WORLD TRIP 2010
Amongst the docks, rust and heavy plant of port town Lyttleton is one of the world’s loveliest coffee shops.
The Lyttelton Coffee Company is in a grand old building (a converted butchery). The ceiling sweeps high overhead and drinks are drunk amongst exposed pipes, pots and pencils. There’s even a roasting machine in amongst the tables, not to mention the owners’ office.
At first, harbour-side Lyttleton seemed an unlikely location for such a lovely coffee shop, but we soon discovered that this town has lots to offer (cafés, shops, markets, a bohemian atmosphere, etc). It’s also a stone’s-throw both from sizeable Christchurch and the stunning Banks Peninsula, where we spent a happy few days.
Despite a recommendation from a barista in Wellington, I had no expectations. So it was a lovely surprise to discover this place, especially after a night in the back of our hire car (a beautiful bright green and purple thing).
The coffee is perfect. The owners roast it on the premises and source it themselves. My latte was the best coffee I had in a land jam-packed with superb coffee, although I’m a sucker for surroundings, so I might be biased.
Whilst chatting to the staff, I discovered that barista/owner James Gurnsey was one of the three antipodean partners who set up Flat White in Soho, London (arguably the coffee shop that kicked off the fantastic coffee scene in Britain).
James left Flat White behind a while ago, and after a brief stint in Australia has settled in his home country of New Zealand. His latest adventure takes the best bit of Flat White (top notch coffee) and mixes it with a great setting, creating something bucket-loads more inspiring than the London original.
There are plenty of places to sit, including people-watching window seats, an outdoor balcony and pavement tables. The staff are kept busy with the constant stream of content customers, but remain friendly and attentive.
There are plenty of brekkie and lunch options, plus fantastic cakes and other sweet things. Muffins and brownies are particularly recommended (our meagre travel budget took quite a hit in this place).
I’m told by Cosy Coffee Shops’ resident tea / hot chocolate expert that the tea is good, but the hot chocolate disappointing (too milky). I can’t immediately think of any coffee shop which gets all these things spot on… pity.
Despite limited money and time we made a couple of diversions to the Lyttleton Coffee Co. If we lived in Lyttleton we’d be there every day.
In a country we fell in love with for its outdoors, this is one of our favourite indoor spots.
I might even go so far to say it’s my favourite coffee shop in the world… or have I gone too far?
Open Tuesday – Sunday, 7am – 4pm.
29 London Street
We visited on 3 May 2010.