Ottawa duo tackles café scene with specialty brews

Nestled in a nondescript storefront in Little Italy lies Little Victories, a café with an impressive history and an ambitious goal: to bring world class coffee culture to Ottawa.

The Wellington West location celebrated its grand opening on Feb. 3.

Although it was a pretty quiet affair, it represented a watershed moment for the company and is only the first of many events being hosted at their new permanent location.

Featuring baked goods from local Ottawa specialists, the event was an opportunity for fans and friends to celebrate the astonishing progress the brewers have made. To assist in their mission to bring high class coffee culture to Ottawa.

There are some downsides to the venue itself: you won’t find much by way of food, the location is not idealit shares space with a bike shopand I accidentally walked into a marijuana dispensary on my first visit. However, they still make one of the best cups of coffee that I’ve ever had.

Little Victories is the brainchild of Jeremie Thompson and Andrew Bassett, two long-time coffee professionals who became disillusioned with the state of Canada’s café industry. After experiencing the incredible divide in coffee quality between Canada and other parts of the world they felt obligated to help Ottawa compete on the global stage.

Several global sourcing trips later, Little Victories Coffee Roasters began retail and wholesale operations across Ottawa. Within a year the fledgling company had contracts with over a dozen small and independent coffee shops supplying top shelf coffee beans and training across the Ottawa Valley. With the wind under their wings, Little Victories was poised to open their first standalone shop.

Staying true to their roots, the café has chosen to exalt all their efforts on their exclusively pour over coffee.

Even their basic latte possessed a complexity not often experienced in conventional coffee shops. The brew managed to be surprisingly full-bodied and tart while possessing a pleasantly sweet aftertaste, all the while maintaining a diverse taste profile that featured notes of wood and plum.

Dark roast coffee has become something of a black sheep in recent years, yet Little Victories managed to bring it back in style with a taste profile almost more reminiscent of beer than classic coffee.

But don’t be scared off by their high-end portfolio. Little Victories manages not to break the bank, in fact, it won’t cost much more than your daily Starbucks.

Thompson and Bassett feel that the dominance of large chain stores in the Canadian market has created cracks where the little guy can slip in, and they’re prepared to fully exploit that. The partners are aiming to open more stores in Ottawa while expanding their wholesale operations.

In a world where McDonald’s has a café menu and Starbucks serves beer, seeing a company with such singular devotion to their core product is a breath of fresh air. Little Victories makes coffee. And they do it with an expertise and nuance unheard of in the mainstream industry.