Lamason Brew Bar takes the prize for secret Wellington coffeehouse, tucked into a concretey pedestrian breezeway leading to a car park in hidden-away Lombard Street.
The brew bar that takes up the length of one wall hosts a La San Marco machine, a bank of grinders and a collection of siphon pots, and Lamason – named after owner David Lamason – is a bit of a siphon evangeliser in Wellington.
But siphon isn’t the only choice here – V60 pourovers are also the go.
Coffee comes from Newtown roaster Peoples Coffee, who focus on Fairtrade and organic coffee from farmers’ co-ops. A blackboard menu lists singles from some of the usual Fairtrade suspects – Peru, a Mexico Chiapas, Ethiopians from Sidamo, Gedeo and Yirgacheffe – while People’s Don Wilfredo is the house espresso blend.
So a V60 of the Sidamo – the origin scrawled on the serving jug in white marker – starts with a bit of roasty grunge and some peach sweetness; it’s not as clean as some Ethiopians, but it sweetens up as it cools, with the grunge turning to citrus-pith bitterness and flavours of green stone fruit emerging – call this one interesting.
The recherché location, closer to Wellington’s business heart than her pleasure quarters, makes for an interesting crowd: office types mull over lunchtime flat whites at a collection of two-tops, while serious young coffee freaks watch their siphon brews bloom from a stool at the bar, all to the sounds of an experimental rock soundtrack with hip-hop intermissions. Food is from a selection of daily toastie specials, brownies, muffins and that Wellington cafe staple – scones.
Where Corner of Lombard and Bond Street, Te Aro, Wellington
When Mon–Fri 7am–4.30pm, Sat 9.30am–3.30pm