machines are chugging away all over the place and it’s evident the people behind them know what they’re doing. Might I add that the average Wellingtonian probably knows its doppio from its ristretto!
One such place that takes great pride in its beans is Mojo. A place that has almost 26 cafe’s around New Zealand, 14 of which are in Wellington and a place that roasts its own beans at the appropriately named Mojo Coffee Central in the historic Shed 13 on the city waterfront.
We’re met by Catherine of Zest Food Tours, a tour company that is passionate about the Wellington food and wine scene and personally guides you around their favourite food stores, cafés and restaurants and give you insight to local spots that visitors may miss. Catherine introduces us to Lambros, master roaster of the Mojo coffee bean.
Owner Steve Gianoutsos started off small and now with Mojo HQ in operation it is not only a roastery but a place for staff to be trained and to gather for full Mojo immersion. Lambros, Steve’s father is onsite most of the time looking after the roasting side of the operation.
Listening to Lambros talk so fluently about the roasting process is music to any coffee lovers ears, especially when you’re standing infront of the noisy roasting machine spinning and cooling freshly roasted beans before syphoning them out into big plastic tubs.
Hessian sacks of green beans are piled high in the warehouse and before roasting they’re dumped into a hopper and screened to remove debris that may have turned up in the country of origin, such as wire, glass and stones. “The machine is heated to 225°C before adding the green beans and at about 140°C you hear the first crack. After the second crack it’s ready”.
The hot freshly roasted beans pour into a circular cooling vat where several spokes turn and toss the beans, cooling them to stop any further roasting. 50kg of green single origin beans are roasted at a time where they lose about 20% of their moisture and 2 tonne of beans are roasted every week.
Across from Mojo HQ is the conveniently located Mojo Waterfront Cafe where we get to sit and enjoy the final product. This is my first taste of the blend and I’m impressed at the first sip. It’s strong and gutsy and just the way I like my coffee. (mental note: remember to by Mojo beans before going back to Sydney)
If you’re more inclined with tea you can also get your fill or if you need a little warming up you really ought to go for one of the Shott lemon, ginger & honey drinks. This is served hot and is almost like something your Nanna would have given you when you were feeling a bit under the weather. Sweet, lemony and hot with a mild bite of ginger.
For me it’s all about the coffee, and the macchiato I had at Mojo Waterfront was near perfect, just a little scant on the milk. I went back the following morning after a brave and chilly waterfront walk after breakfast and enjoyed a flat white and lolly cake (3.5) before purchasing a kilo of beans to take back home to Sydney.
hnf visited Mojo Coffee Central as a guest of Positively Wellington Tourism for Wellington On a Plate (WOAP)
Other posts from my Wellington On a Plate experience: