Lit­tle cof­fee shack, big at­ti­tude

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

Pic­ton has a new ar­rival - the first ded­i­cated cof­fee cart to set up shop in the port­side town.

Just in the nick of time too, it would seem, as Kirstie Paulin’s cof­fee cart - The Lit­tle Cof­fee Shack - has been go­ing gang­busters since it opened its barn doors three weeks ago.

‘‘It’s been great, and be­ing on the main drag and so close to the mo­tels, peo­ple have been stop­ping for cof­fee. Or rolling out of bed and com­ing to see me for their first cuppa.’’

The Lit­tle Cof­fee Shack is lo­cated on the cor­ner of High and Broad­way Streets, parked right out­side the colour­ful He­len’s store on High St.

Paulin’s cart serves up cof­fee with a lit­tle bit of at­ti­tude. She has the tat­toos, the rock n’ roll hair-do, the great art­work on her cof­fee cups - cour­tesy of Swal­low Cof­fee in Nel­son - and gen­uine love for the peo­ple in her town.

‘‘My part­ner and I have lived in Waikawa com­ing up three years. But this is just my third week of busi­ness. I am re­ally ex­cited to have my cof­fee shack in Pic­ton and have met some fan­tas­tic peo­ple.

‘‘I am a very peo­ple-driven person, I guess you could say, and I am so su­per ex­cited about this new ven­ture!’’

Like ev­ery food truck story, each en­ter­prise starts with a dream - fol­lowed by the pur­chase of a shell of ‘ some­thing on wheels’. And Paulin’s story is no dif­fer­ent.

To re­alise her vi­sion of bring­ing mo­bile cof­fee to Pic­ton she had to travel to Christchurch to pick up a se­cond­hand ‘‘wob­ble wagon’’, and get to work on de­sign­ing and build­ing it her­self.

‘‘I brought the cof­fee cart ba­si­cally as bare shell and built and de­signed the rest. It’s such a great feel­ing see­ing the finished re­sult and other peo­ple com­ment­ing on how fan­tas­tic it looks. I feel very proud.’’

Apart from the past four years where she was work­ing on a deep-sea fish­ing boat, the Pic­ton barista has worked for 14 years in the hos­pi­tal­ity busi­ness.

This, how­ever, is the first time the Paulin has stepped out on her own to do some­thing she loves.

‘‘I have been want­ing to own my own cof­fee cart for a very long time. I am very pas­sion­ate about good cof­fee, and thought: ‘Right, I’m do­ing this and here I am!’

I love mak­ing and drink­ing good cof­fee al­ways have. Es­presso cof­fee is one of those rare prod­ucts where con­sis­tent, 100 per cent qual­ity mat­ters.’’

And Paulin says she likes to spe­cialise in lo­cally made prod­ucts.

‘‘My cof­fee beans are roasted in Nel­son. I also do hot co­coa which is from West Coast Co­coa Mer­chants. It is rich, in­tense crafted co­coa and is cer­ti­fied through UTZ cer­ti­fied co­coa pro­gram (a la­bel for sus­tain­able farm­ing).

‘‘I also have a va­ri­ety of flavours in­clud­ing Mayan chilli hot choco­late, caramel, and deluxe. And also, my chai is sourced lo­cally… I am also us­ing or­ganic tea from Keri Keri.’’

Paulin says her beau­ti­fully dec­o­rated cups are sus­tain­able, made from plants prod­ucts (no oil) and are biodegrad­able.

And are the tat­toos part of the busi­ness model?

‘‘Yes! I have some ink and haven’t finished quite yet, you are never finished once you get started!’’

PHOTO: DAVID JAMES/STUFF

Lit­tle cof­fee shack owner Kirstie Paulin out­side her new ven­ture on Pic­ton’s main drag.

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