Streetwise coffee carts have become ubiquitous. From the early days of a converted horsefloat in Ōtaki, there are now 18 carts all round the North Island, with more to come.Tara Harris is an Ōtaki girl, who has been with Streetwise from the early days. On leaving school Tara managed the Ferndale equine centre for five years, before she learned her barista skills in the Lindale cafe.
Tara opens up the cart at 6 in the morning: “there are always people waiting for me to open” she says. Help arrives at seven, which is often Gordon Gray, who owns both Streetwise carts in Ōtaki. “He’s a good boss and we get on well”. I wondered how two people survived in such a cramped environment. “You get used to working in close quarters” she laughs.
Finishing at two in the afternoon, Tara gets to ride her mare Bailey most days, down Riverbank road.
Streetwise, from its Ōtaki origins is a big business. The franchise is growing, and at last count delivered 1.4 million coffees annually. That’s over 2,000 coffees per cart, 365 days a year. Loyal Ōtaki followers know that they can grab a Streetwise coffee at Shannon or Sanson on their way North.
The Streetwise-designed insulated corrugated cups are great, and the coffee is fantastic. Coffee is blended by Havana to Streetwise’s recipe and air roasted, to avoid the burned taste that lesser coffees can impart. Just another Ōtaki success story!