Dammit, Newtown, slow down with the awesome – other suburbs are having trouble keeping up. Having finally shed its Newtown: it's a little bit shit persona (thanks the circulation of a particular tee shirt in the early 2000s), the neighbourhood is home to spectacular eateries – think Monterey, Baobab, and Bebemos. But one of the coolest kids on the block caters to its inhabitants' caffeine addictions – Peoples Coffee, the uber-cool ex-roastery cafe with an ethical outlook.
It's well worth the meander out to the neighbourhood on a weekend morning, for a stroll around the record stores, market and a cup of coffee from Peoples. Peoples is the perfect spot for a Saturday morning espresso, or if you're a local, at any time during the week. Arty Massey kids working on assignments, dating couples, and bantering friend groups all bumped elbows in the café while I was there. It's not the largest space, but it serves the purpose with a smattering of tables and a couple outside for nice days. Its industrial, clean aesthetic makes it a light, yet warm space to enjoy your coffee and a newspaper or magazine.
As for the real reason we were there, their coffee selection is expansive and offers the range you would expect from an established Wellington roastery. Those flat white-lovers of the population are catered to by a La Maazocco espresso machine. Soft-brew options range from Trifecta, Swissgold, V60, Chemex and Aeropress – they're bound to have your favourite. In a bean context, the range on the day I was there capped out at three blends. The Natural Peru Chanchamayo blend I tried was brewed perfectly, light filter roast flavours with a fragrantly fruity and light flavour. On the food side, there's a large range of baked goods (the lemon cake was fabulous), sandwiches and soft drinks for those non-coffee drinkers.
The twenty square metre café originally hosted the entire roasting operation, before the roastery relocated one street further back as their popularity grew. Peoples nowadays has a devoted following Welly-wide, with beans to be found at Lamason and Vic Books. One distinguishing factor that sets the whole operation apart is its trailblazing fair trade and certified organic status. Its relationship with cooperative suppliers in Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia is evidence of their strong ethics within the company, so you know that you're drinking a good cup. Their blog is also regularly updated and worth a follow if you're interested in Wellington's caffeine scene.
Whether it's their ethics, their brew bars, their neighbourhood sensibility or the spectacular coffee itself, this is one roastery that's got it going on. You go, Peoples Coffee. Keep doing you.