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If our Midland Park store is the heart of coffee for home, Customs is the centre for what’s current in the world of coffee preparation, located just off the cultural melting pot that is Cuba Street, Wellington. The name Customs comes from the idea that the best experiences with coffee often begin with rituals inherited from the customs of global coffee drinkers. The name is also a hat-tip to the journey coffee takes to arrive in New Zealand, with every bean having to be imported from distant, far-off lands. Customs partners a revolving menu of single origins for home, offered by the 100 gram, with both filter and espresso drink options. The coffee experience wouldn’t be complete without a morsel to accompany it, and Customs offers an ever-changing menu of fresh toast and pastry options, made either on site or by local suppliers. All this is set in an environment that is rather domestic, and intentionally so. This home-like feel puts people at ease and relaxes an experience that could feel uptight if held with too much reverence.
Right from the start, the filter offering was a central part of the space, and, though it took a while to build up the customer base, the adoption of filter coffee as a premium drink is the most pleasing aspect of how Customs has fared to date. The influence Customs has had on us as a roasting company, and on the specialty scene in general, has been quiet but reasonably profound. Six years after opening the doors, there a dozen or so other spaces in Wellington following Customs’ lead and we’re installing an ever-increasing amount of commercial filter coffee brewers in the cafés of our wholesale customers.