Greeting visitors to our Wellington roastery and Supreme HQ is a little espresso bar simply known as Coffee Supreme Hopper Street. With just a handful of bar stools, this space is elbow to elbow when full, creating an intimate hole-in-wall neighbourhood-haunt feel. Anyone is welcome to join in as the daily newspaper quiz is tackled while opinions on current events and trivia are openly shared with whoever wants their ear bent.
Espresso coffee and batch-brew filter are on offer, the latter of which introduces a different coffee each week. Simple, freshly baked goods accompany the drinks menu. There’s outdoor courtyard seating nestled amongst potted native trees and shrubs. Jazz music frequents the playlist, which makes the students from the neighbouring New Zealand School of Music feel at home.
When Coffee Supreme first moved into the area in 2007, the surrounding buildings were mostly light commercial. That soon began to change as urban living spread into the Mt Cook area. Apartment buildings and Yang’s Asian Supermarket are amongst our newer neighbours, alongside commercial printers, panel beaters, Massey University and Preston’s Butchers, which pre-date our arrival.
The morphing neighbourhood mirrors the changes we’ve made to our roastery since our arrival. Initially, we opened with a reasonably sized café, offering made-to-order pizza and Danishes alongside the standard espresso-coffee options. However, with a less-than-bustling street of customers on our doorstep, and a roasting team that needed more room, the café space was shrunk in 2011. The new format saw a partition wall erected, with one-third given to the espresso bar at the front and the remaining space transformed into a cupping and R&D/QA laboratory.
With such a small space, less is more as far as design and materials are concerned. The essential elements of the building provide the features of the space. Steel I-beams and concrete tilt slabs create the surrounds, with polished concrete and native New Zealand timber creating the structural elements of the space.
Designed by our very own Chris Dillon, the space incorporates materials previously used in the former iteration of the café, which was designed by architectural firm Jasmax.