Their faces are familiar to most on Te Atatu Peninsula as the lifeline to great coffee and service at Fuze. This week I got to sit down and catch up with Leighton and Anita
When did Fuze open … how long have you worked here?
‘It opened in June 2007 – I’ve (Leighton) been here for 5 years, and Anita for 3 years.’
Fuze seems to have a very loyal customer base – what do you attribute this to?
‘Friendly service, consistency of food and being local, it’s like a little family community, we have mums who would come in when they were pregnant and now we see their kids going to school. We have formed a lot of relationships with our customers – not only through customer service, it’s knowing them as friends and family. There are a lot of Mike’s and David’s and trim latte double shots! (you know who you are). We start off by learning coffee orders and then we get to know names. To be honest some of our customers come in and order their ‘usual’ but have actually forgotten what that is, they just know it as their usual.’
Leighton – what’s the secret to making a good cup of coffee?
‘It’s a secret.’ … seriously, that’s all he said with a smile on his face.’
Anita – do you ever get to drive the espresso machine?
‘Yeah, I do, on Leighton’s days off. I really enjoy using it although it hasn’t helped with my tennis elbow!’
Do you live on the Peninsula?
Anita: ‘I live in the Waitaks in Oratia – I love it, it’s so peaceful and it’s like you can really escape from city living. I generally miss the traffic in the mornings too which is a bonus in Auckland. I think I’ve had my years of living in suburbia and near the city and I can’t see myself moving any time soon.’
Leighton: ‘I have been living on the Peninsula on and off for the past 15 years, currently living here.’
What time do you have to start work everyone morning
Anita: ‘6 or 7, which usually means 7!’
Most people unwind by going out to a cafe, I guess that’s the last place you would want to be after working all day. How do you relax when you’re not at work?
Leighton: ‘When you’re passionate about something that passion stays with you whether you are working or not and I’m passionate about the cafe culture, so yeah, I do check out other cafes on my days off! I call it research but really I’m just being nosey. I haven’t played formally for years but I do enjoy DJing – I used to play in the city back in the day. I started with vinyl and I’ve stayed with vinyl, I love technology but I like keeping it old school.’
Anita: ‘I know it might sound strange but the Fuze team actually hang out a lot when we aren’t working, we have BBQs and the odd Sunday sessions. I really like going down to Et Tu as well to catch up with Murray and Therese.’
How do you handle being inside on a really amazing sunny day … like the weather we’ve been having for the past week?
Leighton: ‘Not too well. I get a little taste of it with the outdoor flow.’
Anita: ‘Actually I get so busy I don’t really realize because of the amount of work on. I do notice that our customers seem a lot happier with good weather.’
What do you love about living on the Peninsula and in the Waitaks?
Anita: (Waitakeres) ‘Really relaxing – I’m from up north originally, so the Waitaks is kind of like home, I’m definitely closer to nature. I do love Auckland – living in the Waitaks is like you’re in Auckland but you’re not, you can’t hear traffic all the time.’
Leighton: ‘The changes that are going on here are awesome with the new library and community centre, the Kite Day and sculpture trail and other events that weren’t here 15 years ago. It’s a really family oriented community. Te Atatu Peninsula has built it’s own little culture.’
What is something that most people wouldn’t know about you?
Leighton: ‘We actually went to the same high school together – Bay Of Islands College. Anita was really good friends with my sister! Small world.’
What would you recommend someone having for breakfast from Fuze:
Leighton: ‘Spanish Omelette – it’s a seasonal special and it’s fantastic, and that’s from a guy that doesn’t really eat eggs! I would definitely have it with a Wildberry Smoothie.’
Anita: ‘The vegetarian Benedict, with added bacon for someone who’s really hungry. I would have it with a cold juice and end with a coffee.’
And lastly, the question everyone wants to know – how do you have your coffee?
Anita: ‘Double shot flat white (small and strong!)’
Leighton: ‘Macchiato or espresso’