new zealand coffee review (archive)

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Robert Harris Northlands (Christchurch)

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Sour cream and coffee cake - from Ro ...

A cappucino and a moccacino from Rob ...

WHERE: 55 Main North Road, Christchurch (STREET MAP)

PHONE: (03) 352-7168 (SEE WHITE PAGES)

Added by Coffee Monster on Sun, 29 May 2005.

Reviews from 2011:

Review of Robert Harris Northlands by Babs on Sat, 17 Sep 2011:

Milky bland coffee and mediocre food, shame as staff were polite and service prompt, on a busy Saturday morning.


Reviews from 2010:

Review of Robert Harris Northlands by Lou on Fri, 06 Aug 2010:

Was in here last weekend for breakfast, worst meal and most bland coffee ever.
I will not go back


Reviews from 2009:

Review of Robert Harris Northlands by Coffee Monster on Tue, 14 Apr 2009:

Dropped in to do some work on my laptop. Skipped the coffee, and had a slice of tropical cheesecake, which wasn't bad, although not as nice as other cheesecake I've had recently (at the Bohemian and the cafe in Borders Riccarton).


Reviews from 2008:

Review of Robert Harris Northlands by java on Fri, 24 Oct 2008:

Amazing what a change of ownership and espresso machine will do! I have had many a good coffee here but it seems they cannot hold onto good staff, baristas included! It is a bit of hit and miss as to who is on the pump as to how good your cupa will be. Food as usual for RH is boring and the selection is 70s predictable. As for the decor which has changed and out of the Franchise owners hands is best described as playtime in the asylum.


Reviews from 2007:

Review of Robert Harris Northlands by midgetpidgeon on Sun, 30 Dec 2007:

Coffee was terrible. Atmosphere was also bad. Almost seems like one of those places people just go too look posh and sophisticated.


Review of Robert Harris Northlands by coffeepolice on Thu, 15 Mar 2007, updated Thu, 15 Mar 2007:

Regarding Jeremy's comment about RH Northlands. To add balance to his comments, the beans that Robert Harris supply are never burnt. I contacted an old mate, Scott Pepler who is the master roaster there to advise him of this comment. The Probat roaster they have is the most sophisticated in the country and simply will not burn the beans.

The taste may have been too strong for Jeremy and/or if the beans are old they can also taste bad. Scott would like to get a sample of any bad coffee to test. He says that RH have won the most coffee awards at the National coffee awards over the last 3 years with their RH, Bruno Rossi and Orb brands and take huge pride in their quality. See

Scott says that RH Cafes have also provided NZ's top female barista at NZ Barista awards for the last 2 years in a row. They are very focussed on great coffee. However like any cafe, individual baristas can serve bad coffee. I have had great coffee at many RH cafes, and also the odd bad one. Overall I would say their standard has lifted markedly over the last few years.


Reviews from 2006:

Review of Robert Harris Northlands by sheppydotcom on Wed, 20 Sep 2006, updated Wed, 20 Sep 2006:

If we're talking about the Robert Harris in the photos, and not the one out in the middle of the mall,I've had many very good coffees here! I like being offered the choice of three different size cups. If I feel like a more traditional small coffee, I'll have one. Unfortunately Kiwis, if not most people, feel short-changed if they don't get a decent size product for their hard earned money.

I think the medium size cups are great, but like the large, they need to be drunk before they cool off. This isn't hard to do after an hour grocery shopping. Robert Harris staff are always friendly and provide extra hot water for topping up if necessary, which is good for those who like their coffee weaker. Not the "true" coffee drinker's norm perhaps, but practical.

The food is usually very good, if not a tad expensive, but what food place isn't these days?

My only gripe here would be noise when it's busy. I don't understand why owners insist on music playing over the top of people talking. Most customers here meet for a catch-up and a talk.It's hard work when you have to compete with speakers as well.


Reviews from 2005:

Review of Robert Harris Northlands by Coffee Monster on Sun, 29 May 2005, updated Tue, 06 Sep 2005:

Robert Harris Café looks very nice - it's well presented and fits into the mall well. It's popular (and busy!) and the staff are friendly and helpful.

It has some standard cafe-style tables, and some soft chairs.

We tried the coffee & sour cream cake, and had a cappuccino and a moccaccino.

The cake arrived straight away, but the coffee was VERY slow - we had long since finished the cake by the time it appeared.

The cake was good, although the coffee-flavoured icing had quite a strong bitter taste.

The chocolate swirls on top of the coffees looked good. The froth on top of the cappuccino had a bitter taste, and it was too hot for my liking. The coffee itself wasn't particularly drinkable - I found myself not wanting to finish it. Not sure if this was because of its extreme size (Robert Harris's "medium" sized coffees are BIG - if you want normal sized coffee, order "small"!) or because of the coffee itself.

Overall: I'd go there if I was in the mall and couldn't be bothered going elsewhere, but it's not worth making a special trip to get there. Next time I'll probably have orange juice rather than coffee, but the cake is good.