Benny Fernandez and his staff are up with the birds Monday to Friday, ready to make delicious coffee at Sparrows.

The newly opened espresso bar in Onekawa opens its door at 6am, serving top-quality brews, while making the final touches to its specialty "Thirdeye" coffee roasters.

"Thirdeye Coffee Roasters is housed in the purpose-built space on the western fringe of the Onekawa industrial estate, in the historic Williams & Kettle site," owner Benny says.

"The space itself is superb. It has history, character, aspect, and most importantly, profile. Location is critical for this type of operation. We had a pretty long list of requirements when we set out to find a suitable space, and this spot ticked all the boxes.


"We've handpicked a team of coffee professionals, both locally and from around New Zealand, to front our new offering. We're here to raise the bar on coffee education and quality," he says.

He and his wife Krista James also own Georgia On Tennyson, in Napier.

Benny loves coffee and wanted to offer his customers something a little different.
"When it comes to coffee, fresh is best. You can't beat a coffee made with freshly ground beans," he said.

He searched far and wide for a coffee roaster that would produce the best quality coffee possible.

He finally found what he a was after - a vintage German coffee roaster.

"The nice thing about them is that they are build better than most. They have a steal drum and it is made out of cast iron. It took me 12 months to find one that the owner was willing to let go."

Benny says the plan is to run Sparrows coffee bar as a sort of cellar door. "It gives us a platform to introduce people to our unique blends and single origin offerings."

Another way in which they plan to make specialty coffee more approachable for everyone is to host monthly "cupping" sessions, which will give people an opportunity to sample rare and interesting coffee from around the world, side by side.


"Cupping is an activity usually reserved for industry professionals, but at Thirdeye our focus is on opening up the often mysterious dark-art of roasting coffee, and creating a space where people can experience new things and better educate themselves in the intricacies of coffee."

Benny says coffee is a lot like wine.

"The taste depends on where it is grown, how it is produced - all of these aspects adds to its characteristics."

Thirdeye coffee will be available online and delivered to your door.

"Because we know that fresh is best and we want our customers to get the best deal possible we will be offering bulk buying along with weekly deliveries.

"So you might buy three months worth of coffee at once but rather than get it all delivered at once we will deliver say 500g a week or whatever you think you will use.

"We will also have an in-house technician to service both commercial and domestic espresso equipment, with plenty of tips and ideas to help improve your skills as a home barista."

Staff on site on the day I visited, Hine Hale and Giancario Miggiano, said they loved the atmosphere at Sparrows.

"It's such a gorgeous space, and a great place to work. We have had fantastic feedback from everyone including all the tradies that come in," Hine said.

She is looking forward to getting the coffee roasting under way and helping with the testing.

"Our goal is to get it absolutely right before offering it to the public."

Benny's longterm goal is to go offshore and source green coffee - "that's my dream plan."

Thirdeye Coffee Roasters and Sparrows are in the same complex, on the corner of Austin St and Taradale Rd, Napier. Opening hours are 6am to 1pm.