Shaky Isles – Auckland (central)

IMG_0343By any standards, the flight out to Auckland is a bad one, I knew this much, but to be greeted by a sleeping city can be a bit of a kick in the teeth. I was warned that many of the coffee shops in Auckland remain closed over the holiday period but I didn’t take this seriously. For the coffee lover that has travelled to Auckland the darkness that falls during the holiday season can be demoralising. But they are not to fear: there is still quality coffee to be found. And in the centre, one of these places is Shaky Isles, a large and bright shop, adorned with funky illustrations. I saw this place, with its welcoming entrance, on a day when the city slept, however, it was still busy. I imagine the place will be filled with suits on a normal day, queuing up for “coffee-to-go!”

The overall ambience of the place is more like one would find in New York than in London. Sky-blues and long, IMG_0345wooden benches make Shaky Isles a reflection of the surf and sand culture of NZ. The coffee isn’t bad, providing Caffe L’affare, a roaster that started in Wellington but has spread up and down the country. It’s rather a struggle to find filter coffee in Auckland, very few places do it. However, here there were three different filters on offer, as well as the usual milk-based. I found the Guatemalan coffee was good enough, but lacked some of the complexity I usually like my coffee to have. The tunes of citrusy orange were present but not enough for me to rhapsody about. However, for eight dollars (£4) they do a bottomless filter coffee, which could well persuade me to stay the day. The atmosphere is very congenial to writing, with free wifi and lots of space for your thoughts to flow.

The prices in general are very pretty to British eyes: my filter coffee cost only $3.50 (£1.80). And the bottomless cup was even better value if you drink as much as I do. The coffee snobbery was at a minimum and I was offered milk and sugar (although I was praised when I took neither). The place feels very accessible to families and businesspeople alike, but a little hint of geekery was apparent from tIMG_0347he syphons that sat innocuously by the till.

Lastly, a quick mention of the location. It sits just in the Britomart area, and round the corner from Queen’s Street. Close to everything in the centre.



Shaky Isles
Caffe L’affare

  1. IdeoSpore said:

    Very much liked a travelling review on coffee, as it is very much different than what we are used to. I’m not surprised that the beans may not have had the bouquet you liked but I’m sure they will get there in time. I remember travelling to Taiwan (tiny country no doubt) and being shocked at how many hario wood necks and siphons they can whip out. The roasters still can be a bit heavy handed OR the beans may not sell as fast as they need to to be completely fresh and amazing but the craft is there, albeit maybe 2nd wave or a bit old school.

    It’s always nice though, to see a change of pace. Wish we had bottomless pour overs (if that’s what you meant by filter), if not, that’s fine too. Nice to see bottomless cups offered at a better cafe anyways.

    (your writing is refreshing for an American to read!)

    • Thank you. I look forward to reading more of your blog too as it always fascinates me to see what is going on in other (coffee) cultures.

      I am actually not entirely sure how this filter was brewed, because it was for you to serve yourself from vats. So I doubt it was pour over or anything like that. I imagine it was a standard cone filter or something. May have explained why it lost some of the flavour.

  2. I love Shaky and had no clue that they had drip! I search for it all over Auckland…apparently not too well. Thanks for the tip!

    • Thanks Rach! Yeah, I’ve found a few places that have drip. It’s commonplace in London but is a bit of a scarcity here. Good hunting.

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