You know you’re serious about coffee when you limit the food at your roastery so the aroma of freshly ground beans isn’t muddled by cooking smells.

Coffee rules at Rocket. Business partners Glen Crompton and Glen Woodcock started roasting coffee in Hamilton back in 1995 and their store, tucked down an alleyway off Barton Street, is a must-visit for aficionados heading to New Zealand’s largest inland city.

Glen Woodcock says his favourite coffees come from Ethiopia and Kenya. “It’s amazing what flavours can come out of the berry,” he says. Geisha is their most expensive coffee; it’s originally from Ethiopia but is grown in Panama, and at $40 for 125g it’s for folk that love their speciality coffee.

“We get coffees that are special, but when they’re old they’re not so special any more. Once roasted, our speciality coffees last about two weeks before the crema will dissipate a bit – it still tastes nice but there’s an optimum time to drink it.”

Rocket get their green beans from small, singlefarmer or farmer-owned cooperative lots in some of the world’s great growing regions and create a roast that is essentially the coffee

they like to drink. “I roast to produce coffee that’s sweet and clean and has some character – I don’t want to roast those flavours out of it,” Glen says.

Quality coffee that is ethically traded and traceable back to the source has been steadily growing in importance to consumers in New Zealand, and Glen says when it comes to the worldwide market there’s really no place to hide.

“We’ve had people come from overseas and they’ve ended up in a back alley in Hamilton drinking our coffee. When we ask them how they found us, we’ll have people say things like, ‘I went to a roaster in Portland and asked for recommendations when visiting New Zealand and he gave me your name.’”