Just down the road from the popular Mt Eden village, home to well-known cafe icons Circus Circus, and Frasers, is a pleasant coffee experience named Next Door.
Next Door's fashionable retro fitout of wooden floors, LP number stands and macrame plant holders facilitates a comfortable environment in which to enjoy good coffee relaxing on the spotted couches.
The barista was knowledgeable and polite and made us some good coffee. The flat white showed good craft in the milk and allowed a glimpse at the coffee's flavour spectrum, with dominant tastes of smooth, soft caramel fudge and mild walnut-like sweetness.
The espresso presented a more delicate malt-like sweetness, with a mild winey sourness (not a negative attribute by any means), a jasmine blossom aroma and a powerful earthy body. A much less inhibited look into the taste complexity of this coffee.
Ordering a second espresso I focused on the general characteristics of coffee. It gave the desired harmonious balance of bitterness, acidity and sweetness which really are the fundamental aspects of a good cup of coffee.
Next Door: Manager: Carlos Atkinson. Open since: October 2010. Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 7am-4pm, 589 Mt Eden Rd.
Coffee: Caffe L'Affare.
* Hans Pronk is an Auckland barista who owns ME Coffee Boutique in Albert St and roasting company Merito Espresso.