The Perfect Day out in Auckland
A coffee tour of Auckland, brought to you by Matt Sime
Take 2 - the first version of this post was incomplete! Here’s the full post, ready to rock. Have a great Thursday!
This week’s post is brought to you by Matt Sime - a Wellington native who has travelled the world drinking coffee and getting into some mad adventures.
Matt is a close mate who got me into coffee on a fateful trip to New York City (it was a massive frappe thing from Starbucks in Trump Towers).
Enjoy this tour of Auckland - I sure did and I’ll be sure to check out these places next time I’m in the big smoke.
The Perfect Day out in Auckland
Sometimes you wake up and you’re just in the mood for too much coffee. If you happen to wake up in Ponsonby then I have some excellent news for you. Kick back, and take note, of how you can spend your day meandering to the nearby cafes, and indulging your caffeine requirements.
Step 1 - leave Ponsonby and go to Grey Lynn (we will return to Ponsonby later).
Stop 1 - Ozone, Grey Lynn
Hop on your bike at about 6:50am and get yourself down to Ozone. Yes. Let’s just start with one of the inspiring big players because, well, they have a cool vibe, really friendly staff, and some of their coffees are really awesome.
The café really does look breathtaking. High ceilings, an industrial inspired interior with their open plan kitchen dominating the center, baristas lining the coffee-bar against a wall, and their industrial roasting operation behind a floor to ceiling glass wall at the back. It’s a great place to just sit and enjoy your first cup of the day.
Don’t be lured in. Don’t settle here. Don’t order food yet (unless you are nursing a hangover). You have a big day ahead of you and I would hate for you to ruin your appetite too soon.
Even though the following cafes are only going to offer you sandwiches, the right choice is to wait. How can home-made corn bread with jalapeneo butter, or even smoked fish kedgeree beat a few lousy sandwiches? Well, as it turns out Auckland is full of surprises.
Stop 2 - Neighbour, Grey Lynn
Back on your bike, you have the tiniest hill to climb. You might break the lightest of sweats as you ascend to the Grey Lynn rise - this is probably less due to exertion and entirely due to the fact that it is yet another stunning, warm, beautiful morning in Auckland. The sky is probably flashing some beautiful colours above you, and you ride for a few minutes reflecting on the years of completely unjustified prejudice you have held against this incredible city overflowing with the most incredible people.
Before long you arrive at Neighbour. A really perfect wee cafe. This is a small business that is specialising in the traditional café experience. Excellent vibe, excellent staff, excellent coffee. This is everything I want.
Sometimes you stumble across a café or food that becomes your daily routine. For me in Wellington this used to be a chicken sammy from Memphis Bell (in loving memory), or if I was too lazy to walk the extra 100 metres, simply a burrito from Sixes and Sevens (with the sauce of just-butter that pooled on your plate after every meal, it was unhealthy, heavy, and basic, but I loved it, and I bought it. All. The. Time).
I had a wrap from Neighbour. Well, more accurately, I had a bite of a wrap from Neighbour, and “shared” the rest of the wrap with my partner. It was really just sensational. Unlike my previous addictions from Wellington, this wrap was healthy. I could actually not just survive on this, but thrive. Without a doubt, if I had a job in Auckland, and could afford to live near Neighbour, I would go there every day.
You may purchase and enjoy their wrap. You may either eat your wrap now or save your wrap for later.
Stop 3 - Florets Bakery, Grey Lynn
Get back on your bike for four minutes and jet over to the other Grey Lynn cafe area.
Florets are passionate about bread. But they also do utterly sensational coffee. I would suggest getting toast here too, as they will no doubt have some sensational toppings to blow your mind.
From a year of searching this was my favourite bakery in Auckland, so feel free to stock up on bread now too. Remember, in the privacy of your own home you can eat as much bread as you like, so buy up large.
And see those cookies by the counter? Do they look like perfectly baked chewy chocolatey overloads? You can’t possibly leave without one of those. But what if your partner wants “a bite”? Better make it two. Just to be safe.
Eat out to help out.
Stop 4 - Crumb, Grey Lynn, RIP
This was my favourite cafe. It was located on a sunny little quiet corner on a hilly backstreet, surrounded by villas and greenery. This was a short bike ride from home.
The flat whites were incredible. They even had home-made kimchi in a toasted sandwich which was pretty decadent.
I loved this place immensely.
Sadly, due to the housing crisis, the wealthy landowner needed their land back so they could build a garage to park their boat. And so the cafe was displaced. Crumb Grey Lynn - in loving memory - thank you for the incredible coffees.
Note: the spirit of Crumb lives on, with their other cafe, Little Crumb, in Kingsland.
Stop 5 - Daily Daily, Karangahape Road
Let’s just kiss the cusp of the city and take a wee ride now up to Daily Daily on K-Road. This is a hipster as cafe where you will have incredible coffees made however you want.
This is mandatory to go to.
If you’re there early enough on a Friday, consider indulging in a cinnamon scroll. The only thing that surprises me is they sell beans roasted in the Philippines, which strikes me as an added cost and challenge, but is offset by the awesomeness of supporting a small roaster over there. They do seem to always have a rotating stock of NZ roasted beans though too which is cool, especially as you get to learn a bit about what they’ve been making and enjoying lately.
This cafe reminds me a bit of Wellington’s Lamasons (in loving memory) - a place you go to because you want a consistent incredible mind-blowing funky coffee.
Stop 6 - Little Bird, Ponsonby
Enough abusing your body with carbs, meats, and fatty foods! It’s time to pay for your sin of gluttony. Figuratively, and also literally. Grab your wallet and get back on your bike, and head down to Summer Street in Ponsonby.
Don’t be one of those meandering cyclists as you traipse down Ponsonby road. Yes, it’s a beautiful morning. Yes you’re probably wearing expensive linen pants. But that is no excuse for holding up the traffic - which is already butting along at 40km/h. This is your chance to show cars what cyclists are capable of! This is your personal equivalent of the four-minute mile! Put your head down and work it. If you’ve lycra that makes you look like you have obtained sponsorship, consider putting this on. This will help you send a message to everyone else that you think you are cool as you shave off a few additional milliseconds towards this Daily-to-Bird strava segment.
Little Bird is sensational. Everything is healthy, and incredibly tasty. Order as many juices and as much brunch as you can afford. The display cabinet of obscure yet enticing sweet treats is a magnet for the weak willed.
Each desserty snack looks more enticing, more luxurious, more flavoursome than the last. But the real winners here are the cold press juices, the smoothies, and the brunch menu. Waffles, savoury Vietnamese crepes, and the Lentil dosas were part of my regular go-tos. Each so healthy, so incredible, so tasty.
On the coffee front they offer a cold brew mixed with hazelnut milk that you need to try. This is crazy tasty and extremely moorish, and I have made this at home on numerous occasions.
They also sell some tasty take-home soups which I am still currently getting delivered to Wellington - at about $20 per jar - every week. Actually worth it.
Stop 7 - Orphan’s Kitchen, Ponsonby
Brunch is over, it’s now lunch time. If you are still hungry, consider Orphan’s Kitchen. This gem on Ponsonby road has some ace food and great coffee. This is becoming a bit of a theme…like white noise, you’re becoming desensitised to these incredible experiences, as you reach for your seventh perfect coffee of the day. Much like Little Bird, Orphans Kitchen also makes their own hazelnut milk. This goes beautifully in a flat white. Would recommend.
Hopefully by now you are feeling alive. You are finally awake, and you have the energy you need to bike yourself off to work and get through the day.
There you go
This journey was 5.5km, and 24 minutes of travel time. A link to the Google map is available here.
There are many other great cafes in the area, and I apologise for missing these out. Honourable mentions to Annabel's wine bar, Ponsonby, for a morning espresso or an evening natural wine, and Dedwood Deli, Ponsonby, for a cheeky coffee with a doughnut.
Massive thanks to Matt for this awesome jaunt around Auckland’s finest.
Matt has accepted the unpaid position of UK Correspondent for The Magic Roast! He’s heading over to London soon to investigate the coffee scene on the other side of the world, and will be reporting regularly on what’s going down.
Safe travels Matt!