REVIEW: Espresso Ship, Golden Bay, NZ

What do coffee and Jacques Cousteau have in common? The obvious answer may be conservation, but it is actually a boat. Or to be precise an old Jacques Cousteau ship that is now a high seas coffee roastery and Golden Bay cafe  serving up some of the finest coffee this side of the (Abel) Tasman. Welcome to the Espresso Ship…

Going on holiday can be concerning for the urban dwelling caffeine addict. For starters caffeine hits that don’t involve instant coffee can be few and far between. Then there is the fact that finding a half decent brew that doesn’t taste as bitter as a divorcee and have a flavour similar to an old muddy boot is often an impossibility.

Conversely, stumbling across a local barista on holiday that understands your fine palate and insane addiction to the coffee bean can set the heart racing more than a double shot of Ristretto. The idea of having more time on your hands whilst 0n holiday to do the things you enjoy in life can make ‘discovering’ top notch cafes in foreign cities, rural villages and seaside towns one of the great pleasures of the vacationing coffee connoisseur. Sitting down in a nicely decorated cafe and sipping  on a latte or flat white can be equally as relaxing, fulfilling and heart warming as sunbathing on your favourite beach, walking beautiful valleys and mountains or sitting down to the full day spa treatment.

Enter the ‘Espresso Ship’. Situated in Pohara, Golden Bay New Zealand at Port Tarakohe near limestone cliffs, emerald green waters and even the odd penguin or stingray that may swim by, this cafe certainly delivers on both location and quality. The Espresso Ship, much like it’s name implies, is a ship – a Jacques Cousteau vessel named ‘Physalie’.


The Physalie has been the five year passion project of owner Ollie Mitchell to restore this majestic ship to its former glory, add a copper lined coffee roaster on board and  serve up some of the best organic fair trade coffee in the country. And by the best I mean the uppermost best. Only freshly roasted, perfectly ground and precision made coffee can be served up super strong and still taste slightly sweet and nutty. And for under $10 NZ you can take home a bag of freshly roasted beans -which is great value considering it is also fair trade and organic.

espresso-shipThe Espresso Ship is certainly the best coffee in Golden Bay and up there with the best in the country. It is also a great attraction for the kids – where you’ll often be able  to  buy ice cream on sunny days. It is only open during the summer months – so be on the lookout for it if you find yourself in the area for a summer vacation. It is just past the limestone arches as you drive past Pohara on the way to Tata Bay. You won’t be disappointed with this unique experience.


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