28 November 2016

What I Love About Dunedin Coffee Culture | Study With New Zealand

Christina Elder
US Study Abroad Student

No matter where my travels take me, whether it’s much too early Chemistry classes or warm Thursday morning drives to the beach, there is always one thing on my mind – coffee.

Naturally, as I expected to journey down to Dunedin for a semester abroad, I wanted to explore how the coffee culture halfway across the world compared to the one back home in the USA. Hint: Finding a big ol’ American cup of coffee is not easy down in Dunners.

It’s a chilly winter’s day in Dunedin and you walk into the cozy coffee shop around the corner. You look at the menu and your options are:

Short black Long black  Flat white  Latte  Cappuccino  Mochaccino  Hot Chocolate

If you’re coming from the States, these options might seem a bit shocking at first. No worries! Here’s a short breakdown:

  • Short black: another term for espresso.
  • Long black: essentially watered down espresso.
  • Flat white: one-third espresso, two-thirds steamed milk and bit of froth.
Exploring coffee culture halfway across the world

While flat whites are slowly making their way into local Aussie and Kiwi owned coffee shops back in the US, they are quite a new concept for us Americans on the coffee scene. There is a great dispute on the difference between the New Zealand and Australian flat whites but it is said that the drink was pioneered in Wellington, New Zealand. If you find yourself studying over here in NZ, definitely give the flat white a try - it may become your new usual.

Now that you know what the menu looks like, what about the atmosphere of a typical Dunedin coffee shop?

Dunedin is a beautiful city filled with some of the quirkiest and most lovely coffee shops. With all the university students that reside down in Dunners, there is definitely a great coffee need to fill.

A typical Dunedin coffee shop?

In America we typically find college students studying away in coffee shops but this isn’t particularly the culture over here in Dunedin. Coffee shops are all in all a social place to gather, take a break from studying and catch up with your good mates. A group of friends and I found this out the hard way as we ventured from coffee shop to coffee shop hoping to find long lasting Wi-Fi, to compliment our coffee filled study sessions, and it was almost nowhere to be found.

While Wi-Fi is actually available in most cafes, it’s usually limited to a short period of time, implying the very social culture of New Zealand coffee shops. I can’t say I’m complaining though - I think the slow paced coffee and chat is something we should start to adopt in America!

From Modaks Espresso to Oaken on Great King Street, Dunedin’s coffee culture is something to be experienced by all. If you’re a die-hard coffee lover like myself and love a good adventure, New Zealand’s coffee scene is one to be around. 

If you’re a die-hard coffee lover like myself and love a good adventure, New Zealand’s coffee scene is one to be around.
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About the contributors
Christina Elder
US Study Abroad Student

Christina Elder came to New Zealand from Miami, Flordia, USA. Back home, she studies Neuroscience and Behaviour at Mount Holyke College in Massachusetts. Christina loved studying at the University of Otago in Dunedin because of New Zealand's stunning outdoors and charming people. *Views expressed are the blogger's own