Kiwi Coffee

Let me introduce you to my new friend, the flat white.  After my recent blog about my instant coffee routine on board, I must say that I’ve indulged in many an afternoon flat white to get that much-needed caffeine fix after a morning of boat schooling.   Who knew that New Zealand was so into its baristas and brews?

Kate, Johanna, Denise and I enjoying some girl time.
I was first introduced to this coffee creation on the island of Niue, when a few women and I met at The Crazy Uga Café  to celebrate a birthday.  I was anxious to have a professionally brewed cup of joe after many months of my Via instant coffee packets.  The word ‘latte’ could hardly wait to escape my lips.  But as I reached the counter and looked over the menu for pricing, there was not a ‘latte’ to be found.  What?  A café that doesn’t serve latte?  Is there such a place?  Should such a place even be allowed to exist?  

Thankfully, before I threw a complete adult tantrum, one of the sailing gals from New Zealand chimed in with a Kiwi translation of the unfamiliar coffee terminology on the menu.  Turns out, my precious latte was disguised as a flat white in the South Pacific.  Tantrum diverted.  Okay, this café can continue to exist.  I’ll allow it, I guess. 

Cup 'o Foam with Marshmallow Fish
Since that educating trip to my first New Zealand-inspired café, I have confidently ordered many more flat whites.  The kids even tried their first fluffies recently (see below for description).  The frothy goodness came in tiny espresso cups accompanied by the chocolate-covered, pink marshmallow-filled fish that most cafés here serve with their brews. The kids' favorite part of New Zealand coffee, however, is the fancy designs that the baristas create in the foam - ferns, hearts, swirls.  Each cup is a unique work of art.

Java Art
Below is a cheat sheet that I found online to help avoid Kiwi coffee confusion.  Next time I need a little pick me up, looks like I need to try the affogato - yum.  What’s the Kiwi name for your favorite?  Move over Starbucks, New Zealand’s coffee culture is coming full steam ahead.  They take their coffee and rugby very seriously down here.  As a matter of fact, I can’t believe they haven’t created an All Blacks brew yet!

New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team performing the traditional Maori "Haka" War Dance

NZ coffee guide 
Zest Food Tours explain New Zealand coffee terms:
espresso / short black - basis for all coffee styles, espresso is full-flavoured, fragrant, with a velvety body and lingering after-taste; single serving in a demi-tasse (small cup)
macchiato - a single or double espresso shot, just stained with frothed milk
long black - single serving of espresso, with the same amount of hot water added; served in large cup filled to just under the top, or sometimes with the water provided separately
flat white - one third espresso, two thirds steamed milk with a touch of swirled froth
cappuccino - regular espresso with equal parts steamed milk and foam, sprinkled with chocolate or cinnamon
caffe latte - regular espresso, topped with hot milk and little or no froth
mochaccino - one third each of espresso, steamed milk, cocoa
ristretto - (‘restricted’) is 15-20ml of espresso, the essence of coffee
piccolo latte - miniature latte made with ristretto and 70ml of steamed milk; delicate flavoursome drink
affogato - espresso served over ice-cream
espresso Romano - espresso served with a twist of lemon
latte macchiato - steamed milk with espresso on the side
espresso con panna - espresso topped with a dash of whipped cream
cortado - Spanish version of the piccolo served in a 60ml demitasse cup

fluffy - for kids, a demi-tasse filled with foamed milk, sprinkled with chocolate and served with marshmallow on the side and a small chocolate fish.


  1. Yes we NZ'ers are very fussy with our coffee! I get withdrawal symptoms when I head away overseas for any amount of time.


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