Number 25 on my 40 before 40 list = Drink coffee in every coffee shop in Howick.
Our love affair with lattes began almost 13 years ago when on a trip to Toronto in chilly October, we popped into assorted coffee shops to keep warm as we explored the city. Ever since, coffee shops have been a fixture of our family life. Our girls both grew up loving babyccinos and we sought solace in our local Costa and Starbucks coffee shops even when our budget was stretched to say the least, so perhaps it was meant to be that we would find ourselves living in Auckland, a city where coffee drinking is taken for granted and it almost seems possible to grab an espresso coffee every few metres.
Coffee in New Zealand is taken very seriously and I have to admit that when we returned to the UK for a family wedding, I was surprised to find that my favourite Costa latte could not compete with the coffee I had grown used to over our years in Auckland.
We are lucky enough to live in East Auckland in a suburb with a particularly high ratio of coffee shops to residents but of course, we are creatures of habit and tend to gravitate towards the same establishments time and time again. This year as part of my 40 before 40 list, I decided to make a commitment to drink coffee in every coffee shop in Howick to branch out a little and so far I have discovered two especially wonderful new shops that I had not visited before.
Oasis, as the name suggests, is a coffee shop of quirky calm with plenty of options to suit vegan, vegetarian and gluten free visitors. They make a particularly beautiful and marshmallowy unicorn hot chocolate which Lucy loves and their soy latte is delicious. Urban in East is situated on the corner of Picton Street which is the epicentre of Howick life and affords its patrons an ideal spot to people watch. They make delicious drinks, sell gorgeous bakes and also provide blankets which on a sunny yet chilly wintery day, ensure that savouring a latte outside is extra cosy.
I often wonder what it is that I enjoy most about coffee shop culture and I think that it is the touch of luxury that it brings to my day. When alone, it is luxurious to be able to sit, sip something delicious and reflect. I love to just sit and watch the world go by, read and ponder. When we are out as our family of four, it is just as luxurious to be able to sit together in a relaxed setting away from the house, talking about anything and everything. We rarely go out for dinner and no longer drink alcohol as a rule, so frequenting coffee shops has become our family treat of choice – our opportunity to reconnect and celebrate anything from the weekend to birthdays.
Something I secretly dream about is opening my own coffee shop one day, my own little sanctuary of cosiness and quirky luxury. I already have the name picked out and I dream of combining my love of coffee shop culture with second hand books and some of my husband’s upcycled creations to create a place for dreaming, thinking, reflection and caffeination. For now though, I will just keep dreaming of this and embracing the coffee culture that I love in Aotearoa. At the time of writing there are still 6 coffee shops to visit before I can check item number 25 off my list and plenty more adventures to be had.