Machina Espresso 67 London St, Hamilton 07 838 9212
I always eye out the brioche when I visit Machina. Spherical and lightly-sugared, they look particularly fantastic. I have yet to actually have one, but this is due to being busy eating all sorts of other things.
Machina is done up in a very chic décor of dark leather booths and large wooden tables. The service is prompt and efficient. The extensive list of coffee varieties signals they know their stuff when it comes to the old devil's brew.
The cafe is close to several large office buildings, so does get a few workers on their lunch hours, but is rarely too busy to offer you a comfy seat and a great cafe experience.
The Deli On The Corner 48 Victoria St, Cambridge 07 827 5370
The Deli has fast become something of an institution in Cambridge, twenty minutes from Hamilton. First timer visiters and regulars alike are welcomed like old friends, and offered a seat on couches, or seats covered in faux cow skin.
Order a bowl of salad and get to pick and choose from a counter brimming with different options. The homemade slices are wickedly good, as are their selection of pastries. But its the coffee which is good, seriously good. The trained baristas are craftsmen of the art of a brillant flatwhite/latte/risrtretto/diablo-you name it, they'll do it wonderfully.
Jacks Coffee Lounge 1/31 Cambridge Rd , Hillcrest, Hamilton 07 859 2150
Jacks is just one of those cafes that leaves you loving how well Kiwis do cafe culture. Located just up the road from the centre of Hamilton East, the cafe has an intimate feel without being crowded. The warm reds used to decorate the cafe created an inviting atmosphere and you sense that Jacks is a secret the locals who frequent would like kept!
With a counter stock with homemade cakes (hummingbird cake, brownie, apple and walnut cake) this is a good stop for morning tea. If you're after lunch, the extensive blackboard menu is sure to satisfy, with choices including a superb eggs benedict (the acid taste of a good brunch cafe!).
The BoatShed Cafe 21 Amber Lane RD2, Karapiro 07 827 8286
Are you travelling down from Auckland and needing somewhere to stop for a recharge? Carry on past Hamilton and stop at The Boat Shed, in Karapiro. Down a little farm drive, this large cafe also offers kayak hire in the summer months.
The cafe boasts a great view of Lake Karapiro, especially if it is warm enough to sit outside in their garden area. It has a personal feel, with much of the food baked on site daily. Each cup of coffee is served with a little slice of brownie. They do small 'not quite lunch' items like cheese scones with smoked salmon, or pizza pinwheels. If you're staying for lunch, enjoy a hearty soup or warm salad.
Lily Pad Cafe 1242 Kaipaki Rd, RD3 07 823 9134
The Lilypad is something a bit special. The cafe is in Kaipaki, so can be accessed from Hamilton, Cambridge or Te Awamatu directions. Because the cafe is a bit 'in the country', going there always seems like an event, rather just a need to satisfy hunger/caffeine desires.
The roaring fire offers toasty warm in the colder months. The grounds include an extensive herb garden and also on site is a good quality crafts and gifts store. For the sweet toothed, try a mini carrot cake or a slab of caramel shortcake. The lunch fare is very good, and I can particularly recommend the nicoise salad-divine!