We like to believe wholeheartedly that coffee tourism is, a) a real thing; and, b) one of the fastest-growing segments in the tourism sector. Of course, there’s no data to support this, leaving only speculation mixed perhaps with a bit of wishful thinking.
Either way, let’s run with it.
Neat Places Ltd., a New Zealand-based online and print publishing company with an accompanying app, has been helping domestic and international travelers — as well as locals seeking trustworthy advice — to navigate some of the country’s best (neatest, anyway) spots for dining, nightlife, shopping, fashion, arts and other events and destinations for the past few years.
The group has finally tackled coffee, of which there are plenty of options from which to choose despite NZ’s relatively small size and geographical limitations. The pocket-sized “Neat Places: A Guide to New Zealand’s Coffee Roasters” is now in print, with color photos and short profiles of 29 of the country’s top quality-focused coffee companies in Auckland, New Plymouth, Havelock North, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.
Why roasters and not merely coffee shops?
“A big emphasis of the book is on the industry leaders who are constantly innovating to produce the best coffee possible,” Neat Places’ Johnny Gibson said in an announcement of the publication. “We’ve also made an effort to focus on companies who are involved in the entire process, from the growing and purchasing of beans through to roasting. A few roasters are working alongside growers, providing much needed resources and providing a consistent liveable wage for the growers. This is important for the future sustainability of the coffee industry.”
Yet for the purposes of this guide, roasting is the gateway to retail, and vice versa.
“There is not coffee without the café. The café has taken the place of the community dance hall, the church and the office,” said Jeff Kennedy of the New Zealand-based fine coffee wares-maker Acme & Co. “New Zealand coffee is probably the best in the world and the industry will continue to grow as more dedicated coffee geeks carry on our unique tradition.”