Ottawa, Ontario—Canada’s capital, caught between Montreal and Toronto on too many bands’ Canadian tour legs. At first blush, when considering of its coffee tradition, Ottawa would possibly conjure one thing of a clean slate—however that simply could be all of the snow.
In truth, Ottawa’s coffee scene has exploded as of late. Having simply hosted its inaugural Ottawa Coffee Fest within the four,900-square-foot, historic Horticulture Constructing at Lansdowne Park, Ottawa stands poised to counter an ill-deserved repute as a sleepy authorities city with a Starbucks at each nook.
Whether or not as a waypoint or a vacation spot in your subsequent journey up north, Ottawa has lately change into a particular cease for coffee drinkers, with a strong and full of life scene and a litany of well-differentiated takes on the native store.
Any exploration of Ottawa’s third wave scene begins right here—each actually and figuratively. Based in 2000 and having since grown to a large chain (that has so far resisted enlargement past metropolis limits), Bridgehead holds down the capital with a roastery location on the crossroads of Little Italy and Chinatown, in an architecturally spectacular warehouse.
A Probat roaster proudly hums alongside simply behind the seating space; beside it, a German stone mill grinds away for recent loaves of their in-house bread. The cupping lab and different open workplaces innocuously line the again of the institution.
On-demand Kalita pour-overs and housemade kombucha characteristic on the menu, whereas expansive murals spotlight Bridgehead’s truthful commerce relationships courting again to the start when the corporate was at one level run by Oxfam.
Most anybody accustomed to Ottawa’s coffee scene will readily acknowledge Bridgehead’s pioneering affect. Though Ottawa is now house to some dozen Bridgehead retailers, partnerships equivalent to with Ottawa’s LOAM Clay Studio for a hand-thrown ceramic mug illustrate an ongoing consideration to element.
The Ministry of Coffee and Social Affairs (Wellington)
Simply 10 or so years in the past, Hintonburg was maybe higher generally known as a slightly run-down metropolis centre. Today, the inventive, once-and-future animation alley has drawn out a small enterprise growth, with the requisite caffeine to gas all of it.
Steps away from The File Centre, you’ll discover the Ministry of Coffee house to an industrial-chic ambiance, with uncovered ceilings, naked drop-down lights, and an extra-large picket centre island matched by floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall blackboard menus. A rotation of giant pop artwork murals adorn the other aspect, with Bono and the Pink Sizzling Chili Peppers wanting over the day by day bustle.
Ministry’s multi-roaster rotation would possibly characteristic Toronto’s Reduce Coffee or Dundas, Ontario’s Detour one week, or Vancouver’s 49th Parallel the subsequent; roasters so far as Europe, Australia, and Japan have additionally been featured, giving extra motive for regulars to return and establishing MoC as a locus for coffee drinkers trying to occur upon one thing new.
An in depth whiskey and spirits menu (with tasting nights), native kombucha by Buchipop, and quite a lot of sandwiches utilizing slices by neighboring bakery Bread By Us spherical out the expertise.
Black Squirrel Books
Black Squirrel Books hews nearer to the coffeehouse as an mental hub than the typical institution. Serving coffee by native roasters Bluebarn and Cloudforest (the latter of which makes a speciality of coffees from Ecuador), Black Squirrel additionally lately launched a brand new cocktail menu and charcuterie board. Appearing as a hub for town’s small however vibrant experimental and new music scene, it’s commonplace to see mainstay native improvisors like Linsey Wellman filling the house with curious sounds, or to seek out the partitions reverberating with drone music properly into the evening.
Probably extra spectacular than the coffees and native microbrews up entrance is the guide assortment positioned in direction of the again. A large library sprawls proper right down to the basement, all however guaranteeing an opportunity encounter with a brand new dialog piece to pair along with your cappuccino.
Black Squirrel Books wears its literary identification on its sleeve: varied ornamental typewriters casually mingle amongst its regulars, a lot of whom are college students from close by Carleton College. Indigenous artwork takes a showplace alongside a sidewall. It’s a gathering place that foregrounds completely different views—a coffeehouse ingrained with the worth of the change of concepts.
This cozy store, nestled within the Glebe, will seemingly be the one place in Ottawa you’ll discover the foamy “Australian cappuccino,” the Magic (double shot flat white), and the Piccolo—in essence, a Lilliputian latte—entrance and centre on the menu.
Third Wave acolytes will really feel proper at house right here: A replica of Drift journal is casually left amongst cascading floating cabinets lined with merchandise by coffee hardware darlings Kinto and Fellow. In line with this, co-founder Jeremie Thompson takes delight within the store’s newly-acquired Floor Management Cyclops from Voga Coffee, additional proof of Little Victories’ positioning as a “coffee first” cafe.
Relatively than presumably overextending themselves, partnerships are a cornerstone of this small enterprise: their first store of the present two was and stays an in-store pop-up within the nook of the Cyclelogik bike store in Hintonburg—a smart pairing.
Equally, within the Glebe, the native and highly-lauded doughnut wizards at SuzyQ have arrange store inside Little Victories. Straight-from-the-oven circles of goodness fashioned from an outdated Finnish recipe temptingly line the counter show.
Lastly, out of left discipline—actually and figuratively—comes Quitters, on the far east finish of town. Based in 2014 by native musician Kathleen Edwards, who had on the time give up the music business (and, by the way, has lately signed a brand new file deal), right here you’ll discover Toronto’s Pilot Coffee Roasters on bar, and, by the way, Little Victories’ roasts as properly.
Irreverent, deadpan humor is an integral a part of the Quitters expertise, with the requisite jokes adorning the sandwich board. With a bustling native crowd that lasts properly into the night on Saturday’s common trivia evening (replete with wine), Quitters is a quintessential slice of yard Canadiana. It’s a (not so) sober reminder that irrespective of how subtle Ottawa’s coffee scene could but change into, the folks maintain the centre of all of it.
Curtis Perry is a journalist primarily based in Ottawa, Canada. That is Curtis Perry’s first characteristic for Sprudge.
High picture by way of Aqnus/Adobe Inventory.