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Heading South: Emporio Coffee on the Mainland

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12 December 2017

We catch up with Janice Paterson, owner of Ambience, our Southern-most café.

A champion of Emporio Coffee on the mainland, Janice is also a joy for us to work with. Eric is always keen to visit Ambience, not least as Gore is also home of one of his favourite  V8 stores (not to mention the country music capital)!

Janice, how did you hook up with Emporio?

I used to go to tastings at The Good Oil in Dunedin and that’s where I came across Miriam’s  sister Louise (of Nichols Café in Cromwell and Café Society in Queenstown). I asked about their coffee as I really enjoyed the flavour.  The rest is history, I’ve never looked anywhere else.  Emporio has been awesome in its support and guidance, such a great company to work with.  Eric and Miriam — thank you! 

What did you do before opening your café?

When I left school, I worked in a tea rooms for three years and always felt I would love to own my own cafe.  Instead, I moved into my second love, medicine, and trained to be an anaesthetic technician. I spent five years doing that, then had my family before returning as a laboratory nurse. I’ve had Ambience for thirteen years now.

What do you like most about the café business?

The food and coffee, and creating new dishes. My greatest challenge is keeping up with new dietary trends!

What are your customers like?

They vary from business people to tourists, but the majority are locals of all ages. We’ve adopted them as our extended family, they love it when we have their coffee ready for them before  they even reach the counter.

Our regulars are the most important part of our business. Most popular orders seem to be flat whites, chicken, brie and cranberry quiche and gluten-free chocolate brownie.

What’s the key to a great coffee?

Passion, a barista who has a great passion for their job will turn out the best coffee. From the pour to the milk, you can only get the best.

Any advice for someone starting out in the business?

It’s really hard work but also rewarding. Take time to learn the business first before committing, as what you see from the outside is not so easy from the inside.