Shopping malls, factories, and . . . specialty coffee? Welcome to Geeks on Sainsbury, a new New Zealand coffee bar in collaboration with Red Rabbit Coffee Company.
A suburb where most Aucklanders go for its shopping malls and industrial needs, Saint Lukes is the last place you would think of when it comes to finding a specialty coffee cafe. But with the rapid growth in amount of cafes opening in Auckland nowadays, it wouldn’t be surprising to find just that! Where many new eateries are simply moving to a Melbourne-inspired design and menu and some even still thinking of coffee as being a secondary product that “just has to be there”, Geeks On Sainsbury have came out more unique with their choice to approach the market with genuine reverence.
First thing’s first. Why the name? Owner and barista Tom Hong told me, “we are just a bunch of geeks both working in the kitchen and on coffee. We haven’t quite thought of the name as such and since we are on Sainsbury Road, we will just call it that.” Hong elaborated, “even though we are geeks, we still have a lot to learn to be even more geeky.” The Fit Out Company was in charge of the interior design, showcasing a bright and cozy yet classically Kiwi space. Through the two full-length sliding doors, you will see on your left a fully set-up barista space displaying a brand new La Marzocco Linea PB in white, a matte black EK 43 grinder and a Nuova Simonelli Mythos grinder. To separate the stations, you will find a “Coffee Geeks” sign above and right next to it, the window for the kitchen and the “Kitchen Geeks” sign. You will also see a full-sized blackboard directly facing the entrance with coffee information showing basic info on coffee extracting methods, including extraction ratios (for the truly geeky among us). The cozy interior echoes harmoniously with the outdoor garden space as both sliding doors fully open up to welcome anyone in.
To satisfy Hong’s geekiness of coffee, he has chosen Red Rabbit Coffee Company from Wellington as his coffee supplier. As featured on Sprudge back in December 2013, Red Rabbit has grown from humble origins to become a popular name for coffee lovers here in New Zealand. Owner Steve Barrett is himself a dedicated coffee geek, roasting his “Hopper” seasonal blend and other single origins on a Probat vintage coffee roaster. Currently, Hong is just serving the seasonal blend for his espressos, made up from 30% Rwanda Gisuma and 70% Colombia Bucaramanga—it tastes like creamy milk chocolate and subtle orange peel as a flat white. A single origin program utilizing the EK 43 for filter and espresso is on the way, and Geeks rounds out their menu with a contemporary set of food offerings: think seasonal fruit waffles, pork salad with fresh edible flowers, and a “Geeks Beef Burger” with homemade chutney, ricotta, and rocket.
Having a cozy specialty coffee cafe in the suburb of Saint Lukes adds a refreshing twist to the area. I personally enjoyed just sitting there, enjoying my coffee; on that same visit, I observed a toddler who enjoyed his time so much that as his mum tried to leave the shop, he refused to budge, hanging tight to the door. A future geek in training, perhaps?
Albert Au is a Sprudge.com contributor based in Auckland, New Zealand. Read more Albert Au on Sprudge.