Monday, September 29, 2014

Kokako: hands-down the best coffee shop in Auckland!

In my opinion, the best coffee shop in Auckland is Kokako.

It is so good that I went there twice during my 10-day sojourn in Auckland.  The first time was on a Sunday morning, and the second time was also in the morning, but of the following Saturday.

Located on the Great North Road in the Grey Lynn neighbourhood, this trendy indie place is neither in the heart of the city nor is it near a famous tourist attraction.  You will have to "go off the beaten path" if you want to visit this coffee spot.  This cafe is loved by Aucklanders, especially by those who live in the surrounding areas.

The cafe is named after a bird species - the Callaeas cinereus - which is one of three species of New Zealand wattlebird.  If you're into bird-watching, this bird is famous for its distinct blue wattles (the parts under the the beak on each side of its face similar to a human's jowl).

Below is my evaluation of the place...

Overall grade:  5.0/5.0

Unique charms:

  • Casual, minimalist interior decor
  • Casual, friendly service
  • Arguably, this place serves the best cold-brew coffee in Auckland
  • Breakfast menus are available from an open-kitchen - humble dishes like rhubarb rice porridge start from NZD14.00, while more elaborate ones like scrambled eggs with avocado start from NZD17.90.

Tasting notes of the Ugandan Mt. Elgon brewed coffee which I drank on my second visit:
Nose  earthy, with a hint of red beans
Palate  slightly acidic with a solid earthy backbone even despite a thinner body
Finish  medium-short taste finish, but the aroma lingers at the back of the throat for 20-30 seconds.  The finish has notes of oranges, followed by smokiness.

Also, as I was enjoying the Mt. Elgon coffee and rhubarb rice porridge, I noticed that I was sitting next to David Shearer, the Labour Party MP for the Mt. Albert area.  He was there to enjoy his breakfast and get in touch with his potential constituents after his morning jog (I assume this because he was wearing tracksuit pants with a hoodie).  The September 2014 elections resulted in Mr. Shearer retaining his office.  Out of respect for his privacy, I have not taken any photos of him.

The shop's sign is very indistinct, so it's easy to walk or drive past this cafe without noticing it.

Baked goods, sandwiches and wraps.  A very pretty vitrine, indeed!

This bottle costs NZD5.00, slightly above market prices for cold-brew coffee.

The cafe's open kitchen that prepares extremely tasty menus!

The barista team at work

Just one niche of the dining area of this indie cafe

The Ugandan Mt. Elgon brewed coffee

Rhubarb rice porridge with the cup of Ugandan Mt. Elgon brewed coffee

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