Coffee in Winnipeg – Coffee Monday.

Coffee and hangout space was pretty important to JC and I in general, and especially during our travel time. It’s just really nice to find places outside of our tent, hotel, airbnb, or where ever we are to just spend some time together, use the WiFi, and drink some really fantastic coffee. When Fall rolls around, I tend to start trying new and interesting coffee spots in Toronto, so I’ve got coffee on the brain. In Winnipeg there aren’t a whole bunch of non-chain options that we saw, but there are some great ones. A friend, and fellow coffee fiend, Nicole, recommended a spot to us called Thom Bargen, so we went there after visiting Boon Burger on Sherbrooke (they are conveniently located across the street from one another.) Thom Bargen uses Matchstick Coffee Roasters, based out of Vancouver, BC, and for our espresso/latte they used the Matchstick Los Guaysbales, from Huehuetenango, Guatemala, a blend of Bourbon and Bourbon’s mutant cultivar Caturra. The result was a great cup of coffee in a really nice atmosphere. They also have a “cold-brew” but after I asked how they prepared it, it wasn’t wasn’t actually brewed cold, but just cold coffee, because they wanted the acidity to come through. But for me, that’s not what cold brew is about. I didn’t get into it with them. But of course, I ordered it, and unsurprisingly, their iced coffee didn’t have that nice smooth sweetness to it that cold brew usually has. Oh well. That said, it was still good. We also went…

Read more

Coffee Monday – Roadtrip Coffee Round Up

And now for something completely different. We’ve been travelling for a little over two weeks. I miss my kitties, but have full faith in the wonderful people taking care of them.On the road from Toronto to where we are now we’ve stopped in to a few different coffee shops all over the US & Canada, mostly Canada really, but it’s been kind of cool to see the different styles and takes on coffee culture in various cities, states, and provinces. It’s often a great source of relaxation, a place to go for a few hours, a refuge from mosquitoes (I’m looking at you Manitoba), and as a spot for wifi and/or power outlets. So Far Coffee Culture, Sarnia, ON – free wifi, a few outlets, decent coffee, lots of seating. Gaslight Coffee Roasters, Chicago, IL – outlets, wifi, fantastic coffee, roasted on site, charge for dairy alternatives. Ipsento Coffee, Chicago, IL – fantastic coffee. Thom Bargan, Winnipeg, MB – fantastic coffee, lots of outlets, wifi, charge for dairy alternatives. Make Coffee & Stuff, Winnipeg, MB – cheapest chemex coffee in Winnipeg. outlets, wifi. Siesta Cafe, Riding Mountain National Park, MB – lots of outlets, free wifi. Broadway Roastery, Saskatoon, SK – in house roasting, nice coffee, free wifi, lots of outlets. Noir Espresso, Saskatoon, SK – no outlets, charge for dairy alternatives, okay coffee. Honeybun Cafe, Saskatoon, SK – no outlets, charge for dairy alternatives, okay coffee, occasionally have vegan stuffed buns (that happen to be delicious) Museo Coffee, Saskatoon, SK –…

Read more

Coffee Monday – The Remarkable Bean – Espresso

There is the first week of April gone – have we gone to any Indie Coffee Passport stops in that time? No. Maybe if I keep mentioning it online we will go, but no, we’ve been doing the usual wait for a really caffeinated last-minute  weekend of April. Over the past week we’ve been enjoying the coffee beans delivered with our weekly Mama Earth Organics order. Mama Earth teamed up with The Remarkable Bean, a coffee shop and roastery at 2242 Queen St. East that I had not been to before yesterday to deliver different roasts of fair trade organic coffees in whole bean or several different grinds, from regular grind, to french press, to espresso grind for their Espresso Roast. The Remarkable Bean is a family business which has been selling coffee since 1994 out of the Beaches in Toronto. They roast onsite and in public, and all of their coffee is small batch or micro-roasted daily, which is why the nice folks at Mama Earth Organic can deliver freshly roasted (within 2 days before delivery) coffee to my door. Since we have an espresso machine, I ordered 1/2lbs of Espresso Roast, and later regretted it. That is, I regretted that I didn’t order more. I loved this coffee, and all of its rich flavour notes. This is also their house espresso so if you happen to go in to get a fancy coffee beverage (or just a simple in house espresso), this is the roast you will likely…

Read more

Coffee Monday – Ethical Bean – Fairtrade Supermarket Options

First of all, if you’ve got an Indie Coffee Passport you still have until April 30th 2014 to use it. I’m especially happy to confirm this because we haven’t been out to a cafe this month (okay, I went to The Abbot alone, but I’m not sure that counts.) With our trip to California, and work, and everything else, a lovely urban coffee exploration just hasn’t happened. Last week we drank 12 ounces of Ethical Bean Coffee: Rocket Fuel French Roast. The beans are organic, fair trade, from Peru & Bolivia, and roasted in Canada. Ethical Bean Coffee is based our of Vancouver, BC, and this package promised “a strong dark roast, full of body, balance, and a cocoa-laced finish.” It also features a QR code you can use if you want to get a bit more information about when the coffee was brewed, where the beans were from, etc. Or alternately you can enter the number into their website and get the same info. So I did, and found that my particular package of coffee was roasted on January 30th, 2014. The one distinct benefit of mostly getting coffee from small producers is that we get the coffee almost always within a week of roasting. I’m not sure how long most supermarket coffee beans sit on the shelf before sale, this might still be exceptional – we bought it on March 16th, so it was on the shelf or in transit for a bit over a month. We bought…

Read more

Coffee Monday – The Abbott – Indie Coffee Passport

First of all – you have a little under a month to use up your Indie Coffee Passport! It’s crunch time people, let’s get caffeinated. I rarely write a post from the cafe I’m sitting in, but I’m breaking that trend with this one (I also rarely go to these spots on weekdays so I’m just changing everything around this time. I went into the Abbot today in Parkdale after running over to Liberty Village for a quick second. It’s on Spencer Avenue, which is a tiny avenue just off King street. There is a half step to get in, and it’s kind of hidden off to the side, under a staircase. I’m not sure if I would have had as easy a time of finding it, had JC and I not been there before. What’s on offer with the Indie Coffee Passport: They charge extra for non-dairy milk. So I ordered a double espresso. Service was friendly and quick. The barista seemed to follow the ICP trend I’ve noticed this year of being really positive about the Indie Coffee Passport, which wasn’t always the case during last years run (not here, just in general.) It’s a small and comfortable space, the big windows let in a lot of sunlight, and I love the little tables (there are 4 tables that seat two comfortably, and one large communal table that could probably seat 4-6 depending on personal space requirements.) My Coffee The more coffee I drink, the fussier I’m getting…

Read more

Coffee Monday – The Roasters Pack

Every once and a while I get an email about a new product or event or whatever that really resonates with me. It’s one of those things that if I stumbled upon it myself, I’d be excited about and would start telling my friends. The Roasters Pack is one of those things. The Roasters Pack is a subscription based coffee delivery service. The goal is to introduce you to a variety of coffees from around the world, with a rotating roster of roasters (say that three times quickly) based out of Canada and the USA. This month, all were Canadian. Two were from Ontario – Diesel House Coffee Roasters out of Bracebridge and Carvalho Coffee  from Oakville, and one was from far far away: Bean North Coffee from Whitehorse, in the Yukon. Founded by Suneal Pabari and Adam Frank, this business started out of a love of coffee, and sure, so far, it’s just one box, and just the first edition of their coffee box, but you can see the love and attention they pay to talking about the coffee, the roasters, and the product. They try a whole bunch of coffee and then pick the ones that stand out and add them to the service. Suneal and Adam are calling the subscriptions “issues.” Like a magazine or a newspaper, because each participating roaster and coffee is accompanied by a story, a discount, a video, and/or some other interesting coffee/roaster discussion. Here is one of these videos from this month where we get to…

Read more

The Brockton Haunt – Indie Coffee Passport 2013

JC and I have been spending at least one day on the weekend checking out a couple of coffee spots around the city. A few weekends ago we were exploring the Brockton area, and finally landed in The Brockton Haunt. It’s a nice warm & bright spot in the Brockton neighbourhood, service is nice, quick, and friendly. It immediately felt like that comfortable coffee shop you’ve been going to for years. The baristas were both welcoming, and happily took our Indie Coffee Passports. Once we went in, it was full of people, there was one table at the very back & up a few steps that would fit around 6 people or 8 friends. There is bar seating at the very front, about 5 stools, and a couple of tables near the doors. They brew the now familiar Pilot’s “Big Brother” beans on a Nuova Simonelli machine, and have a variety of baked goods – none of which were vegan at the time we went in. They also have cold drinks, and variety of flavour syrups available. What’s on offer with the Indie Coffee Passport 1. Americano 2. Espresso 3. Macchiato 4. Misto Americano 5. Cappuccino 6. Tea We both ordered the cappuccino, which had a nice soft foam, made with So Nice Barista Blend soymilk on the day we went in, and the usual delicious flavour of a Pilot coffee roast. We drank it happily, and also took advantage of their free wi-fi for about an hour. It was…

Read more

CSI Coffee Pub – Coffee Monday – Another Indie Coffee Passport stop

This weekend and last weekend, JC & I went to the CSI Coffee Pub. The first time we weren’t armed with our Indie Coffee Passports (I should really just keep that in my purse…), but we were in the neighbourhood because of the APieCalypse Now! Grand Opening and it seemed like a good spot to meet up. The Coffee Pub was on our radar almost entirely because of the ICP & I can see this spot turning into a semi-regular hangout. There is ample seating, it’s warm, inviting, and the baristas are friendly. (Also, as an added bonus, there is wifi, and workspace – both for individuals and groups.) I think I’ve been in this space before, but for a python class with Ladies Learning Code, or helping to photograph one of the LLC sessions some time in the last few years. It might also just be that it feels very CSI (Centre for Social Innovation.) People with computers, people with ideas, it was quiet every time I’ve gone in, but it still seems to be full of energy. They brew coffee from the Fresh Coffee Network, and on the days I went in were using So Nice soy milk (and they also have almond milk). There is no extra charge for dairy alternative. What’s on offer? The first visit, I just got a soy latte (no indie coffee passport means anything goes). And it came in a giant mug. This weekend, JC & I shared a cortado and a cappuccino.…

Read more

BIVY – Indie Coffee Passport 2013 – Coffee Monday

We went into BIVY on Sunday this weekend. It’s one of the cafes on this session of the Indie Coffee passport. It’s another one of those spots that has only been open for less than three years. They opened in mid-July 2012 in the Brockton Triangle/Brockton Village area. They do food, coffee, and weekend brunch. It felt like more of a restaurant than coffee shop (or as they say an “Urban Food Outpost“), but they didn’t seem to mind us only ordering coffee. Service was super friendly, the latte was totally my style (but JC didn’t dig it as much as I did.) There are a bunch of options for their Indie Coffee Passport offerings, but we went with the usual – soy latte. BIVY appears to have their own Bivy Collective espresso blend, which I really liked. The latte had a nice thick foam, and the coffee had a rich full flavour. They also sell a variety of products in the back corner, like my favourite chocosol chocolate, stasis preserves, Social coffee & tea bags, cup cozies, and a bunch of other things that I no longer remember. Overall, I really liked the space, it was warm, inviting, and as an added bonus they have wifi (that they even invited us to use.) Vegan menu options seem fairly limited – to potentially nonexistent (unless you count salad,) though you might want to ask about the soup (according to the website the soups are always dairy-free). In case you’re curious, the…

Read more

i deal coffee on Sorauren – Indie Coffee Passport Stop – Coffee Monday

We’ve been working our way through the Indie Coffee Passport but I’ve only gone back to one of the spots repeatedly, and it’s this one. Of course – it’s also somewhat in my neighbourhood so that helps. i deal coffee on Sorauren Ave was once called Balluchon. Now, It’s basically the same place, but better. Overall, I like the atmosphere, I like the staff, and I feel comfortable sitting around for an hour or so with my coffee or tea, or muffin, or whatever. It’s off the beaten (walking) track, but there are usually a couple people sitting inside, and a few people coming in and picking up coffee or bread to go. The staff is friendly. Service has been nice every time I’ve gone in. Every one of the folks that works there seems to be decent, knows how to make a coffee, and i deal coffee seems to have a really good team going on. I guess that’s why I keep going back for more. 221 Sorauren Ave is also home to Prairie Boy Bakery, so there are almost always fresh loaves of bread available. All prepared sandwiches I’ve seen when I’ve walked in have had cheese or meat on them, but vegan baked goods (cookies or muffins) are usually available. They have a variety of loose-leaf teas and coffees, both in bean form and immediately drinkable. They also have soy and almond milk at no extra charge if you are anything like me, and want your coffee a…

Read more