When cof­fee’s not a job, but a pas­sion

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE -

con­tin­ues his mis­sion to visit ev­ery food truck in Marl­bor­ough. This week he catches up with Kate Jones of Koffie Mo­bile.

Ap­par­ently, Marl­bor­ough’s claim to culi­nary fame is that it has ‘more eater­ies per capita than New York City’.

At first blush, that looks about right. Blen­heim has more cafes now than you can shake a stir­rer stick at.

But what does that re­ally mean for us cof­fee slurpers? At an av­er­age price of about four bones a cuppa joe (and in some cases $5 for a flat white), are we re­ally pay­ing for the same qual­ity every­where?

You might be sur­prised to know that your lo­cal baris­tas vary in ex­per­tise, and yes, even pas­sion for cof­fee.

Kate Jones, owner and op­er­a­tor of Koffie Mo­bile, might just be one of those rare hu­mans who loves her job. Aside from run­ning the cof­fee cart, Jones also has trained and groomed many of the towns up-and-com­ing young wannabes, and she can tell when some­one has a love for cof­fee.

‘‘I’ve al­ways had a pas­sion for cof­fee. And I guess I knew it was some­thing I wanted to do - learn more about and grow my skills. I just love it, and it’s a forever­chang­ing scene.’’

Jones spent most of her time in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia learn­ing from some of the best in the busi­ness.

‘‘Work­ing in Aus­tralia, in the cof­fee scene over there, it’s taken re­ally se­ri­ously. I mean if I told some­one that I ama barista in Mel­bourne, they’d be like, ‘Oh that’s awe­some’.

‘‘Whereas here, back in New Zealand, I find a bit more peo­ple go, ‘Oh, so what else do you do for a liv­ing?’

‘‘For some [in New Zealand], it’s just a job that peo­ple do while they’re look­ing for an­other job. That’s why you might get a bad cof­fee some­where, be­cause there’s not the same pas­sion.’’

And that’s why Jones says that chang­ing at­ti­tudes comes from chang­ing how we ed­u­cate our new breed of baris­tas.

‘‘That’s why I love the train­ing side of it, be­cause I ac­tu­ally get to teach peo­ple that are in­ter­ested in it and find it as ex­cit­ing as I do.’’

Koffie Mo­bile uses Mar­ket Cof­fee which is roasted in Marl­bor­ough by an­other lo­cal cof­fee guru, Tash Wake­lin. Apart from her reg­u­lar spot at the Farm­ers’ Mar­ket ev­ery Sun­day, Koffie Mo­bile is booked up for events.

Jones says that it’s been fun see­ing the di­verse side of Marl­bor­ough.

‘‘I get to in­ter­act with a lot of peo­ple in Marl­bor­ough,’’ Jones says. ‘‘And I’m try­ing to change that view that a cof­fee cart only serves crappy cof­fee. I want peo­ple to know you can come to a cof­fee cart and get great cof­fee. That’s the best thing about be­ing mo­bile.’’


You can find Kate Jones, owner-op­er­a­tor of Koffie Mo­bile, at the Marl­bor­ough Farmer’s Mar­ket ev­ery Sun­day.

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