It surprised me to see three brands of Vanuatu grown coffee for sale in Luganville. Alongside the well-known Tanna coffee there was a selection from Aore Island and a haphazard collection of different bags branded as Cafe de Vanuatu. I found the origins of this coffee at VARTC ( Vanuatu Agricultural Research Technical Centre ),10km north of Luganville.
The VARTC farm is quite compact and it did not take long to find children on school holidays picking the arabica beans (30 Vatu for 1kg or about 40c NZ ). From picking to roasting, the whole operation is done by hand.
With a new wharf being built in Luganville and more cruise ships visiting it would be an ideal time to package the operation for tourists in a similar way to Tanna Coffee in Efate.
In the meantime you will have to buy the very good quality arabica beans at LCM ( the best supermarket in Luganville ), I just hope the branding gets some love.
The bus came from Kahuna in Taranaki and Kirsty Green came from the café scene in Wellington – they are now united in the front yard of a Te Horo property she owns.
Opened in May 2012 the beachy Bus Stop Café was buzzing the morning I visited. The delicious food is all homemade and the superb coffee would make you think you were in Wellington – at least 30 disappeared out the door in the short time I was photographing – along with all of the jam donuts and a pile of cheese puffs.
The message clearly is – arrive early.
Open from 9-4 Fri-Sun the café even has eftpos however you don’t need to pay for the very convivial atmosphere Kirsty and her sidekick Sarah conjure up.
One visitor whispered to me “since she arrived she’s really brought the community together you know”.
The not so secret Bus Stop Café is at 50 Dixon St, Te Horo Beach. The latest news is the cafe has reopened somewher close by. I will update as soon as I can.
At home I have put many beans through the grinder, into the stovetop and drunk usually as a long black with flat milk (I am drinking one as I write this). I have had several bean favourites but these were blown away when I tried the Italia blend from Tony Gibbs recently.
Although his tiny café on the Terrace has been operating since 2001 it has been unnoticed up until now. Maybe this is because the sign overhead remains blank and the café doesn’t even have a name.
The lack of a sign was no hindrance to the flow of people coming in and out of the cafe while I was photographing, most of them exchanging greetings with Gibbs while he roasted beans. The beans are roasted in a fully restored Aug Olsen originating in Denmark.
Gibbs has been roasting beans since 1987 when he was trained by George Kepper, an Australian based Russian who consulted several of the big roast companies in Sydney from time to time to correct blends and adjust roasts that were not quite right. The Italia blend was perfected by Gibbs on visits to Kepper in Sydney and has not been altered since 1987.
Of the beans Gibbs purchases for his café he rates the Columbian Medellin Supremo as the best (and the most expensive), supplied by John Burton, New Zealand’s primary importer of beans for smaller roasters.
Gibbs’s blends, aside from the Italia include TG Pearl, Indian Mysore (named after the Southern Indian province where it comes from) and Brazilian which is made especially for the drinkers at Taste Café in Kelburn, one of two cafes Gibbs supplies (the other is Salvation in Newtown).
Located in Wellington’s corporate heartland (the PM drops in for coffee and the Treasury is right opposite) it is great to see someone putting taste firmly on the bottom line.
Stop Press: The cafe has been renamed Old George (after the Russian who taught Tony Gibbs how to roast the beans) and is still producing the best coffee in Wellington
The scent of Andalucía, described as bitter and lumpy arrived in my studio recently. Hard to source in New Zealand, it was a surprise to find the Seville oranges had originated from an orchard in Whenuapai.
Jennifer and Roy Taylor, who in the past made jams and chutneys under the Forgotten Fruits label, now deal exclusively with 65 Seville orange trees. Regarded as THE marmalade orange (do not eat!), the Seville oranges are named as such because there are thousands of these trees lining the ‘calles’ of this beautiful Spanish city.
Encouraged to make marmalade (for the first time) I hauled out Jane Grigson’s recipe for whole orange marmalade. It all seemed straight forward until I got to the line “boil vigorously for 10 minutes”. Great I thought – it will be done before dinner. Wrong. It was after 10pm before the jars were being filled.
However the dark, flavoursome brew spread on the next morning’s toast made the effort well worthwhile.
To place an order email Jennifer and Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org or try your luck on Trademe when the oranges are in season around September each year.
In Wellington, away from the looky looky crowds, Photospace is one of the places I go for good coffee. James, who has some old Italian built machine (he bought two from trade me – one for spare parts) prides himself on the quality of his brew. If you are a regular visitor to the gallery you probably will have sampled James’ offering – if not, take a walk up the marble staircase, contribute koha, look at the art…you might be offered one too.