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The Caffeine Queen

An energetic buzz brews behind a Christchurch coffee icon – and its co-owner shares her gift of motivation to the world.

Sacha Coburn is the Chief Operations Officer for Coffee Culture and who also delivers entertaining leadership talks through The Company You Keep.

Now 46, she overcame aggressive breast cancer a decade ago, when fate threw her one of the toughest curve balls imaginable.

Sacha retained her spirited smile, flipping tragedy on its head. She’s now embracing the life-changing journey as a gift – one that has fuelled her motivation to help others succeed.

“It didn’t make me want to retreat, it made me want to expand,” she says. “I live out every year deliberately as though it’s my last. I want to keep learning, sharing and contributing.”

So far there have been two highlights of her life, she says. “One is meeting my husband, the founder of Coffee Culture, in ‘99.”

Hailing from Onehunga, Sacha came to Christchurch for her first career as a qualified lawyer – where her daily coffee routine ended in love!

“We all have our own Coffee Culture story,” she laughs. “Tinder dates through to job interviews – it’s the place where people meet up. We’ve even had staff who have had babies, then they’ve grown up and worked for us!”

The business has grown alongside Sacha’s family, teenagers Tiger and Portia and stepson Jordan.

“The second highlight of my life was attending Harvard Business School in Boston.”

She was one of nine Kiwis to receive the 2018 Prime Minister’s Business Scholarship for three-week sessions over three consecutive years, starting last September.

“It was Coffee Culture’s achievement really – we are a real coffee nation. Harvard is such a transformational environment, with business leaders from throughout the world,” says Sacha, who also has a Master’s Degree in Education.

“I feel part of my responsibility is to share that learning and bring those skills back.”

She believes in being open to new experiences that come along. “When we have openness, crazy s**t happens!” she laughs.

It is her funny, inspirational and motivating performance that gives authenticity to the workshops presented a few times a year, in tandem with Chair of The Chiefs Rugby Club Tonia Cawood.

People rarely nod off at the lively leadership events, which uniquely interweave comedy and classic tunes.

Sacha also co-wrote the book Speakership with renowned speaker Matt Church.

She points out that public speaking has been pivotal in society for thousands of years.

Today’s TED talks are just the modern equivalent. However, the talented talker says that her favourite thing is actually just listening.

Back at Coffee Culture, the quest to constantly make things better never stops.

“We’re always thinking what would delight people the most, so it’s attention to detail with every aspect in design trends, food and drinks – and providing wonderful spaces for people to hang out. You can even have a charcoal latte now. We are all so different. It’s that combination of familiarity and freshness.”

A single origin latte with a splash of cold milk is Sacha’s takeaway cup tipple – although now it’s made with oat milk.

After 12 years living in Sumner, Hamilton became home, to help launch the brand up north. Sacha oversees all training and development of the 20 Coffee Culture stores, but plenty of time is still spent in Christchurch.

“As business gets tougher in New Zealand, we’ve been helping our young staff with ownership of their own stores. For me, that’s enormously fulfilling – having an impact on people’s lives.”

Coffee Culture Charitable Foundation, has also built new trading facilities for their coffee suppliers in Papua New Guinea.

“My main focus is ‘how do we grow our people’. We also give additional attention to mental health. It’s understanding who I am, and who they are, so we can enjoy working together in a high-performance environment.

“If I keep doing the work on myself, the opportunities will come for all of us.”


Recreating a coffee icon

Bink Bowler started making the coffee we have all come to love at the sprightly age of 13 and at age 19, 10 years ago, he and some other coffee guys founded Memphis Belle Coffee House in Wellington.



It became iconic, gaining a cult following in the capital. Bink learnt so much about the coffee business, he decided to take that knowledge to the next level and open the Black and White Coffee Cartel which permeates Christchurch.

When it got to five cafés in the space of three or so years, Bink got what he dreamed of, a bigger coffee company heading in the right direction and he thought to himself, ‘What’s this all about? Why am I doing this?’

Ending up spending much of his time at a computer, he’d lost what he really loved about coffee; people. When it got to 10 shops he decided to step out of the Managing Director role and seek what made him happy, with the blessing of his partners at Black and White.

When Bink heard Memphis Belle was closing in 2019, he decided he would recreate the vision and set about creating a grown up version of Belle that represents the Bink of today, just as the renowned coffee house did 10 years ago.

So, the evolution has come full circle, with a return to Belle coffee house on the corner of New Regent and Armagh Streets.

Memphis Belle never left Bink’s heart nor did his faith in Christchurch.

After working in the hard yards in Wellington he’s seen the bright future that is central Christchurch and in relaunching, he rediscovered quality of life.

With a wealth of experience, a new spark in his heart and passion for a great coffee house, Bink has made his triumphant return with Belle.

Even though coffee houses have changed since Memphis Belle started a decade ago, good culture and great service haven’t.

With its unique vibrant style and food to tempt even the fussiest breakfast gourmet with a stunning creamy mushrooms on toast, classic eggs benedict and if you’re really hungry, the bigger breakfast, loaded nachos or just a bowl of fries.

With a full kitchen there’s a tasty treat for almost everyone.

Belle has returned in style with great coffee.

Classics are always in style and Belle is all about doing the basics and doing them exceptionally well.

This is a place that is about good people, good coffee, good food and a whole lotta charm!

Belle operates with gratitude toward all of those who were involved in the original Memphis Belle story.

It’s just a little bit of Wellington in the Garden City, but still quintessential Christchurch.

Check it out for yourself from 7am to 4pm Monday to Friday, and 8:30am to 4:30pm Saturday and Sunday in the heart of the central city.



Cool Beans!

Why it’s cool to support ‘local’ for your caffeine fix



The coffee industry is very competitive and so too is the hospitality sector.

At present we are reading on a regular basis that many local hospitality businesses are closing their doors due to increasing costs and a saturated market.

Several Christchurch based roasteries have already sold out to large national and multinational businesses, resulting in the profits being re-directed from Christchurch to larger cities in the North Island, or even overseas.

If you are setting up a hospitality business or are thinking of moving coffee suppliers, it is smart business and also community-minded to research your local roasteries first, before looking at brands from other centres.

Deb and Ian Riach of Coffee Worx have been supplying the local market for the past 11 years and have been in the hospitality scene in Canterbury for the past 25 years, so they have loads of industry experience and a great understanding of the pressures associated with running a hospitality business.

Coffee Worx has won several coffee awards and have maintained excellent relationships with its customers over the years.

The company would love the opportunity to partner with you in helping grow your coffee offering.


Spring brunch delights: Red Eight Cafe

Popular Kaiapoi eatery Red Eight Café has now introduced its delicious brunch menu every day.



Pastry chef Stephanie Reeves, owner of Red Eight, has spruced up the brunch menu for spring, and extended the hours it’s available. From 8am ‘til 2pm daily, except Sunday when it’s closed, the new brunch offerings are up for grabs.

The avocado on rye or rosti is always popular, Stephanie says. So, too, are the pancakes served with fresh fruit, butterscotch sauce, ice cream and gingernut crumble. Headlining the new menu, however, is the eggs benedict. It’s served on a crispy agria potato rosti with mushrooms and spinach, or bacon, or smoked salmon, and the hollandaise sauce is house-made.


In fact, everything at Red Eight is house-made. Stephanie and the team prepare everything right there, every day, including the sauces, aiolis and vinaigrettes. Even the milkshakes (very popular!) are made with sauces from real ingredients. Real bananas, real strawberries. No generic syrups.

That’s how it is at Red Eight. “It’s simple food, done well,” Stephanie says. “Tastes delicious and looks good on the plate.”


In addition to the new brunch menu, there’s a cabinet full of scrumptious delights, all, of course, freshly made in house each day. “To me, that’s the sign of a good café – if there’s so much choice that you can’t decide what you want.”
Open 7am ‘til 4pm Monday to Friday and 8am ‘til 4pm on Saturday, Red Eight also offers catering and venue hire.

To contact, phone 03 327 0136. Visit 143 Williams Street, Kaiapoi, or check out the Facebook page.




Exceptional culinary choice: Crisp Cafe

What can one say about Crisp Café that hasn’t been said already? Locals come from around Christchurch and even as far as Ashburton, just to sample the great eats and beverages from Nick and Sue Leadbeater and their family- run café. Located at Shop 2 in the heart of the Fendalton Village Shopping Centre, Crisp Café is a warm and friendly family-run business, which you experience the moment you set foot in the door.



The most unique aspect of Crisp Café is the food on offer, particularly the addition of ketogenic or keto foods to the menu – keto is based on the concept of high-fat and low-carb. Gluten-free food also makes up more than half of Crisp Café’s menu, making it the definitive gluten-free go-to in Canterbury.

With a stunning selection of sweets, savouries, pies, slices and even some scrumptious cheesecakes, you are well catered for. Basically, if the centrepiece of your diet is of a gluten-free variety, you simply won’t find this level of culinary choice anywhere else.

A hot cup of barista-made coffee is never far away and the fully equipped kitchen is expertly run by Nick and his team. With a new menu proving very popular, and great weekly specials on hand, isn’t it time you visited Crisp Café?




Cafe and gifts combine: Pam’s Cafe and Gifts

If you’ve visited Waikari recently, you’ll know Pam’s Café & Gifts is the perfect place to stop for quality food and a great coffee. What makes it even better is the range of unique giftware on display offering something for everyone.



In the two years it has been at its current location, locals and visitors alike have been making the shop their first port of call when they’re in the Canterbury town.

Owner Pam Burrows says the secret lies in their range of quality homestyle food and Hummingbird coffee. Currently, the most popular items on the menu are the decadent carrot cake and date loaf, which are made on-site, using all-natural ingredients, and taste “just like grandma used to make”.

There is also an extensive breakfast and lunch menu available, and the scones, pies and afghan cookies all receive rave reviews.

If the sun is shining, guests can make the most of the outdoor seating, or stay indoors enjoying the warmth of the conservatory.

In the gift shop, you’ll find homemade jam, baby wear, women’s ponchos, manuka products, toys, cards, quirky signs and more.

Pam has recently introduced a mobile coffee cart to the business, which is now available for events. From Thursday through to Sunday, the café is also open late serving fish and chips.

Next time you’re passing through Waikari, make sure Pam’s Café & Gifts is your first stop on the journey. For more information, phone 03 314 4644.




Coffee with heart: Coffee Worx

Do you enjoy really good coffee and the great outdoors? Coffee Worx, a Christchurch coffee roastery, has found there are many passionate coffee drinkers, who – just like you – enjoy the invigorating hit of sitting in their favourite outdoor spot sipping their favourite coffee.



That’s why Coffee Worx developed its Heartland Brew blends, to reflect the New Zealand palate and coffee drinking style. With Heartland Brew, people can soak up the best of both worlds – and this homegrown brand has struck a chord with many outdoor enthusiasts around the country.

Whether you’re camping, tramping, fishing, biking, hunting or holidaying, there’s a Heartland Brew blend to suit every preferred brewing method and coffee drinking style. These premium coffee blends are ideal for espresso, plunger, filter, stovetop, Jetboil, Aeropress, pour over – or even the pod machine at your holiday home! The packaging is resealable with an air valve and special lining, so that while you are away (or at home) your coffee will remain fresh and easily transported.

If you want a coffee that suits your surroundings while enjoying the best New Zealand has to offer, look out for Heartland Brew in your local New World, Fresh Choice or Pak n Save; or contact Coffee Worx direct if you want your coffee in smaller quantities or ground to your preference.

Check out the website gallery at, showcasing the photos of Kiwis like you who are making coffee their way, in their favourite locations around our great Kiwi landscape.



Drink Your Greens

Move over turmeric lattes, coffee is going green!


Millions are hooked on the habitual comfort of a steaming hot cup of coffee. Now stir in a teaspoon of broccoli goodness and you have an incredibly virtuous pick-me-up. A dried, powdered rendition of fresh broccoli, with its nutrients still intact, was developed last year by Australia’s national science agency and agricultural research group. Heads of broccoli that wouldn’t make the beauty stakes to the supermarket shelves are used – a big sustainable benefit to broccoli coffee’s bow – and it’s a great way to guzzle down your quota of veges.

Broccoli is a nutritional powerhouse, containing vitamins A, B1, B6 and E, potassium, copper, niacin, zinc, manganese and selenium, as well as valuable fibre, lots of calcium, omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin C and even protein. Broccoli powder and powder made from other green-goddess foods are nothing new. Smoothies are quite accustomed to the shade of green. However, green coffee still seems more like a St Paddy’s day drink than a daily cuppa.

Turmeric lattes got a few loves, but broccoli lattes may have to join the ranks of other slightly squirmy inventions, like cockroach milk, while we wait for the celebrity endorsements. Will it take over the world? Curious palates the globe over will certainly be giving this alien-like elixir the taste test.


The Coffee Fans

The Place for Coffee Fans: The Coffee Fans

The Coffee Fans is a bright, relaxing café in the heart of St Albans. Open 7 ‘til 4 weekdays, and 8 ‘til 4 on weekends, it’s a great place to grab a coffee and enjoy the busy surrounds.


The Coffee Fans


Breakfast and lunch is served until 1:30 each day, with specialties such as traditional Eggs Benedict on toasted ciabatta with bacon, Eggs Atlantic – that’s with smoked salmon – or the vegetarian Eggs Florentine with Portobello mushrooms. All eggs are free-range, and in the Coffee Fans Breakfast they come poached, scrambled or fried and with all the fixins expected in a big breakfast.

Other favourites are the French Toast, toasted sandwiches, or a Corn Fritter Stack with bacon, tomatoes, avocado, salad, and poached eggs served with a freshly made mango salsa. Check the Chef’s Special board outside for delights such as Smashed Avocado with feta on ciabatta.

In the cabinet are some of the best looking savouries and treats in the city. Fresh salads, pies, paninis, wraps and sweets such as lolly cake, muffins, and the exotically tantalising Raspberry Coconut Bliss Ball!

There is a no-smoking outdoor eating area for these fine summer days; it’s doggie friendly too, so convenient to drop in when walking your puppy. Enjoy free wi-fi and, with a new menu due to be launched in April. The Coffee Fans is a neat place to drop by and enjoy good coffee, scrumptious food and a chill atmosphere.



Purple Weka Café & Bar

Top-quality café fare at your place: Purple Weka Café & Bar

Fans of The Purple Weka Café & Bar already know it’s the place to go for great coffee and delicious food, but did you know the catering service means you can serve all their delectable treats at your place?


Purple Weka Café & Bar


If you have a workplace or birthday shout, business lunch, or team gathering and want all their popular fare – with none of the effort involved – the friendly team has your back. Now located at 48 Fitzgerald Ave, on the edge of the CBD, The Purple Weka Café & Bar is well known to locals who praise its top service and hospitality.

Open seven days, the café serves a range of Kiwi-inspired meals, Hummingbird Coffee and is fully licensed. Manager Stewart McDougall is incredibly proud of The Purple Weka Café & Bar, saying it specialises in good quality, homemade food. “We’re the full package all rolled into one,” he says. “What you get is good Kiwi fare, generous portions and we have generous parking, especially in the weekends.”

The catering service – which includes a range of savouries, sandwiches and more – is exactly the same as you would be served in the café. All you have to do is check out the online menu, ring the day before to order, and they’ll prepare everything and have it all boxed up ready for you to collect, so you can go enjoy the party, too!


For more information on The Purple Weka Café & Bar, visit