Skip to content

Zumo Café – Fortune favours the brave

ZUMO Coffee Roasters was established in 2006 by Dan Slattery and he quickly followed the roasting business with a small coffee shop on the corner of Rutherford & Vanguard Streets before he moved to Australia a few years later and sold the business.

Experienced coffee roaster, café owner and all-round food enthusiast, Tina Fortune, saw the potential of the closed site she drove past every day and took a calculated leap of faith to take over the Zumo cafe space, reopening in December 2022. Then the hard work started as she set about rebuilding the business.

Tina Fortune at ZUMO Cafe

Tina told me that expanding the selection of food has been one element to getting this little but vibrant café buzzing once again.

The Fortune name may sound familiar, that’s because I wrote about her chef husband, Chris, a couple of weeks ago. In that column I wrote about how the couple took their young family on a road trip around New Zealand with Chris teaching courses he developed, Kids Can Cook and Teens Can Cook, in schools from Northland to Southland while Tina homeschooled and sometimes her and their children, would assist Chris at the schools.

When I dropped in to ZUMO Café last weekend Tina told me that while Chris is now the Culinary Arts tutor at NMIT their family has now grown up and she was looking for her next venture and looked to get back into the hospitality sector after working in the health sector with Te Piki Oranga, a Maori health provider.

She told me “It could be very challenging at times for the team and they were incredible *to work with and I also had the privilege to be to learn more about Maori culture and the language because I was in that environment, they are a very humble group of people who do wonderful care for the whanau in our community.”

But back to the ZUMO café. “I learned about coffee beans and roasting from one of the pioneers of artisan coffee roasting while travelling New Zealand in preparation to start the first coffee Roastery in Marlborough.”

“When we were living in Marlborough we saw an niche opportunity for a coffee roastery, there wasn’t one there at the time so partnership was formed with a friend and CPR eventuated.

“But all of this came out of our involvement in the farmers markets and community gardens.

“I left CPR Coffee to become a full-time mum, then skip a few years forward to when our son decided to go to Nelson College and we landed here, I initially worked at NMIT before moving on to Te Piki Oranga before taking on the ZUMO Café challenge.

Tina Fortune relaxing in her very popular Nelson cafe

“Taking on the ZUMO Café was my idea, I was driving past every day and seeing it empty just meant an opportunity for me.” Tina told me there were lots of reasons for doing it but an important part of deciding to take on the cafe was “I wanted to bring the family together and for us to work on a project along with helping our kids develop skills that will let them succeed in the world.

“Our son Kacey is completing an apprenticeship, he’s currently a material handling technician and helps us anywhere in any way he can, he is very important to the business. Our daughter Holly wanted to earn some money to go on an international student exchange to Italy. As well as earning some money she learnt so much by interacting with the backpackers and other visitors from around the world who come in to ZUMO Café, especially those who joined the barista team. Working in this environment gives the whole family a world view. She’s currently on her student exchange in Italy.”

And again, back to ZUMO Café. Tina operates the café, while the original roasting team manage the ZUMO coffee bean roasting business. “We work well together to continue to deliver great ZUMO coffee to locals, visitors and beyond.”

As well as coffee they now make many of their own food items, Chris developed a Sizzling Summer Menu for the holidays which Tina says really well received by many customers, both local and those visiting the region. Now, there is a brunch menu available every weekend and always fresh baking, golden toasties and other delicious food items on offer every day, seven days a week.

“Customers can order online in advance, can dine in or take out for people who need to grab something on the run.”

The Bored Meeting Room can seat up to 16 people and is really well utilised, Tina says bookings are essential because it’s so popular. And the kids room fills up with young families enjoying the couches, fish aquarium, variety of books and toys.

ZUMO Café is more than just a café, it is a place to engage in conversations or sit alone, it’s a place where young people are nurtured and it’s a place people locally and from around the world have embraced.

Published in the Nelson Mail 14.02.2024

I have been writing a regular wine column for The Nelson Mail newspaper since 2000.

Unfortunately the column space is not big enough to include my thoughts on all of the many wines I taste. Hopefully this blog will fix that. It also gives me somewhere to archive the many columns I write. I will also include some favourite recipes from my dearly beloved who loves cooking and of course because wine and food simply go together. I will also point you in the direction of upcoming events and websites I think are great. Enjoy, Neil

Back To Top