It hasn’t taken us long to get back into New Zealand’s coffee culture. It was one of the things we missed most when living in Malaysia. This morning we went to Empire Cafe in Te Awamutu (https://www.facebook.com/empireespressobar/+). In addition to good coffee, which you could smell as you approached the door, there was cool music playing. When asked one of the young staff told us she puts together her own playlists and this was one of her favourite Saturday mixes. It was obviously aimed at clientele our age – rock favourites from the 60s and 70s – and one wall is covered in chalk drawings of album covers. Our delicious Hummingbird cake was accompanied by Raglan coconut yoghurt – yum! They are reluctant to serve take-away coffees in disposable cups and there are signs encouraging you to sit down for a coffee or use a keep cup. They also do not use straws. Empire Cafe runs a pay-it-forward lunch programme – you pay double for your order and they provide a lunch for a hungry school student. What a great place!