new zealand coffee review (archive)

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C1 Espresso (Christchurch)

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C-1 logo.

C-1 (good!)

C1 street frontage.

C1 outdoor dining space.

WHERE: 152 High St, Christchurch (STREET MAP)

WEBSITE: C1 Espresso.

PHONE: (03) 379-1917 (SEE WHITE PAGES)


FAIR TRADE: No fair trade coffee available

Added by Coffee Monster .

Reviews from 2010:

Review of C1 Espresso by maxie one on Tue, 23 Nov 2010:



Review of C1 Espresso by JoBlog on Tue, 14 Sep 2010:

Have been coming to C1 on and off for several years. The facials on the staff have certanly changed. Getting a smile out of them was like squeezing water out of a rock. Cmon guys! Sort it out...


Review of C1 Espresso by ITWIZ on Sat, 15 May 2010:

Great coffee but felt like I was not cool enough to be there


Review of C1 Espresso by Yeti on Mon, 15 Mar 2010, updated Mon, 15 Mar 2010:

I have been going to C1 since they opened years ago and use to buy all my coffee beans there too. However I recently had such appalling service I'm never going back. I was served less than luke warm coffee. When I asked for a hot one please I was told that "this is how we make it" - ie we make cold coffee drink up and shut. On the odd occassion I have had cold coffee elsewhere it has always been replaced without any problem and certainly without the attitude of "hey we're C1 and our coffee is perfect every time". Even McDonalds dont' make that claim!! I see from the comments below I'm not the only one to have this experience. And as you say there are loads of good cafes with far nicer staff - the service has always been a bit awful.


Reviews from 2009:

Review of C1 Espresso by Coffee Monster on Fri, 03 Apr 2009:

In C1 now (yay vodafone mobile broadband!), drinking a cappucino and eating a caramel slice. Both are excellent, and arrived quickly, even though C1's nearly full.

The side of cream with the caramel slice cost an extra $0.50, but is deliciously solid whipped cream, not the usual spray stuff you see in cafes, and they gave me enough to garnish a whole cake.

In summary - great.


Review of C1 Espresso by windynut on Wed, 11 Mar 2009:

I have been buying flat whites and maccs at C1 for years but was heartbroken last October (08) when visiting to get a really milky offering. I tried again the next day and was likewise disappointed. Have they changed ownership ?


Review of C1 Espresso by Miss H on Wed, 04 Mar 2009:

I went to the C1 cafe for lunch today, and am suffering from food poisoning after eating a potato and greek salad. I am highly disappointed, and had to take the rest of my afternoon as unpaid leave from my job.

I hope that staff at C1 ensure that they take care when handing food - I certainly will not be returning to the cafe, and I imagine any other people affected today will share my sentiment.

Looks like a few bad reviews for this one...


Reviews from 2008:

Review of C1 Espresso by rizzo on Sat, 20 Dec 2008:

Best coffee in town. Great music, friendly staff, relaxed vibe and great fit out - love the stencils. Food is delicious and cheap as chips.....just wish they had a free range option for bacon and eggs.


Review of C1 Espresso by simon on Fri, 21 Nov 2008:

C1 is an o.k. cafe. As people below have said, the attitude surrounding the place will only suit some.

Their coffee is o.k. The krank espresso is not suited to short blacks. It's bland and has no acidity or punch what-so-ever, but it does make good milk based drinks. I frequently go past just to get a (uber small double) flat white before class.


Review of C1 Espresso by java on Fri, 24 Oct 2008:

Great beans, room to park my scooter, service aloof, coffee could be better/ no sorry could be consistent....great beans


Review of C1 Espresso by B_C on Wed, 13 Aug 2008:

C1 Rocks, it plays sweet tunes, they make fantastic coffee and has a unique style all of its own.

I'm sure people going on about them not using fair trade beans own many cheep t-shirts made in China and in poor working conditions so, get a grip of yourselves.


Review of C1 Espresso by mastaroaster on Sun, 18 May 2008:

Its got nothing to do about fair trade or what eva. I have always found the coffee good and yes the service is alittle slack but isnt every cafe in the city guilty of that. You should try Melbourne Australia.


Review of C1 Espresso by 25-30seconds on Thu, 20 Mar 2008, updated Thu, 20 Mar 2008:

Directed to . . . guerillajustice.

"Fair Trade" is a brand/association/label to create awareness and that helps small farming cooperatives get a fair deal on the green beans they sell to the roasters.

Green beans can be brought alternativly at prices that are on par with or better than "fair trade" labeled coffee.

Some botique NZ Coffee Roasters choose to pay their farmers good prices for their cropp as they want to build and grow a relationship with the farmer to encourage him to grow a quality product and to ensure future supply from that farmer.

The term would be "uncertified fair trade".

Just because its not labeled "fair trade" doesnt nessasarly mean that the farmer has been ripped off.

Leave C1 alone! You have been going the wrong way about this boycot if you want an answer go to the roasters as they will know.

If you must start any boycott over coffee my choice would be Starbucks!
Support local business - roasters and cafes!

I will continue to support C1 and choose to not follow your movment!


Review of C1 Espresso by gert on Wed, 30 Jan 2008:

Service was rude! When I asked for a trim they looked at me like I was a waste of space. So just for the record if you drink trim they dont do it so go elsewhere. I wont go back. There are plenty of other great cafes in Christchurch with staff who smile and who dont think they are too good to serve you a great coffee.


Reviews from 2007:

Review of C1 Espresso by duffling on Thu, 26 Apr 2007:

Well its one of those places if you know the people working there your cool , otherwise you might get a cold stare or some attitude

The coffee once again is sometimes great , and other times too weak..

It is a cool place to sit and watch people , and is a busy place , it has great hours almost always open longer than other places.

It supports music both local and NZ wide which is cool

I have also seen some rude remarks from the owner.. perhaps he just needs to meditate?


Review of C1 Espresso by ladaspeed on Sun, 14 Jan 2007:

A bit too cool for skool when you are old, fat and married, but that is where I buy my beans so I usually get a takeaway. Fairly consistent coffee but a few clangers over the years.


Reviews from 2006:

Review of C1 Espresso by guerillajustice on Thu, 17 Aug 2006:

guerillajustice are currently holding a protest against C1 until the coffee they serve instore is fair trade.

They do offer fair trade coffee to take home with you, which is great, but you can't buy a cup of fair trade coffee instore.

"It would take f**king ages if everyone could choose which kind of coffee they wanted" according to a telephone discussion, so the only option is to trade their standard Krank blend for a fair trade blend.

Here at guerillajustice we love the atmosphere of C1 and we want to be able to go there with a clear conscience. Once C1 has made the move to fair trade, we will resume our custom there, and start protesting against another unfair trade cafe.

One of our demonstrators has been banned from C1 for "harrassing the staff". In actual fact all he did was visit C1 5 times over the span of a week and ask the question "Is your coffee fair trade?"

This is the same question we want you to be asking C1, and other cafes. Let them know you're not happy that the coffee they sell, and you buy, is opppressing Third World workers.

The market coffee price is at a 30-year low. But many different brands of fair trade coffee are now avaiable. There is no excuse in this day and age to sell unfair trade coffee.

For more information, visit

- Y, guerillajustice co-founder


Review of C1 Espresso by kopi on Mon, 17 Apr 2006:

I have been frequenting C1 since the early days when it was only half the size and in my opinion is one of the few cafes in chch that has remained true to the meaning of their establishment, 'coffee.' There have been positive changes over the last few years with added and more comfortable seating, cleanliness and lighting probably being the most obvious.
The coffee is very consistant, the food is affordable and the atmosphere relaxing.

I was surprised to read the review from the month of march and the experience they mentioned they had, as i have only encountered and witnessed friendly and helpfull service. I am confussed as a grande or petite coffee only seems to be available at starbucks and not from any establishments i have been to in chch.

I'm sure anyone who has frequented C1 in the weekends or lunchtimes will realise and see how busy it is, so if you have to wait it is probably due to the fact people are waiting for their coffee/food in front of you.There is however a Mcdonalds about 100m around the corner in tuam st. never tried their coffee but i'm sure the service is very quick!


Review of C1 Espresso by mush on Sat, 18 Mar 2006:

Having been here a few times I have always been disappointed with their service, but thought the coffee was ok. My partner and I recently witnessed the owner abusing a couple with their family for pointing out that the coffee that was brought to them was not what they ordered. Rather than being polite or trying to resolve the situation, the owner demanded the extra 50 cents and then for no visible reason became angrier to the point of abusing them.

Christchurch has some great coffee shops and cafes, this isn't one of them. Do yourself a favour and skip this place ... it's not worthy!


Review of C1 Espresso by theanzacs on Sat, 18 Mar 2006, updated Sat, 18 Mar 2006:

C1 Espresso trades on the basis of its "edginess" - trying to be one of the cool kids on the block. Unfortunately for its mostly alternative-lifestyler market, there is is little option in this hospitality genre. And so for now, C1 survives despite itself. What do we mean?

The service is a cross between terrorism and a bad joke.

If ever there was an establishment that thought it was too cool for its shirt this is it. If you would like to be greeted at the counter, maybe receive a smile, or like the concept of someone (anyone!!!), getting your order right - you're better off elsewhere.

If you can be bothered waiting until Christmas 2099, the coffee is passable (C4 is one of the better blends around) but the problem, and it's a big one - is the service. One patron was recently told to "F-off" in front of their children for pointing out that they had ordered a large coffee instead of the small they received. Confronted about his attitude, 'Mr Service' kept repeating, "I don't care". Turns out, that was the owner! I guess we know where the problem is . . .

Poor isn't the word. Christchurch has too many other great coffee destinations. Give these guys a miss.


Reviews from 2005:

Review of C1 Espresso by Beaker on Mon, 06 Jun 2005:

The coffee is excellent - sometimes it is a bit weak, particularly the Latte. Almost as if there is still some goodness left in the machine at the end of the shot... All of the milky coffees are really velvety - some put it down to the glass bottles the milk comes in. I've never had a bad coffee at C-1.

Service is incredibly slow. Budget 5 minutes for a takeaway when it's quiet, 20 minutes at lunchtime, or in the morning. Not slow because it's busy, just slow because it's a bit relaxed in the service department.

Food - some of the best in Christchurch. It has a "home made" feel to it - real flour in the pizza, muffins not full of oil. Lots of options as well, including nice vegan fare for those so inclined. Breakfast on the weekends is very good - especially for those trying to hide from their hangovers... The prices are really reasonable.

One of the best things about C1 is that even when it's busy, it's not noisy - the high ceilings, perhaps? A rare cafe that you can hold a conversation in when it's packed, without shouting. The music is a background, rather than a foreground attraction (some others could learn from that!) In summer, it's a cool, dark refuge from the bright sun, in winter, a warm place to escape from the cold.

Overall - I go to C-1 lots and lots. If the service was faster, I'd go there more for takeaways when I was passing.