I’ll be the first to admit that I was spoiled in Portland. There were not one but three coffee spots offering quality espresso within a block of my apartment. If the weather was nice I’d head to Kind Coffee and hang on the picnic benches with the pup. On colder days I’d swing by Foxy for a macchiato and chat with the awesome owners (RIP Foxy).
Just after arriving in Christchurch I was visiting a lot of cafes for informational interviews, unexpectedly embarking on a mini coffee tour of the city. I’m happy to report that New Zealanders know their way around an espresso machine (just don’t order an iced coffee unless you actually wanted a milkshake).
Here are my (current) top five Christchurch cafes:
279 High St, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011
If people watching is your thing, Arborista is the spot for you. Located in a newly opened shopping center on High Street, this coffee shop is a three-minute walk from the Cathedral. It’s perfect for taking a break from your shopping or sightseeing and offers free unlimited WiFi if you’re in desperate need of Google Maps. Their coffee is solid, using C4’s Krank blend to craft delicious caffeinated concoctions with full body and smooth finish.
4. The Villas
290 Montreal St, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8013
If you find yourself checking out the local art scene (CoCa and Christchurch Gallery are just down the street) The Villas is a great place to stop for an espresso. It’s also one of my top recommendations for enjoying your beverage al fresco on their large, sheltered patio. This cozy cafe & bistro sits in sharp contrast to the tall, modern buildings that surround it in a way that seems to enhance its charm. I didn’t get food this time but hear they do an excellent brunch.
3. Unknown Chapter Coffee Roasters
254 St Asaph St, Christchurch Central, Christchurch 8011
If Instagram and Pinterest had a baby, it would look like Unknown Chapter. Natural light streams through windows on two sides of the shop, and greenery abounds. It’s easy to understand why half the patrons were taking pictures of their latte art when I visited. Luckily, quality is not sacrificed for aesthetic and the espresso here is pretty darn good. Come hungry, everything in the cabinets and on the menu looked delicious.
2. C4 Espresso
C4 is coffee nerd heaven – the place to go for all of your home brewing needs. They sell everything from cold brew toddies to spare Aeropress parts. One of the largest roasters in town, C4 roasts their beans in-house making this a great place to see the artists at work. Come for the cool vibe and stay for the perfectly pulled espresso shots.
1. Allpress Espresso
110 Montreal St, Sydenham, Christchurch, 8023
Located in a more industrial part of town, discovering Allpress was a happy accident. After a full morning of Holiday shopping, Pete and I were starving. The salesperson mentioned a good cafe around the corner called “Allpress.” Besides having perfectly dialed in espresso, the chicken sandwich was possibly the best sandwich I’ve ever had. The decor is light and modern. Allpress started in Auckland as New Zealand’s first coffee cart and has grown to include roasteries in Auckland and Dunedin and cafes around the world. It’s a place where you can tell every drink is crafted with care.
Just like Portland, the coffee to people ratio is bordering on excessive or excellent, depending on your style. I plan to keep exploring and maybe add a Part Two down the road. My next spots to check out include:
- Addington Coffee Co
- Luciano Espresso Bar
- Everyday Dose
Let me know if you have any other recommendations and, as always, thanks for reading AWP!