The milk blog has become something of a Peoples Coffee tradition. Last year we did a little blog featuring milk alternatives (Almond, Hazelnut, Rice & Soy) and how they stacked up when paired with our coffee and before that we smashed out some flat whites with a range of organic and off-the-beaten-track milks in ‘Honour the Cow’.
Turns out you guys have a LOT to say about milk – 12 months on we’re still getting a steady flow of comments, so we thought we’d do a bit of a follow-up and test out some your suggestions!
We set aside a morning in the cupping room and set Robbie, Rene and Jamie the unenviable task of making flat whites with Lactose Free milk, Oat milk, Coconut milk and Goats milk.
First up was Anchor’s Zero Lacto milk which they proclaim to be ‘tummy friendly’. The first thing we noticed was how sweet the milk was. I did a little research and found that ‘removing lactose’ involves altering the chemical make-up of the lactose enzyme, splitting it into two smaller, more easily digestible sugars; glucose and galactose. Those sugars bind to the sweetness receptors on your tongue in a way that lactose does not – therefore a sweeter taste.
The milk was super easy to work with producing perfect microfoam and making latte art a dream. There was a definite reduction in sweetness when added to coffee but it also tasted quite thin, lacking the creamy quality of regular milk.
Our second milky mimic was an Oat milk from the Vitasoy line. We use Vitasoy in our Constable Street cafe and so far as soy milk goes – it’s king, so we were interested to see if this mastery extended to their other products.
The answer was no – at least so far as coffee was concerned. Dubbed unceremoniously by Robbie as ‘Porridge Milk’ the Oat milk was rice-pudding with a slightly sour aftertaste. Once stretched it produced a tonne of foam and made for a very sweet and ultimately disappointing flat white.
Contender numero three was a gorgeously packaged Coconut Drinking Milk from Little Island. Robbie was especially excited about this one – he was chomping at the bit to get a taste and was already planning a line of coconut beverages for our cafes.
It has to be said that the coconut milk was lovely cold. Light, refreshing and not overpowering in sweetness. The milk did not stretch particularly well, separating easily and holding the bulk of it’s sweetness in the foam. Opinions were varied on it’s suitability with coffee – Jamie and Robbie were unimpressed whilst myself and Rene weren’t so critical.
So low scores for coffee potential but Jamie did make a killer coconut hot chocolate with it later in the day.
We saved the most interesting milk for last – a Goats Milk from Living Planet. Goat, in any form, is always a rather dividing flavour, it has a reputation for being strong and distinctive – not exactly the qualities you’re looking for to showcase the subtle flavours of coffee. But ‘why not?’ we thought.
We thought wrong. Whilst I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who swear by goats milk I can tell you that we are not among them. The milk had a very distinctive feta flavour than only intensified with stretching. It was salty and, as Rene so graciously put it; ‘tasted like socks’. Honestly the very thought of that cheesy, gamey flavour is making me dry retch a little.
In it’s defence it stretched OK but nothing will convince me to go back for seconds.
And there you have it. We’d loved to have tried out a recent addition to the milk scene ‘Jersey Milk’ and the vastly popular ‘Cashew Milk’ but alas, there is only so much one can do in a single blog.
We’d love to know what you think – did we get it wrong? Did we miss something out? What milk alternative do you swear by?
– Jesse F
February 23rd, 2016
It’s a new year! And there are VERY exciting things afoot (putting aside the mildly terrifying fact that I turn 26 this year and so am officially an adult *sigh*).
The first of these very-exciting-things is our Constable Street Peanut Butter Takeover, the brain-child of our brilliant cafe manager Patrick and the team at Fix & Fogg.
The Takeover places peanut butter in the spotlight – irrevocably cementing it as THE taste sensation of 2016.
There are four excellent combinations – each made with the freshest local produce and featuring some of Wellington and New Zealand’s very best culinary whizz-kids.
For those of you with a sweet tooth we have: ‘Dark Chocolate’ with Fairtrade banana & Zany Zeus mascarpone and ‘Smooth’ with Moutere Gold raspberry jam and fresh basil.
If you haven’t tried ZZ’s mascarpone before we HIGHLY recommend you do – 100% organic, light and lip-smackingly creamy.
I myself favour savoury when it comes to a snack – so for all of you like me there is: ‘Smoke & Fire’ with shaved cucumber & chipotle hot sauce and ‘Crunchy’ with Kruegermann gherkin and Zany Zeus feta.
All of the options are served on Best Ugly ‘Montreal style’ bagels. In contrast to the classic New York style bagel the Montreal is smaller, thinner, sweeter and denser, with a larger hole and is boiled in honey-sweetened water before being baked.
I stopped by the cafe earlier this week to experience the takeover for myself. My personal favourite was the ‘Smoke & Fire’. True to it’s name it was HELLA smokey with chilled cucumber sliced into gorgeous ribbons so thin you could see right through them – yum. I’ll probably be back tomorrow for the Dark Chocolate, it is haunting my day-dreams…
At this stage the Takeover is running through until the end of this week (Sunday 17 January) so get in while you still can – it’s worth the trip!
– Jesse F
January 12th, 2016
Two weeks ago I embarked on a little trip up to Auckland to visit Liv and Josephine and check out some of the awesome spots now serving Peoples Coffee in the city of sails (I also MAY have seen Fleetwood Mac live in concert but that’s neither here nor there…).
Liv picked myself and our awesome photographer Renee up from Britomart (Renee and I having made the rather poor decision to take the overnight bus from Wellington) and took us on a whirlwind tour – first stop Cake & Co. on Ponsonby Road.
Cake and Co. is a cosy little nook specialising in (you guessed it) cakes! Stunningly presented, absolutely delicious cakes. Owner Jackie takes pride in using only the best natural ingredients; unrefined sugars, free range eggs from happy chooks, natural colours and flavours, spelt, rye and wholemeal flours along with her own special blend of gluten free flour.
Coffee comes served with dainty mini-cupcakes in all kinds of flavours and the place has a really great vibe – children and dogs being equally welcome.
After much cooing over several puppies, we eventually departed, refuelled and ready for our next destination: Fort Greene in St Kevin’s Arcade.
St Kevin’s is Fort Greene’s new home and it is looking PRETTY swish, a cool new fit-out with an upstairs loft giving the spot a homely and relaxed feel. Owners (and culinary whizzes) Andrea and Liam are making a name for themselves as Auckland’s ‘Sandwich Kings’ with their totally homemade, epic sandwiches built from the ground up, starting with the bread.
We HIGHLY recommend ‘The Fish One’ – hand made house-smoked kahawai fish fingers, mushy peas, tartare and snow pea shoots served warm to order on house made bread *drools*.
The next stop on our cafe crawl was the lovely Florentines Tea Room in Epson. This locals secret has been serving Peoples for a few years now – our very first Auckland foray.
Florentines is a gorgeous, eclectic spot with a real ‘old-hollywood-meets-english-countryside’ aesthetic – crystal chandeliers and ornate gilded mirrors sitting comfortably next to hand-knitted throw cushions and china tea sets. They boast a fantastic selection of cabinet food including their famed chicken & avocado club sandwiches as well as a small but lovely all-day breakfast menu.
The place was PACKED when we visited – poor Renee was in the way for pretty much every single photograph she took but no-one seemed to mind, the diverse crowd shimmying this way and that to accommodate!
Then is was back to the city to visit the new and improved Scarecrow – an artisan grocer, kitchen and florist occupying a stunning new spot on Victoria Street East.
Scarecrow have recently moved back in to this corner after giving it a brilliant re-furb and the place glows. Huge bouquets of flowers adorn every shelf, white globes of light hang suspended from the roof and the smells of baked bread and fresh ground coffee are delightful. The artisan grocer is retailing a varying selection of People’s best blends and single origins for home espresso and brewing.
They also do a great breakfast – but be sure to get in early, the spot was chocka-block when we arrived around midday, barely room to swing a cat!
We unfortunately didn’t quite have time to pop in to the fantastic Urchin & Amber on Vulcan Lane. I was lucky enough to sample their gorgeous menu and write a blog about them last time I was in the big city and had been keen to lay my hands on some more of their exceptional Green Bean, Sesame and Chilli Salad but alas, not this time around.
Storm clouds were moving in and we had a concert to catch – time to Go Our Own Way(s). Until next time Auckland, you always turn on the best weather for me – and by best I mean thunder and pouring rain – ciao!
– Jesse F
Photography by Renee Cotton Media
December 11th, 2015
2015 has been a year of big changes for Peoples. We’ve got some new faces, a wicked-cool new Auckland HQ and a whole lotta stuff in the pipeline thats going to blow your minds come 2016!
That being said sometimes you’ve just gotta go back-to-basics – so with this blog that’s exactly what we’re gonna do. It’s time to meet the team, the #peoplespeople behind the scenes. We’re a motley crew who LOVE what we do and because I’m a huge nerd I’ve given us all hella-cool superhero-esque names…
If you saw our blog a few weeks ago then you’ll know all about our man-behind-the-beans; René Macaulay. As well as being our Head Roaster René is the head of the New Zealand Roasters Guild and a father of three. He is currently without-moustache but trust me when I say he is the hands-down, undisputed Movember champion.
Most Likely To: Pull this face
Favourite Film: The Big Lebowski
James is the go-to-guy for making sure all of our cafes get the BEST care possible. He’s a coffee expert who does everything from training our barista’s to refurbishing machines in need of a little love. When he’s not in the office you can usually find James cruising around Wellington, visiting our cafes, making sure everyones coffee is just right.
Most Likely To: Rock Sneans (even though it is a crime against humanity)
Favourite Film: Lords of Dogtown
Liv Doogue – ‘Mother Superior’
Liv is our amazing General Manager, the leader of the pack, the captain of the Peoples ship and any other brilliant metaphors you can think of. She has recently relocated to Auckland and is now, along with Jo, kicking butt and taking names in the big city! Liv is a Wellingtonian at heart though and never misses an opportunity to get back to her windy city roots.
Most Likely To: Inappropriately abbreviate. (For example ‘Chicken and Waffles’ becomes the quite frankly terrifying ‘Chicky Waffs’)
Favourite Film: In the Mood For Love
A more organised man you will never find, Ben is our Warehouse Manager and keeps us all in line. He also works with René as one of our Junior Roasters. Ben is passionate about making sure that Peoples (and businesses the world over) are constantly evaluating how we can be better at minimising our impact on the environment. He also REALLY likes lentils (honestly I’ve never seen anyone eat so many lentils?).
Most Likely To: Eat lentils
Favourite Film: Stand By Me
Efi is our accounts ninja – she holds the keys to the cheque book and is one badass lady. She also has a SUPER-HUMAN memory, capable of recalling facts and figures from 2006(?!) with staggering accuracy. When she’s not fielding a million questions from me, Efi is usually busy ensuring the office temperature is sitting precisely at a balmy 17 degrees.
Most Likely To: Embarrass her daughter with spontaneous Zumba moves in the supermarket
Favourite Film: The Sound of Music
You MAY know Jamie from his infamous cold brewing skills, or simply from seeing him cruising around town in the Peoples Coffee caddy, delivering coffee to all of our nearest and dearest. Jamie recently got his first smart phone and has been entertaining us all by showing us all of the internet memes and jokes that we all saw three years ago when we got OUR smart phones.
Most Likely To: Eat seven sandwiches in one sitting. Every day.
Favourite Film: Donnie Darko
That’s me! When I’m not posing for brilliant candid snaps (see above) you’ll find me slaying it on social media, researching and writing our bi-weekly blogs and taking care of the roastery admin. As I live all of about 3 minutes from the Roastery I find very little reason to ever leave Newtown – so that’s where you’ll find me most of the time.
Most Likely To: Wear double-denim at every opportunity.
Favourite Film: Alien
So that’s the team. It’s new territory having two of us based up in Auckland but every two-weeks or so Liv comes to visit and, when we’re lucky, she brings Josephine and with our powers combined we pretty much break the speed of sound.
We’ll be having a little look at the Auckland HQ and having a chat with Jo & Liv soon to see what they have been getting up to in the city of sails, so keep an eye out 🙂
– Jesse F
November 16th, 2015
Seeing as our recent blog all about Lauren was so well received we thought we would talk a little more about some of our #peoplespeople!
René Macaulay is a fixture here at Peoples. The Roaster Formerly Known For His Moustache has been with us since 2007, working with our farmers at Origin and here at the roastery – from crop to cup.
Five things you may not know about René:
1. He once lived, for a time, in the Himalayas.
2. He can convert a non-believer in minutes (to the importance of fair trade).
3. If he could have any coffee-related toy in the world it would be a colour grader ‘laser eye’ (for those of you, like me, who have no idea what that means – there is a picture below)
4. His first flat white was procured from Cuba St institution Olive.
5. He is the hero that Peoples Coffee deserves. (OK I stole that one from Batman but Rene is kind of the man…)
Each trip to Origin is quite different and very sobering, René explains. A lot of the time the trips are focussed on things that have nothing to do with coffee – issues that affect the whole community like food security and access to health care. The co-ops that we work with in Africa have been rolling out pharmacies and midwifery to all the farmers and this is making a tangible difference in peoples lives.
“It’s not about assessing fair trade – on the whole it is to assess the needs of the farmers. To get a feel for each co-op and ensuring the needs of the farmers being met by the co-op leaders.”
Peoples are resolutley fair trade – so I asked René a few questions about fair trade and the coffee industry to get a better idea of why:
Is fair trade actually making a difference in the lives of farmers at Origin?
What farmers really need is to be paid a whole lot more. As roasters we are all limited in what we can achieve by the wholesale price and the street price of a cup of coffee. The most powerful mechanism of fair trade is the social premiums and the ongoing positive value they add. They put the power and the means back in the hands of the community.
Why did Peoples Coffee change from Fairtrade certification to World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO) certification?
We felt that WFTO’s 10 principles of fair trade were better suited to help us challenge ourselves, ask hard questions and analyse how well we were performing as an ethically minded business. WFTO allows us to apply the ethos of fair trade to all of our business practices, not just our product.
In your opinion what is the most dangerous emerging trend in coffee that is affecting farmers lives?
Luxury. Specialty Coffee has relentlessly prized quality as the most desirable element of coffee and this has huge implications for farmers. The highest quality coffee doesn’t necessarily mean better tasting – it just means there are zero defects and nothing getting in the way of tasting the coffee. The higher the quality, the harder it is to produce and environmental changes are making it increasingly MORE difficult. Very often retail prices roasters sell for don’t reflect the difficulty of production and chasing this level of perfection is super challenging for many of these communities.
We have been working with many of the same producers for years, in the last few years climate change has had a huge impact on yields and quality, we continue to work with these groups buying their coffee even though they have been struggling with producing enough of the quality coffee we desire, rather than just buying from someone else who we don’t know.
When he’s not half a world away at Origin, René is hard at work at the Peoples roastery in Newtown. Back in the early days of Peoples Coffee René would often pop in to the roastery to watch his friend, Matt Lamason, roast.
“I roasted at home and but had very little ‘coffee experience’ so to speak. He (Matt) hired me as junior roaster and then flew to Colombia soon after – so I was definitely chucked in the deep end.”
René has certainly come a long way from the junior roaster that used to take a sugar (?!) in his flat white – in addition to being the Head Roaster for Peoples Coffee he is also the chair of the New Zealand Roasters Guild (which he helped set-up). The guild is a formalised community that aims to stimulate roasters to progress in research, development and knowledge. Their main goal (that they share with sister organisaton The Barista Guild) is to ensure everywhere in New Zealand has good coffee.
The guild is volunteer based and holds events and meetings across the country. Membership is open to anyone with a passion for specialty coffee & the roasting craft and the desire to develop skills as a professional roaster. You can read more about getting involved here.
René is a pretty humble guy. He has a passion for coffee but much more important, he believes, is coffee with a conscience.
“There is lots of suffering in the world and it is so easy to live in our society and be blind of the repercussions of all of the little things we do.”
September 28th, 2015
Posted In: Uncategorized
Last week I took a wee trip up to Auckland to visit Peoples Coffee superstar Josephine and check out Urchin & Amber, one of the first inner-city cafes in Auckland to be serving Peoples Coffee.
Now it has to be said – Wellingtonians are very different from Aucklanders. We are a bit more relaxed, a little more artsy and a whole lot more able to find a car-park within a 3km radius of our favourite inner-city cafe – so naturally Jo was running a touch late!
She flew through the door in a flurry of coffee beans, spreadsheets and effortless-cool and we ordered up a storm from our awesome waiter Jaime. We both went for the Panko Crumbed Fish Fingers with Tatare and Lemon and shared a Grilled Green Bean, Sesame & Chilli salad. Everything was mad tasty and the salad had a brilliant kick from the chilli.
Next up we (obviously) needed to sample the coffee, so Jo had head barista Amanda whip us up a killer flat white and long black. Amanda is brilliant, a little ball of energy and enthusiasm with a lilting Brazilian accent that makes everything sound MUCH cooler and who never stops smiling!
Urchin and Amber’s decor is cool. It feels new and vintage at the same time, so I wasn’t at all surprised when I found out that it is housed in the oldest pub in Aukland (the building was built in 1858!?) Owner David Combs, of Vulcan Lane institution Vultures, is passionate about making Urchin a warm and relaxed place to be. From next week they will be serving brekkie and brunch through until 4pm, at which point Urchin will switch over to a gourmet fish & chips menu.
After chatting with the staff and a big ol’ meeting with Jo I decided to finish up my visit with one of Urchin’s freshly made super-juices. It was just what I needed to steel myself for the long walk down a very wet Queen Street to my hotel in a rather thin T shirt.
My trip to Auckland, whilst short, was sweet. It was great to see Urchin doing so well and to catch up with the lovely Josephine. It has been rumoured in the past that she lives INSIDE Skype but I now have proof otherwise. The more you know!
August 5th, 2015
Just so you all know there is a man who delivers coffee (and other tasty tidbits) on this contraption you see here. That’s right, rain or shine, Russell Silverwood, from Nocar Cargo, will pedal your Peoples Coffee Single Origin Mexican Chiapas right to your door, anywhere within Central Wellington. Why you ask? Simple – Russell has a passion for bicycles that he wants to share with Wellington. His aim – to make our city safer, cleaner and friendlier for everyone.
You might recognise Russell (or at least his head and upper torso) from his days behind the Constable St coffee machine – we’re pretty stoked to have him back in the Peoples fold.
Despite being appreciative of what motor vehicles have to offer, Russell knows that our over-reliance on them leads to polluted air, noisy streets and annoying congestion. He hopes that Nocar Cargo can lead the way in ‘providing a practical, emission-free alternative that doesn’t waste time looking for parks, will travel at safe speeds and can give high fives’ (truly the mark of any great service).
We did a little digging on the concept and found that Russell and his Nocar Cargo aren’t the only ones who’ve seen the benefits of emission-free delivery methods.
Nimble are a Californian based company specialising in Cargo Kick-Scooters. The scooters are capable of carrying almost 140kg’s at a time and are being used by enviro-conscious companies all over the world.
Then there’s Melbourne-based cargo-bike delivery company Cargone Couriers who are changing the way Melbourne-ites (thats a word right?) send and receive their goods as well as helping big businesses reduce their carbon footprint.
Safe to say that Russell and his international compadres are pedalling/pushing/kicking/grinding their way towards cleaner, safer (fitter) cities so, if you see him around, say hello, give him a wave (or a high-five) and salute his efforts – as far as we’re concerned the man is nothing less than a bearded angel!
July 9th, 2015
Posted In: Uncategorized