Customs Brew Bar, Wellington, New Zealand

27 April 2010

Wellington is a city with cool cafés around every corner. There can’t be too many places where it’s easier to find great coffee.

Customs Brew Bar, Wellington Customs Brew Bar, Wellington

Maybe the swankiest spot is Customs Brew Bar, opened January 2010. This is for coffee-heads of the highest order, and goodness knows I’m not one of those. Luckily, it’s also terrific for ordinary Joes like me.

Customs Brew Bar, Wellington Customs Brew Bar, Wellington

It’s a showcase for well-regarded Kiwi roastery “Coffee Supreme”, offering an array of beans and brewing methods that left me a little bewildered. There’s espresso (ok, I get that one), gold filter (a posh filter), chemex and Clover.

I went for chemex, a type of drip coffee which produces beautifully clean, subtle cups of coffee. It’s almost like drinking tea (even my tea-drinking girlfriend loved it). Fantastic.

Customs Brew Bar, Wellington Customs Brew Bar, Wellington

The most interesting option, perhaps, is the Clover, a rare and very expensive type of coffee machine. There are hardly any about; just a handful in New Zealand, for example.

This is the story of the Clover in highly abridged form: the Coffee Equipment Company (Seattle) designs and produces the Clover; it’s a highly automated, drip-coffee machine; the coffee is top notch; it’s set (perhaps) to revolutionise coffee; Starbucks wants it; Starbucks buys the Coffee Equipment Company; Starbucks withdraws Clover from the market; in 2008, Starbucks rolls out a few Clovers to a handful of its stores; by 2010, only about 300 Clovers are left outside Starbucks.

Customs Brew Bar, Wellington Customs Brew Bar, Wellington

And after the choice of brewing method comes the choice of bean. If you’re not sure (like me), the friendly staff will help.

Customs is a great place for superb coffee, but it’s also a nice spot for sitting and chatting / relaxing, with a handful of seats (including some outside) and tasty pastries.

You don’t have to be a coffee-head to visit, but it helps.

More about the Clover:

A post about Clover from 2008 by James Hoffman:

39 Ghuznee Street
New Zealand


We visited on 27 April 2010.

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  • Hayley 11 August 2010 at 5:07 pm

    I have seen this place in my dreams. My idea of heaven! It looks faultless.

  • Stephen Nixon 21 March 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Good choice! A wonderful coffee experience. One of my favourite hangs before I headed back to the UK.