A specialty coffee tour of Hawke's Bay
Specialty coffee has hit Hawkers - and it's great.
It hasn’t been known for it’s coffee scene - until recently.
Back in the day, if you were taking someone out for coffee, you went to Robert Harris in Napier’s historic Mid City Plaza. The coffee was awful, the sausage rolls were dry, and your Nan loved it. But that was it - the pinnacle of the Morning Brown’s was Robert Harris.
I’m pleased to report though, things have changed, and in a big, big way.
So, next time you’re in Hawke’s Bay, taking in the sights, respectfully trekking up the maunga or splashing in one of the amazing awa, check out these awesome coffee spots.
Why these ones in particular?
I’ve chosen these ones as they are pretty well spread out far and wide throughout Hawke’s Bay. It means you’re never too far away from amazing coffee, no matter what you’re up to.
Haumoana is a small coastal town in between Napier and Hastings. It’s a place that you’d probably blast past on your way to Te Awanga or out to Clifton. But don’t just blast past. It’s well worth taking that left turn off the highway and driving the whopping 1 minute out of your way to hit up Haumoana Coffee.
I’ve written about Haumoana Coffee on this blog before. Everything there still stands - the place rocks, the coffee rocks, the food rocks and that fact Matt Goodin places the community at the heart of what he’s doing out there, makes it even better.
What to do near Haumoana Coffee
Being almost smack bang in the middle of the Bay, means you have great access to heaps of cool sights. Check out:
The surf at Te Awanga - great wave in almost all conditions. Say hi to the locals out in the line up and you’ll be warmly welcomed.
A wine at Clearview Estate - Clearview is a treat. They have great wines, a great setting and an awesome playground to keep the kids entertained while you do the adult thing. The Sparkling Blush is awesome and you should sell everything you own to get ALL of this.
The famous Gannets at Cape Kidnappers - kids and the grandparents love this stuff. Ride a tractor to see one of the largest colonies of gannets in the world.
Conveniently placed on the main road in Clive, is Box Espresso - the original coffee outlet for the awesome Hawke’s Bay coffee roaster, Firsthand. It’s right next to the BP, so the next time you’re cruising through Clive on your drive from Te Mata Peak back to Napier, pull over and fuel yourself up while you’re fueling your car up.
The barista is awesome - great yarns while they pull amazing shots. We got the long black and a flat white, and they were totally on point.
This place has a super cruisy vibe, despite being on the main drag of a busy highway. You can sit outside in the Hawke’s Bay sun and enjoy the resident dog while you have your caffeine hit.
They sell Firsthand beans there as well, so you can pick yourself up supplies to smash out amazing coffee where ever your travels take you.
What to do near Box Espresso
Most people blast through Clive on the way to somewhere else. Pretty standard, but if you take the time to explore the area, you’ll be treated to some awesome adventures:
Go for a stroll along the Waitangi Regional Park - including the awesome Ātea a Rangi Star Compass.
In the heart of the Napier CBD, is Mister D, a restaurant that is, as they describe, “a little bit country and a little bit rock & roll.” Sure, but they’re also a killer spot for coffee.
Coffee is supplied by the Wellington native Coffee Supreme, and expertly crafted by some of the greatest baristas you’ll find in a restaurant.
When it comes to restaurant-focused coffee, something usually gives. You usually can’t bust tables and turn over customers in a busy restaurant environment, AND have the time and skill to dedicate to excellent coffee. Mister D proves that it can be done.
Take the opportunity to sit down and have some kai with your coffee. If you’re after a quick treat, get the doughnuts. They’re mad tasty and you can inject the filling in yourself!
What to do near Mister D
Now that you’re caffeinated and pretty full, you can explore Napier CBD and check out:
The world famous Art Deco style - the style took hold after the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that destroyed much of the Hawke’s Bay region, back in 1931. So take a walking tour to learn about the history and take in all the Art Deco treasures.
Relax in the Sunken Gardens - grab yourself an ice-cream and chill out in the Sunken Gardens. You’ll need your energy after all the exploring you’ve been doing!
Pop a kickflip down at Bay Skate - got your board or scooter? Have a hoon at Bay Skate. Or just watch what these kids can do these days. Never thought I’d see kids backflip a scooter with such ease. Fun!
Crazy Good named themselves after their coffee - it’s Crazy Good! (citation required).
Crazy Good is incredible. Located in Ahuriri, Crazy Good brings the specialty coffee vibe, and the punters, to a rejuvenated part of Napier that used to be best avoided!
Yes, I know, it’s another Firsthand Coffee spot, but it’s great and it has to be here.
Home to the “best mocca we’ve had so far” said my long suffering wife, and hands down the best long black I’ve had in ages. Crazy Good will serve up amazing coffee over and over.
What to do near Crazy Good
Ahuriri is full of history, and it’s right near a beach, so you have a great mix of things to do:
Whale Tale Antiques - right across the road from Crazy Good is an amazing fine art and antiques store. Even if buying history isn’t really your thing, Whale Tale is fun just to poke around. You might even find something you like.
Take the kids to Spriggs Park - I once fell off the swing at Spriggs Park and got a concussion that was left untreated. Thankfully the park has been upgraded and is much much safer! A great park for the kids to play on after exploring the rock pools for crabs and starfish. You can even have a quick dip in the sea. Nommy.
“Have a hot hot chick and a cool cool cat by the beach with the sea and the sun”. BBQ style chicken and ice cream - Hot Chick and Cool Cat is a Napier institution, and deservedly so. No trip to the o-four is complete without a stop here.
I swear I don’t work for Firsthand Coffee - they are everywhere around the Bay, and rightly so (and fast becoming the Mojo of Hawkers).
Yes, Cupple is another Firsthand spot, but no coffee tour of Hawkers (as it’s known to like no one), should miss this excellent coffee stop in Hastings.
Cupple brings that Firsthand coffee love that I’ve waxed lyrical about, but coupled (did they do that on purpose?) with the best bakery in the Bay, Y’a Bon French Baker.
You can get yourself an amazing filter coffee and then get stocked up on amazing bread (including the best Sourdough you’ll ever have), pastries and cheeses.
Best coffee in the ‘Stings hands down.
What to do near Cupple
In the heart of Hastings, you have the world at your feet now that your caffeinated and full of gluten. So, check out:
The Common Room Bar - across the road from Cupple is an amazing craft beer bar. You’ve had enough of coffee anyway, so go get yourself a brew, watch a band and have some food.
Splash Planet - yeah, its hot, your kids are sick of you dragging them around Hawke’s Bay drinking coffee and they want a swim. Go spend a day at Splash Planet and have a great time.
Sit down, relax - you deserve it
That’s a pretty mad tour of Hawke’s Bay aka The Bay aka Hawkers aka the Best Coffee Region in the East Coast of New Zealand.
I hope this guide helps you explore the Bay while enjoying a wonderful cup of coffee.If you did, share it with your frems and family so they can plan their trip!
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Chur - TMR