Scoring a hat-trick

Coffee lover Virginia Winder reads and reviews flat whites in cafes around the mountain in search of Taranaki's peak pick-me-up.

Where: The Landing Cafe, New Plymouth (revisit)

Coffee count: 10 out of 10

Barista: Shona Tuffery

Beans: Havana Coffee Works, Wellington

The buzz: Barista Shona Tuffery has scored a hat-trick. For three years in a row, she has delivered a perfect flat white to my table at The Landing Cafe by Puke Ariki. On a glorious Sunday afternoon, the sun on my back in the red- walled cafe, I sniff a coffee that smells of cigars and think of my dad. Every now and then, I have to remind readers that I grew up with a father who, before quitting after a coronary, used to smoke Panatella cigars. It's a sweet fragrance that I, a nonsmoker, still associate with an idyllic but crazy childhood and a man who played with puns. Add this to velvet milk froth stained with auburn swirls of crema and you have the promising picture of a great coffee. This temperature-perfect drink had hints of almonds, chocolate and, again, cigars, along with a smoky aftertaste. It was a strong brew that gave me an afternoon lift and was served with a smile by the barista. Take a bow, Shona. You deserve your flawless score.

Short shot: One cup of coffee a day is OK for pregnant women, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. "For years, women have been getting mixed messages about whether or not they should have any caffeine during pregnancy," says William Barth, chair of the committee on obstetric practice. "After a review of the scientific evidence to date, daily moderate caffeine consumption doesn't appear to have any major impact in causing miscarriage or preterm birth." However, the college says it remains unclear whether high levels of caffeine consumption have any link to miscarriage.

Flat white forecast: A peacock feather has appeared in the surface of this week's cup. While some people believe it is bad luck to have one of these feathers in your home, the overall symbolism surrounding these plumes is positive. So this is a message to show your true colours. Display integrity, be incorruptible and compassionate to others. The appearance of the peacock feather is a sign to tap into all those virtuous attributes of humanity inside us all. Work on being beautiful from the inside out.

Taranaki Daily News