The scene: Stickman Cafe, Clarence St Pak ‘n' Save, Hamilton
The trade: Vivace coffee
Price per double shot flat white: $3.50
On the ground: There's something about cafes in shops that aren't cafes. Perhaps it's the feeling you're not meant to be taking caffeine there among the crazed pre-Christmas shopping crowds. Case in point: Stickman Cafe. It's a new addition to the expanded Pak'n Save at Clarence Street and the first no-frills impression suggests nothing extraordinary. A Caffiend reader thought otherwise. "Best coffee in town - believe it or not - is at the Stickman Cafe. The coffee is the only thing with frills in the store. ;)"
Caffiend had his doubts, but pushed them aside and made a purchase. The staff were friendly and warm. The regular double was cheap, too. Caffiend took his brew into the aisles for a bout of shopping and took a sip. The froth was creamy and the flavour was almost perfect. It was smooth, rich and the right temperature. How could this be? Stickman Cafe had just undercut half the cafes at the south end of Victoria Street and outdone most of them. Once the extension work on the supermarket is finished, there will be a couple of chairs and tables to sit on at Stickman. If the standard of coffee continues, it may become the prime people-watching coffee house in Hamilton.
The verdict: 9 out of 10. No joke.
Stimulus: Tea and coffee vendors in India have traditionally served their brews in rough clay pots, which you smash underfoot when done. Now they're being replaced by shot-sized plastic cups, according to The Devil's Cup.