Peoples Coffee – Taranaki St

Peoples Coffee bircher header image

40 Taranaki St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 7.30am weekdays, 8:30am weekends; closes 3pm
Bircher muesli $10; Peoples Coffee, Forage & Bloom black tea, Ritual green and herbal teas

Peoples Coffee (without an apostrophe it seems) has two outlets in Wellington and they are currently (Oct 2022) running a PledgeMe campaign to expand. This branch is on the corner of Taranaki St and Lukes Lane. There has been a small Peoples at the bottom of Constable St in Newtown for a long time, and there is a new roastery in Mansfield St in Newtown where they may serve coffee at some time in the future.

Some years ago I enquired about muesli at the Constable St branch (there wasn’t any) and the person I spoke to said that that was an idea and asked if I had any suggestions. So I mentioned this site. It may be fanciful to think that I have had something to do with muesli being served at Peoples now, but…

Peoples Coffee coffee and bircher

What I sampled at Taranaki St/Lukes Lane is listed as ‘All Good Oats’ on the menu. The small print says ‘Cold oat and chia bircher, coconut yoghurt with seasonal topping’. It is only $10, so I didn’t have very high hopes. However, I shouldn’t have been so snooty. It was perfectly reasonable.

The bircher consisted of soaked oats with chia seeds added before serving, which means they added a bit of crunchy rather than gelatinous texture to the oat mix. On top was apple sauce, the coconut yoghurt, slivered almonds and dried cranberries. Something about the cranberries in this context didn’t grab me. Maybe it is a texture issue, as they are chewy, and maybe some other thing would go better here (soaked dried fruit mixed in the bircher? That is commonly done).

Peoples Coffee bircher detail

Peoples Coffee is organic and fair trade, with B Corp certification. A reason I like coming to Peoples Coffee regularly is that they offer batch brewed filter coffee, and you get a decent amount of it in a jug. See the picture above, where I’ve already drained the jug it came in and I’m on to my second mug.

Peoples Coffee interior to Taranaki St cnr

A slight gripe I have is that the mugs or jugs are often chipped or cracked. One might keep drinking out of a favourite chipped cup at home, but for a customer service operation you just have to throw it away, no? Another complaint, and it is a hazard with batch brewed coffee served from a thermos anywhere, is that the coffee can be luke warm. I’d just zap it in a microwave myself, but they simply smiled at me when I suggested that once. Maybe a real thermos with a glass interior and vacuum rather than those stainless steel ones that have a metal inner would keep things warmer?

Peoples Coffee interior long wall

Other gripes – and I’m only going on about them because I actually like Peoples Coffee – is the absence of newspapers and the so/so black tea. OK, tea is so/so at nearly every eatery in Wellington, but is that a reason to perpetuate the standard? The good thing is that the tea is leaf tea, and I do concede that it tasted fine, and green tea I’ve had here was wonderful. But I’d really like it in a tea cup rather than a repurposed coffee cup, and with a jug of hot water so I can adjust the strength to suit. Not too hard, really?

So what do I like about Peoples? Well, the fact that they serve filter coffee, that this is fair trade and organic, and that the café environment is wonderfully sunny in the morning. Plus the staff are nice and they play some good background music at times. They have a small selection of counter food as well as just three menu items: bagel toast, the bircher, and toasties. Keeping it simple.

Peoples Coffee exterior with people

I’d rate the bircher muesli a ‘fair’. Not amazingly good, but not bad either. And it is extremely well priced. But the winning factor for me is that the café is a nice place to visit in terms of its light and airy atmosphere, and sun-catching windows, yet small and quite intimate. So you don’t feel like you are eating and drinking in a railway station, as you do with some of Wellington’s eateries. Plus there is the advantage of ethical coffee, including batch filter.

Reviewed October 2022.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.

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