The dive-coconut & coffee craze

Dive coffee shop manager Maria King in front of the coffee shop at Matei, Taveuni. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

Coffee is something you would instantly associate with urban streets, high-end clientele and a bustling socialite culture.

That is why, seeing The Dive coffee shop on Taveuni’s Matei coastline, seems like an out-of-place seaside establishment.

What greets someone on a first visit is a billboard that dangles from a tree instead of being nailed to a pair of posts.

That alone almost screams out the fact that this is not your ordinary city coffee shop.

There are no bustling urban sounds but the splashing waves on the beach, chorusing birds, rustling leaves and howling winds in the harbour.

There are no polished tiles but a polished-to-a-tee decking that extends straight onto the beachfront.

From Naqara, Taveuni’s economic heartbeat, a $20 taxi ride will take you to The Dive’s doorstep.

You can also choose to take a laid-back bus ride there. The Dive is about sampling an unforgettable experience.

With each sip of its coffee products, one tastes a slice of the natural beauty and pristine environment.

“Since it opened, our visitors always talk about the abundance of nature and the incredibly beautiful surroundings we have here,” said manager Dona Maria King.

“It’s one thing to enjoy a lovely coffee. It’s another matter to do so in a breathtaking atmosphere.”

For over three months now, the shop has been frequented by tourists and locals looking for a place to catch up, meet or simply relax.

From it’s decked out area, whether one chooses to unwind on the white sofa or perch on high hardwood stools, the inimitable sights and sounds of the Garden Island will unfold immaculately before the eye.

There are always kayaks dotting the turquoise shallows, bodies sunbathing in the sun, yachts rocking to the motion of the waves and children playing in the sand.

The coffee shop’s interior boasts a simple setup but with a subtle touch of chicness –white walls, soft ceiling lights that give the interior an exotic ambience, huge black and white wall hangings and elegant furniture.

Then there’s the selection of hot and cold beverages chalked in white on the blackboard. Coca Chino boasts having a crisp, bright flavour with a hint of toasted nuts. It is a must taste coffee concoction.

“If you want something truly local and captures the essence of Taveuni then coca chino is a unique blend of aromatic coffee beans and freshly squeezed out coconut milk,” said barista Lasaro Racule.

“Or should you want something healthy, my pick would be Tumeric Latte, which has hints of haldi, cinnamon and ginger.”

Before joining The Dive, Lasaro, who worked previously at The Hilton’s Koro Restaurant in Nadi, said what set the coffee shop apart was the total experience it provided.

“The shop also serves tropical fruit smoothies making use of local fruits like pawpaw, banana and soursop. If you are the adventurer, then our selection of canned beers might be of interest,” Lasaro said.

Next door to the coffee outlet is a dive shop which hires out dive gear.

This is a must stop for any ardent diver keen to explore Taveuni’s unique underwater world, including the fabled Somosomo Strait.

The Dive is part of Tides Reach, a boutique on-the-beach resort owned by Malibu real estate businessman, Eytan Levin, who after extensive travels in Fiji fell in love with Taveuni.

Situated along the Matei stretch, The Dive can be reached by both taxi and bus.

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