mailife - - Advertisement - By ROS­ALIE WIL­LIS Pho­tos by IVAMERE ROKOVESA & RA­JAN SAMI

Suva Cof­fee Shop Re­view

As a born and bred Welling­to­nian, com­ing to Fiji for two months poses more chal­lenges for me than your typ­i­cal visi­tor. Rated by CNN as one of the top 8 places in the world to get a good cuppa cof­fee, Welling­ton has roas­t­er­ies on just about ev­ery street cor­ner. Well not quite, but it’s close. Off the top of my head I can name ten brands of beans that are roasted in Welling­ton and I’m pretty sure there’s more. Not only do I come from Welling­ton, but I also work in a café. To put the sugar on top, I am a trained barista. So you can imag­ine that on ar­rival in Suva, I was soon off on a mis­sion to find a cof­fee shop serv­ing a brew up to my high Welling­ton stan­dards. Mocha is my choice of drink, how­ever in Fiji I have found they are called hot mochas, be­cause of the pop­u­lar­ity of iced mochas. In Welling­ton a flat white comes in a tulip cup, in Fiji a small mocha comes in a cup larger than the largest size in New Zealand. As I have been told by my work mates: “When in Rome do as the Ro­mans do.” This is the con­clu­sion I have come to in Fiji.

Repub­lic of Cap­puc­cino- Ex­pe­ri­ence: 3.5/5 Cof­fee: 3/5

My first es­capade to find cof­fee was easy. Rec­om­mended by ex­pa­tri­ate lo­cals the Repub­lic of Cap­puc­cino was my first stop. Hav­ing ar­rived only the day be­fore, this was my first ex­pe­ri­ence buy­ing any­thing in Fiji and it was more ex­pen­sive that I ex­pected. I or­dered a small mocha and when it ar­rived I was un­sure if it was mine be­cause it was gi­nor­mous. I can only won­der what a large size might be. The cof­fee was frothy and pleas­ant although not very strong. How­ever this can be ac­counted for be­cause of the amount of milk that must have gone into that giant

mug. What I liked most about this place, sec­ond to the free wifi, is the guy that was mak­ing the cof­fee seemed to know ev­ery sin­gle cus­tomer that walked through the door, greet­ing each one as friends not cus­tomers.

Café Noir- Ex­pe­ri­ence: 3.5/5 Cof­fee: 4.5/5

My sec­ond ex­pe­ri­ence was just as sat­is­fac­tory as my first. If you want a quiet place to en­joy a cof­fee, Café Noir is the place to go. While lo­cated on busy Vic­to­ria Pa­rade this café has a re­laxed feel with friendly staff. My mocha came with a small cup­cake on the side, not re­ally a bonus as it was a very ex­pen­sive cof­fee. I was charged for a hot choco­late and an ex­tra shot for the cof­fee. How­ever on ar­rival the mocha looked beau­ti­ful and the taste was also good. Very choco­laty, this mocha was stronger than my last although still not to the strength I am used to. Again prob­a­bly be­cause of the size.

Mo­ments- Ex­pe­ri­ence: 4/5 Cof­fee: 4/5

On ar­rival at Mo­ments, my first thoughts were that this cof­fee shop has per­son­al­ity. A cute photo wall on one side with hang­ing in­dus­trial lights, this café just calls for you to put your feet up and chill. My friend, who is from China, was try­ing to find some­thing fa­mil­iar to eat. The wo­man serv­ing at the counter told her she was out of luck and treated us as if we were un­knowl­edge­able tourists. This hos­tile ser­vice was reme­died, how­ever, by the friendly guy who made and de­liv­ered our cof­fees. My hot mocha was the strong­est one so far with the cof­fee to hot choco­late ra­tio more even than at Café Noir.

Palm Court Bistro- Ex­pe­ri­ence: 3.5/5 Cof­fee: 3/5

The great­est thing about this café is that it is out­side. But never fear, there is shel­ter from the sun. Lo­cated in Palm Court just off Vic­to­ria Pa­rade this was a great place to have break­fast be­fore work. The staff were lovely and help­ful with our food and drinks ar­riv­ing quickly, no ‘Fiji time’ at play here! My cof­fee you may ask? I got my hot mocha, but there was noth­ing spe­cial to note. Just a large cup of heated milk with lots of choco­late and a lit­tle bit of cof­fee.

Café Vic­to­ria- Ex­pe­ri­ence: 1.5/5 Cof­fee: 2.5/5

While hav­ing a door­man might colour some peo­ple’s opin­ions of a café, I would have much rather had that per­son con­tribut­ing to mak­ing my cof­fee quicker. Café Vic­to­ria may have had many staff work­ing when I vis­ited dur­ing lunchtime but it did not con­trib­ute to quick and ef­fi­cient ser­vice. I or­dered at the counter and then pro­ceeded to sit near the cof­fee ma­chine where I watched for a good five min­utes be­fore any­one started to make my cof­fee. From per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence, mak­ing a cof­fee takes about a minute and when I fi­nally got my cof­fee I was not im­pressed enough to be con­vinced of a re­turn trip to Café Vic­to­ria.

Con­tain Your­self Café- Ex­pe­ri­ence: 4/5 Cof­fee: 1/5

The cheap­est place on the list apart from the mar­ket, I love that this place is out­side near the water. How­ever that is as far as the pos­i­tives go. Although open­ing at 7am, when we showed up some­time af­ter 8am there was no food. So I went back the next day to get my hot mocha. It was grainy and had no flavour, not one I would rec­om­mend.

Mad Hat­ter Hut- Ex­pe­ri­ence: 4/5 Cof­fee: 1.5/5

Prob­a­bly the cutest café yet, this place had a clear theme and backed it up with amaz­ing, cre­ative sweet food to choose from. How­ever the down­side was the cof­fee was not good. It looked amaz­ing but did not match up to the ap­pear­ance.

Mar­ket- Ex­pe­ri­ence: 4.5/5 Cof­fee: 3.5/5

On the rec­om­men­da­tion of a friend this was my fi­nal des­ti­na­tion on the list. You can’t ex­pe­ri­ence true Fiji with­out get­ting a cof­fee from the mar­ket. In­stant cof­fee and milk pow­der with boil­ing water poured on top. The only thing that will make it more Fi­jian would be to add two big spoon­fulls of sugar. Even though this was in­stant cof­fee it def­i­nitely hit the spot. This was an ex­pe­ri­ence that met the brief of a good, sim­ple cof­fee (and an amaz­ing peanut but­ter pan­cake). Although not some­where I would go and take my book, it is a great place to ex­pe­ri­ence au­then­tic Fi­jian cul­ture.

Glo­ria Jeans- Ex­pe­ri­ence: 3/5 Cof­fee: 3/5

Glo­ria Jeans was on the list purely be­cause it is the main chain store cof­fee shop in Suva. Chain stores are def­i­nitely a hit with ex­pa­tri­ates and busi­ness peo­ple, with the one I went to filled with men in suits – not a very com­mon sight in Fiji. The cof­fee was what you’d ex­pect from a chain store, com­ing in a take­away cup even though I was hav­ing it there. The down­side was that it was so hot it cov­ered up the taste and when it had cooled down the cof­fee was grainy and not very creamy.

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