Crème de la crema: Waikato coffee roasters
Whatever your preference as a coffee drinker, one thing these local roasters have in common is that their beans make for a smooth flavoursome cup of joe, be your choice a flat white, cappuccino, a long black, espresso, macchiato, mochaccino, filter or even a drip.
Many have their own shop fronts selling coffee drinks, as well as take-home beans, either whole or freshly ground, and some do capsules too. Then there’s the option to purchase online.
Here’s who’s roasting in the Waikato – some of having been in business for a couple of decades now.
Raglan Roast Coffee
Barefoot and in search of a jolt to fuel the day’s wave riding is how two surfers began what is today Raglan Roast.
The company now has 11 stores, four of them in the Waikato region – two in Raglan, one on the road into Raglan in the old post office, now renamed Te Uku Roast Office, and the fourth in the Te Rapa area of Hamilton.
As well as offering a range of coffee drinks, beans, machines and accessories, Raglan Roast has teamed with another hometown success, Good George Brewing, to create two innovative brews – Raglan Roast Coffee IPA, a blend of citrus, hops and coffee flavours, and an espresso martini that combines small batch distilled vodka with cold brew coffee (shaken, not stirred).
Where to enjoy Reglan Roast coffee:
- Hole In The Wall - Volcom Lane, Raglan
- Brown Lightning Bros - 539 Te Rapa Rd, Hamilton
- Te Uku SH23 - 3438 State Highway 23, Raglan
Rocket Coffee Roasters
Rocket Coffee has its roastery and a café on Barton Street in Hamilton with another café, Café Kopi, on Victoria Street – Café Kopi being one of the best known and highly regarded coffee varieties originating from Africa and now also grown in Latin America.
Rocket believes roasting is all about letting the coffee beans tell the story of where they come from, providing an interesting way to introduce Kiwis to the different cultures and coffee flavours of the world.
Where to enjoy Rocket Coffee:
- Rocket Coffee Roasters - 302 Barton Street, Hamilton
- Café Kopi - 298 Victoria Street, Hamilton
Manuka Brothers Coffee
Also in Frankton on Norton Road is Manuka Brothers Coffee Roastery where high quality arabica beans are batch roasted in a wood-fired roaster fondly known as Black Betty. The beans take the heat of the glowing embers of manuka wood, making for a distinctive sweet and complex flavour. Manuka Brothers coffee can be found at the Hamilton and Cambridge farmers’ markets and is also served at a number of eateries around the Waikato and beyond.
Where to enjoy Manuka Brothers Coffee:
- Manuka Brothers Coffee - Cafe & Roastery 129C Norton Rd, Hamilton
- Saigon Noon - 103 Alexandra St, Hamilton
- Remadee Cafe - 153 Cambridge road, Hamilton
- Ethos - Te Ara Hou Village, 100 Morrinsville Rd, Hamilton
- Cooper Bean - 5926 State Highway 1, Ngaruawahia
Laroma Coffee Co.
Roaster Laroma is on Lake Road in the Frankton area of Hamilton where there is also an espresso bar offering a full menu of coffee drinks and a range of home barista paraphernalia available for purchase.
Laroma buys beans from South and Central America, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific, saying while coffee comes from some pretty exotic places, it also comes from some of the poorest areas of the world.
The company believes in buying better and more traceable coffee, and paying a premium for quality, ensuring farmers get paid what they deserve and can continue to produce quality and consistency year after year.
Where to enjoy Laroma Coffee:
- Laroma Espresso Bar - 40 Lake Road, Hamilton
The art of the roast also inspired the founders of Weka Espresso to invent their own roaster, this time suspending the beans in hot air as they roast, ensuring each bean is evenly roasted and consistent in quality.
Weka coffee is served at a number of eateries in the Waikato and beans can be purchased in selected food stores as well as online. Look for the company’s distinctive logo depicting a weka running with a cup of coffee.
Where to enjoy Weka Coffee:
- Cinnamon Cafe - 201 Sandwich Road, Hamilton
- The Coffee Studio - 285B Barton Street, Hamilton
- Violets Coffee - 40 Lake Road, Hamilton
- Most Wanted Cheese - 2 Marshall Street, Morrinsville
- Raglan Bakery - 4 Bow Street, Raglan
Essenza Coffee Company
Essenza’s Coffee Shed roastery and shop front is in a converted former cowshed on a farm near Morrinsville. This is where visitors can book a coffee tour that includes seeing what goes on during a typical roasting day and a tasting of Essenza’s latest blends.
As well as being available online and in a number of eateries in the region, Essenza is a regular at Hamilton’s Sunday farmers’ market. Coffee drinks and beans are sold from its retro-style caravan called Piccolo – named for the piccolo, a ristretto shot topped with steamed milk and preferred by afficionados favouring a small strong drink that’s more coffee than dairy (or soy, etc).
Where to enjoy Essenza Coffee:
- The Lost Boy - 45 Waterloo St, Hamilton
Origin Coffee Company
Owned and operated by a former Malawi coffee plantation owner, Origin Coffee is located in Ōtorohanga with its roastery and espresso bar, the Origin Coffee Station, housed in the old railway station.
Origin sources all its beans from Malawi, buying directly from growers certified by the Rainforest Alliance, an international organisation helping to protect forests, improve the livelihoods of farmers and forest communities, promoting their human rights and helping them to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.
As well as providing barista training, Origin also welcomes visitors to learn about their coffee with Plant to Cup tours that include roasting your own beans.
Where to enjoy Origin Coffee
- Origin Coffee Station - 7 Wahanui Crescent, Otorohanga
Diesel Coffee Works
Born in a diesel mechanics’ workshop, Diesel Coffee Works began roasting beans when the mechanics started demanding barista quality coffee, and nothing less, every smoko.
Diesel has a café on the ground floor of Wintec House on Nisbet Street in Hamilton and Diesel coffee is available at Hamilton Airport café as well as at Hazel Hayes café and catering on Victoria Street in the city.
Whether you are loyally committed to picking up your coffee at your local café, looking online for your next purchase or in search of a spot to sip while watching the roasting action – and enjoying the aroma – these mighty Waikato coffee roasters have the beans.
Where to enjoy Diesel Coffee:
- Propeller Airport Café - Hamilton Airport
- Hazel Hayes - 1 Nisbet Street, Hamilton
Red Cherry Roasters & Co.
The name of this local Waikato roastery references the coffee tree’s red cherry-like fruit that give us the coffee beans we know and love. Red Cherry, with its roastery located near Cambridge, sells its range online and its coffee is also served at a number of local eateries. This is a family affair with the roasters including the owner, his sister and their father.
Where to enjoy Red Cherry Roasters coffee:
- Cherry Cafe - 7 Forrest Road, Cambridge