Spilling the beans on the best local coffee and tea spots
Illustration by Jennifer Vo
As a polical science student, professional night owl, dancer, journal editor, full-time sarcastic, and part-time cynic, one could consider me an expert when it comes to the mighty bean. While Ottawa hasn’t always had a brilliant reputation with regards to coffee, the city is actually bustling with local roasts, perfect brews, and brilliant à-cotés that will get you through exam season. So here it is, a review of local cups from espresso con pannas to skinny javas all the way to mates and Oolongs.
Café Delice – 197 Kent St.
Hidden in the centre of the public service district, but conveniently located next to almost every downtown bus route, this coffee and chocolate shop is a breath of European air. A small but mighty coffee shop, its baristas brew what may well be Ottawa’s best mocha latte with a bold, flavourful espresso blended with pure dark chocolate. Café Delice also brews a fruity dark roast that offers a delightful escape from the corporate world surrounding it.
Winning Beverage: Mocha latte
Best enjoyed with: A white chocolate-dipped raspberry biscotti, business casual wear and a copy of the Economist.
The Tea Party – 119 York St.
This isn’t a far-right political organization or psychedelic scene from a children’s classic. If java isn’t your thing, The Tea Party has a wide selection of loose-leaf teas including black tea, fruity Rooibos, and home brews, with an entire Sherlock Holmes-themed selection. It serves perfect iced teas and delicious vegetarian meals on a sunny patio, ideal for first dates or friendly lunches.
Winning Beverage: Iced lemon mango herbal tea
Best enjoyed with: A Matcha cookie, retro headwear, and early Friedrich Nietzsche.
Bluebird Coffee – 261 Dalhousie St.
Probably the highlight of the local coffee scene, Bluebird is a micro coffee roasting house in the heart of the ByWard Market that roasts its own beans on premises, creating an edgy, slightly sweet, and undeniably perfect dark roast brew. This place also makes a powerful espresso served in a bright, open concept shop that offers baked goods, sandwiches, and soups.
Winning beverage: Espresso
Best enjoyed with: A giant oatmeal cookie, sunglasses, and a session of shameless Pinterest browsing.
Perfection Satisfaction Promise – 167 Laurier Ave.
Not a specialized coffee shop per se, this restaurant is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Fauteux Hall and creates undeniably unique specialty lattes alongside an extensive vegan menu. Its friendly sari-wearing staff will serve you some of the most delicious, healthy, organic, and fair-trade food you will find in the city.
Winning Beverage: Almond milk latte
Best enjoyed with: A slice of vegan Ananda double chocolate cheesecake, sandals, a Deepak Chopra book, and an open mind.