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…

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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 –…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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The Indie Coffee Passport. Less than Three Edition

Since 2010, the Indie Coffee Passport has been helping me explore Toronto and all the independent cafe’s within it. I’ve found places I keep visiting, I’ve found places I never wanted to go again, but the important thing was that I got to check them out, and see parts of the city that I might not have ever ventured out to otherwise. The Indie Coffee Passport in Toronto is doing something different this year, and I think it’s a great change. This round started on October 1st, and is going on until April 2014, and they’re highlighting coffee shops in the city that have only been open for 3 years or less. I have fond memories of doing the Indie Coffee Passport by myself in the first few months of living in Toronto by myself, with new pals, and then later with JC in the early days of our dating life. It’s a lovely opportunity to explore the city, check out new places and neighbourhoods you may never have visited before, while also enjoying a delicious cup of coffee or tea. (Also, by the way, the Indie Coffee Passport makes a great gift!) Here are the participating coffee shops arranged by soy tax, or no soy tax. I’m going to define soytax as an extra fee for any dairy milk alternative. I’m not sure yet what kind of non-dairy milks these locations have, but I will designate the ones where you’ll have to pay extra for your non-dairy latte/fancy coffee/tea –…

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Coffee on Manitoulin Island & in Tobermory

One of the biggest discoveries of the trip is how much I like really good coffee. We did not bring any of our Alternative Grounds  or Coffeecology roast coffee with us on the trip, and instead bought a tin of pre-ground coffee at Foodland. It was passable, but we’re pretty spoiled on the coffee front. I wanted tasty interesting coffee, and luckily there was a coffee shop still open for the season in Tobermory. Before getting on the MS Chi-Cheemaun ferry to Manitoulin Island we picked up a cup of regular coffee at The Coffee Shop (20 Bay St, Tobermory) near the Little Tub harbour. Prices were a bit above an average coffee shop in Toronto, but I imagine that’s what happens when you’re one of the only places in town offering a product. They also have soy milk available for coffee/tea and service was really friendly (especially since we went in moments after the doors opened). Later, once we had gotten to Manitoulin Island we went to Loco Beanz in Little Current a couple of times. I really loved their colourful storefront, and the interior was really cozy too. I didn’t look for any lunch options, but they did have this cookie from the Gardens Gate Restaurant, the same restaurant we had attempted to go the day before (we were way too early.)  The soy lattes were also really great (they were use Natur-a brand Soy Milk on the day I was there) We had one of these per…

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Things I Love Thursday: The Big Apple.

So it’s Thursday, and I’m still in New York City. I don’t know what it is about this city, but it’s always got me feeling introspective. Maybe because it was part of the first big transformative grand adventure I went on by myself, maybe it’s that fast paced life that I feel part of now, maybe it’s because I haven’t had enough pretzels, I don’t know. A common theme for me every week (whether I post a TILT or not) is that I feel grateful for almost everything that has transpired over the last few years. If you had asked me 10 years ago, where I thought I would be, I don’t know if I would have had such a positive answer. Life hasn’t always been easy, but I think the harder parts of the past have made me appreciate all the good good things all that much more. We’re staying in a beautiful condo in Manhattan overlooking the river (a view I love) and with a glimpse of Central Park. Officially we’re catsitting, but really, I have come to the conclusion that all vacations are better when I can borrow a cat (i.e., it’s not really cat sitting, it’s cat borrowing). This is Gizmo (an action shot) When we were in Las Vegas I especially missed our cats, and this time is no different, it’s just a bit easier with another cat around to annoy us. I miss Kes and Emmie, but I know they’re in good hands with cat sitter…

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