Meet The Barista: Sunny Lee from Honey Cafe


Honey is Takapuna's charming local cafe that serves up good food, good coffee and good vibes.

Sunny Lee was born and raised in Korea and dreamt of becoming a chef until she went to University. She was delighted to finally be working as a chef in Australia though it quickly became stressful and she started to consider taking a break to try something different.

When she was working in the kitchen she drank iced coffee on her breaks. Often with a scoop of ice cream and a little bit of chocolate powder. The cool, sweet and creamy coffee made her feel so much better after the stressful kitchen rushes.

Lee said, “Now that I think about it, maybe these coffees during my breaks made me become a Barista. Just one cup of coffee can make you so happy!”

From then on she was hooked.

Lee loves making coffee and told us about the captivating effects the drink had on her. “I love the smell of coffee, it's so pretty from the moment the espresso shot starts to fall," she added. “From the time I make it to the time I drink it, I can't take my eyes off it, I enjoy it all and I think the process itself is attractive.”

At the moment her favourite blend is Veloce from Atomic and fortunately, it's the one they're using at Honey currently. Lee remarked on Veloce’s creamy chocolate and spice notes and said when it's combined with warm milk it blends seamlessly - comparable to the taste of a mocha! Her go-to coffee order is a flat white. She loves how the milk and coffee combination speaks for itself as well as the hot temperature.

Since the start of the pandemic, many cafes and restaurants have seen a shift in customers opting for takeaway alternatives, including Honey. She finds it disheartening that Honey customers can’t enjoy the full cafe experience and told us how her favourite feeling is standing behind the coffee machine and being able to catch a glimpse of all of the tables. “You can see the facial expressions when the customers receive their coffee and take their first sip. When they see the beautifully drawn latte art and smile or take their first sip and smile, I feel the most fulfilled.”

Another trend Lee noticed was the rise in requests for plant-based milk alternatives. With its lower carbon footprint than dairy, cafes have seen a growth in popularity and an increase in demand over the past few years. At Honey, they initially offered three types of dairy-free milk: almond, coconut and soy milk. However, in the past two years so many customers began requesting oat milk and since then it has been one of their most popular.

Sunny’s top tip for a great coffee is trying to make the crema as alive as possible. It creates a special rich flavour from your very first sip!

“Everyone has different tastes and you cannot always satisfy, but I make coffee with love and passion. I believe if you’re doing your job with pride and care, that is the first step to a great coffee!”

On her days off, she frequents other unexplored cafes and adores the atmosphere of other cafes and their drink menus.

“Big thanks to the team at Honey as well as all our customers who support and appreciate not only the coffee but everything we do here! Covid has been tough for everybody, but together we will and are getting through it. Also lots of love for my family and Partner Jeff for always supporting me.”