Way back in 1989 I was introduced to the wonders of freshly roasted and brewed coffee by Jane and the late Nigel Price when they opened a small coffee and tea shop in upper Trafalgar St. A coffee roaster sat, surrounded by bags of fresh coffee beans, about half way inside the building at the end of the counter and the smell of freshly roasted coffee was intoxicating while the small selection of specialty teas gave Nelsonians their first opportunity to create their own blends if they wanted to.
Of course I had been drinking ‘proper’ coffee, rather than the awful instant stuff, at Chez Eelco for many years but drinking coffee made with freshly roasted beans while surrounded by the lightly burnt toast aromas of roasting coffee beans took my appreciation for coffee to a whole new level. My favourite coffee is still Pomeroy’s Italian blend consumed as a double shot long black, none of this silly milk stuff in my coffee thanks!
Unlike my static taste for strong, flavoursome coffee Pomeroy’s has grown from the small roaster and coffee shop into a large business, roasting coffee for restaurants, cafes and homes around New Zealand. The coffee roasting has grown to the stage it will get a column of its own at some stage but this one is about that little shop in the city.
The Prices moved the coffee roasting part of their business to a shop on the corner of Hardy and Rutherford Streets and in the mid 1990’s and expanded the range of coffee and teas on offer as well as adding coffee machines and other coffee and tea drinking necessities, turning it into a truly specialist coffee and tea shop.
The Prices employed Leigh Thompson who ran the new shop for them until she bought the business she had fallen in love with seven years later. With her son Hayden she set about growing the business even further. The mural of a coffee roaster graced the side of the building until late 2012 when Leigh and Hayden relocated the shop to Montgomery Square.
Pomeroy’s Coffee & Tea Company’s retail shop not only has a few small tables for you to sit at and unwind over a cup of something delicious but is packed with coffee and tea paraphernalia and treats; you will find everything from crockery, teapots, various pieces of coffee making equipment as well as sweet treats and other products from artisan producers around the world.
Of course they still sell freshly roasted coffee beans, coffee is their specialty after all. With a focus on having only the highest quality single origin coffees and the finest teas they can find they now have over 120 teas to choose from making it one the widest tea selections in New Zealand; you can choose from a selection of black, green, organic, fruit, white, Oolong and herbal teas. Teas are a big part of the business and still growing in importance, especially herbal teas that people buy several of to make their own blends.
Pomeroy’s has continued with the community ethos the Prices instilled from the very beginning. “Nigel always had single origin coffee beans and, he was specific about getting highest grade beans he could source. Specialising in a range of single origin beans which in the day was unusual in New Zealand was industry leading” says Leigh Thompson.
“Sourcing only the highest quality green coffee beans and handling them very carefully from roasting to packaging ensures that every cup of coffee made using Pomeroy’s coffee should always be of consistently high quality. We have a team of passionate people that work very hard to bring out the best in every bean.”
Pomeroy’s was one of first boutique coffee roasters in the country and has been an important part of the Nelson food scene for 25 years. Part of the support they give to our community includes supporting various groups by lending coffee making equipment and giving freshly ground coffee so community groups can have great coffee at fundraising events.
In recent years Pomeroy’s has developed a relationship with one of the oldest tea farms in Sri Lanka and Leigh and Hayden have visited the family run farms in Sri Lanka where these farms work cooperatively to process their products. “Working with these small farmers fits well with our fair trade ethos and the knowledge and passion they have for their traditions and processes means Pomeroy’s can bring world class teas to New Zealand” say Leigh.
“We are lucky a lot of our staff have been with us for many years and have a wealth of knowledge, it also means customers always find a familiar face behind the counter”.
Pomeroy’s Coffee and Tea Company shop in Montgomery Square isn’t a café but they do have great coffee to enjoy and lots of little gift and treat ideas including a great selection of humorous greeting cards and they are the South Island agents for the famous Italian made Rocket Coffee Machine.
And for me some things don’t change, the is still full of the beautiful fresh, enticing