C1 Espresso, Christchurch, New Zealand
There’s a lot going on at C1 Espresso in Christchurch. And all of it’s good.
Closed for almost two years after the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011, C1 reopened in a whole lot of glory in late 2012 across the road from its original site in the old post office building dating back to the 1930s.
I was in C1 the morning of the earthquake. After my daily swim in Centennial Pool, coffee at C1 on the way to school was part of my life. And I do remember that morning quite vividly. Would I have remembered it as well if there hadn’t been an earthquake, if everything hadn’t changed?
The new C1 has less of the grunge. The old C1 was eclectic. It started off small, pretty much standing room only, with maybe some seats on the pavement. Good coffee and great raspberry and chocolate muffins. It grew because it was good. And it grew back because it was very good.
High ceilinged, light, airy and with a myriad of quirkiness, the new C1 offers the same great coffee made with milk, produced especially for them from a herd of nomadic cows, no less and delivered daily in glass, excellent food, pneumatic sliders, Star Wars figures on the toilet door, a sliding bookshelf door to the toilets and beehives and a very small vineyard on the roof. Sound exhausting? It’s fantastic!
The latest incredibleness comes as a result of owner Sam Crofsky’s chats with the organic farmers he sources his coffee beans from. Golden Panther Tea Company was launched during the 2014 United Nation’s Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Apia, Samoa. After hearing farmers talk about their cocoa, chilli and lemongrass, C1 came up with a tea company that would celebrate these products and empower small family farms to realize their entrepreneurial potential.
The tea ingredients from Samoa include dried hibiscus flowers, lemongrass, chilli, mango, ginger, coffee cherry, coconut and pineapple. It will be sold in collectible matchboxes that offer two servings – one for drinking in the café and one for later.
Christchurch has a lot going for it right now. C1 is part of it.