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Combining Coffee & Design

Backgrounds in hospitality, coffee, design and a love for the area are the inspiration behind a stylish new design store and coffee roastery in Arrowtown’s dress circle.

Owners Alex Tong and Devan Tyler have combined their entrepreneurial skills and knowledge to establish the contemporary  Wolf Coffee Roasters and Cleo Store at 44 Buckingham Street.

“We have chosen Arrowtown as our base and have loved slowly evolving and establishing the design and coffee space together,” says Devan.

Alex attended Queenstown Resort College in 2009 and after graduating was determined to find a career path to stay in the region and set himself a five-year goal of opening a coffee roastery locally.

“Alex returned to Auckland to learn the trade, establishing Wolf Coffee in 2015 from a container café on Auckland’s Princes Wharf,” says Devan. “I came along a couple of months after and quickly became ‘girlfriend turned operations manager’. It was a lot of fun and hard work and just over five years later Wolf Coffee relocated to Arrowtown.”

Their first venture was a collaboration with Goldies Café which continues to operate while their newly opened café and design store is the next step.

“It’s a sunny, light space with a great outdoor option that Cleo Store has fitted out with Arnold Circus stools and teak benches. We encourage customers to take a moment out and relax and enjoy their coffee. Our coffee roaster which is a refurbished 1950s Probat is on show and the coffee is so fresh you can smell the aromas from the end of the street.”

 Cleo Store which is Devan’s brainchild is a design concept she has been working on since 2020.

“I have dreamt of this for a while and when the option came up to combine the businesses I jumped at it. My middle name is Cleopatra hence the store’s name.”

“Cleo is about bringing a fresh approach to designer ware and every brand which is stocked has a purpose and a story. It’s designed to spark inspiration for the home, for skincare or for gifts that bring joy.”

Cleo displays New Zealand and Australian made products with a mix of international brands.

“Leif is a stunning body care range using native Australian ingredients. Cheese Before Bedtime hand embroiders incredible one-off pieces and we stock Great Barrier cooking salts from TASTEOLOGY along with  New Zealand made Sans [Ceuticals] skincare. We also sell Arnold Circus stools and a range of Japanese made products.”

Devan is confident Cleo’s selected brands meet her target market with new designer pieces  arriving instore regularly.

“I’ve had travellers buy New Zealand made ceramics to take home, locals have popped in for birthday gifts and skincare top ups, it’s been a great response. There is a gap in the market  for affordable quality homeware brands with purpose and I hope Cleo Store addresses that. We also have an online store at offering nationwide shipping.”

Espresso Buzz

Arrowtown’s new Wolf Coffee Roasters is a café with a difference.

“Wolf Coffee is about creating partnerships between the community, the coffee farmers, our customers and staff,” says co-owner Devan Tyler. “We bring a new approach to coffee wholesale with a strong focus on sustainability finding innovative ways to keep our companies footprint as small as possible.”

They sell a range of single origin and blends that reflect different regions and roasting techniques with fresh coffee blends to suit a variety of tastes. 

“It’s been an amazing three-year journey that didn’t quite go to plan when we first arrived,” says Devan. “Our seasonal blend had just been perfected for our Auckland customers and was floral and fruity unlike the darker roasts you find down here. We made a few for some local tradies and they didn’t like it with someone even saying ‘you won’t get far serving this.’”

“We went back to the drawing board playing around with different beans and roasting techniques tailoring a blend to accommodate the local palate while still being authentic to us. It’s a bold and complex blend with notes of milk chocolate, blueberries and lemon with beans from Colombia and Brazil.”

The Wolf Coffee Roasters online store offers a range of single origins and blends along with a subscription service and free local delivery.

“The coffee community has been incredibly welcoming, everyone is so supportive and helpful,” says Devan, “and we’ve made some lifelong friends.”