A new cafe
in the heart
Masterton’s newest café and coffee roastery brings a splash of Central American colour to the Wairarapa. Don Luciano Café opens in December, in the beautifully refurbished, deco-style Chilton Buildings. Owner Marvin Guerrero will be serving Kiwi café food alongside the best of Central American street food and his very own blend of coffee. Regular Wairarapa café-goers will know Marvin from his stints as maître d’ at Salute in Greytown and Café Medici in Martinborough. With this new venture, Marvin draws on his Honduran heritage to introduce locals to the flavours and verve of his native Central America.
The first thing people usually ask is why Marvin has called his new café ‘Don Luciano’. “It’s the name of my grandfather, who was a coffee farmer in Honduras. He introduced me to coffee.” Coffee, says Marvin, and the rituals around making it, “gave my grandfather so much pleasure. He had a real passion for it.” Don Luciano was born in 1896 and he grew coffee in La Esperanza, in the Intibucá region of Honduras, at one of the highest altitudes in Central America – “where the best coffee comes from”.
The menus main emphasis will be on “honest, fresh food”, with plenty of vegetarian options. If you’re hungry, you’ll be able to choose between a Kiwi breakfast or lunch, or a Latino one – Huevos Rancheros (fried eggs on hot corn tortillas with salsa). Or you can try Arepas (stuffed cornbread), Pupusas (stuffed tortillas), or Baleadas (Honduran flour tortillas stuffed with refried beans, cheese and the Honduran-style sour cream known as Mantequilla). If there’s any room left after that, you may just have to succumb to the Churros (fried doughnuts, served with a chocolate dipping sauce).
Don Luciano will be the home of 'Gracias' Coffee, roasted on site. It will combine the chocolatey flavour of Honduran coffee with the fruity tang of Guatemalan beans and the acid bite of Colombian coffee. Your shot will come from a handcrafted Italian coffee machine that looks like it came straight out of a 1950s diner.
So if the thought of a Central American coffee experience sounds intriguing, look out for Don Luciano and the sign of the scarlet macaw among the coffee beans, Honduras’ national bird and the emblem of Gracias coffee.
Gracias coffee can also be bought onsite or online. Available in 180gm, 250gm and 500gm bags, as either whole bean or ground.