The perfect pitstop for a caffeine boost with a dash of retail therapy.
Ponsonby is a sea of busy, buzzy cafes ringing with the clatter of sturdy dishwasher-safe cups and saucers and the constant roar of coffee machines churning out big frothy flat whites.
Head down Mackelvie Street though, through The Shelter (averting your eyes unless you also want to leave with extra shopping bags) and out to the newly opened Maloca cafe. Here you'll find a hip haven of serenity, whether you choose a seat at one of the long wooden benches inside or a sunny spot in the tranquil outside terrace.
Surrounded by beautiful things (the walls and nearby floor area showcase changing art), light flooding in from the high windows and with the absence of all that racket, you're free to have a more mindful experience in which to enjoy your coffee ritual and a bite to eat.
The focus on Brazilian coffee — not only the beans, which come from Brazil's best microlots, but the preferred palate and preparations — is the concept of Maloca's owner Renato Ribeiro.
"Maloca was born from my obsession with coffee, and from the desire to share how good Brazilian coffee can be and to bring the motherland a bit closer to home," he says.
"When I moved to New Zealand more than eight years ago I was amazed with the coffee scene here, how much coffee people consume every day and how hard the coffee companies work to deliver a good cuppa. I then saw an opportunity to contribute to the scene with something unique."
There is a coffee machine, from which you can choose to have your coffee simply 'black' or 'white', but the focus at Maloca is on filter brewing, via V60 pour over decanters.
"Coffee in Brazil is always filtered," says Ribeiro. "I don't think people drink enough filter here in New Zealand. It's a movement that has happened everywhere else but Kiwis are a bit resilient to that. It's hard to let go of the flat white right?! But it's slowly shifting as people are discovering that filter coffee can taste good, really good."
And it does — with plenty of coffee "flavour" but none of the heaviness or viscosity that can come with a standard Kiwi brew. It's a slower preparation (and at $5–6 a cup slightly higher in price than a standard local brew) but the beginning of a pleasant little ritual that comes to the table on a wooden board, with small handmade ceramic cups and a card outlining the origins of the beans and providing some helpful tasting notes.
Coffee is definitely the focus at Maloca, but there's also fresh-pressed juices and a handful of other beverage choices including hot chocolates and mochachinos for the younger set.
Options for eating come from a well-laden and carefully considered cabinet. As well as fresh salads, sweet treats and baked goods, a variety of moreish sandwiches spanning a classic reuben, a vege-friendly eggplant, shiitake and mozzarella slab or a decadent three-cheese and truffle pesto affair to name a few can be popped under the grill, and the Brazilian carrot cake (a golden, jewel-shaped wedge that comes with cream and chocolate dipping sauce) is a must-try.