After three years of coffee reviews, Virginia Winder says goodbye.
Where: Airspresso, New Plymouth Airport (revisit)
Coffee count: 10 out of 10
Barista: Zoe Barry
Beans: Ozone Coffee, espresso blend, New Plymouth
The buzz: The baristas of Taranaki can breathe a collective sigh of relief - the Coffee Cow is putting herself out to pasture. It's been three years and one week since I began my flat white- tasting mission and now my job is done. Many cafes in the region have remained consistently excellent and others have improved out of sight. The first- ever Bean There was at Airspresso on August 6, 2007, so it seems appropriate that this is also my place of departure. This time out, the coffee smelt of liquorice, but tasted of caramel, chocolate and earth. The milk froth was glossy and smooth, like shaving cream, and there was plenty of kauri-coloured crema, the effervescent essence of coffee. The temperature was spot on, as was the service from all staff. There was even an impromptu air show when three New Zealand Army helicopters flew in and hovered outside the terminal like massive mosquitoes. Airspresso co-owner Jim Hickey was on hand, clearing tables and chatting to people. The TV1 weatherman sums up our region's coffee culture: "I think it's a bit of a paradox that in an agrarian backwater like Taranaki, cafes have really picked up their game and people are very particular about their coffee. If your coffee's bad, they can just go to the cafe down the road."
Last shot: The top 12 Taranaki cafes for overall coffee excellence are: Ozone Bean Store, 1, The Landing, 2, Sandwich Extreme, 3, Petit Paris, 4, Caffe Blues, 5, Cafe Govett-Brewster, 6, all of New Plymouth; Lahar, Okato, 7; Macfarlanes Caffe, Inglewood, 8; Sugar Juice, Opunake, 9; Eden Cafe, 10, and Airspresso, 11, both of Bell Block; and Lush, New Plymouth, 12. Top five baristas ever: Jenna Brom, Ozone Bean Store, 1; Shona Tuffery, The Landing, 2; Fran Bateman, Sandwich Extreme, 3; Phil Jones, freelancer, 4; and Euan Ross, now in Oz, 5. Best overall service: Fred Laude from Petit Paris. Best takeaway coffee: Big Wave Cafe, East End Beach. Best Taranaki roastery: Ozone Coffee, 1, and Peru Cafe Ltd, 2. Master roaster: Paul Newbold, Ozone. Coffee to the people award: Jointly won by Craig Macfarlane along with Karen Hodson and her late husband, Jamie, because they are the ones who started Taranaki's coffee revolution.
Flat white forecast: There is a cow's head poking into the bottom of this week's cup, along with a flying fish above and a big "S" swirling in-between. This is a message about the Coffee Cow looking at your future, which looks swimmingly superb. That "S" stands for super, which of course makes you a hero in your own life. Go on, do something incredible, brave, or supremely kind to make this world a better place.
- Taranaki Daily News