Our coffee contributor, Jean-Michel Dufaux, travels all over the world searching for the best independents cafés. Although we all like to travel to far flung places too, more often than not we are drinking coffee closer to home; so here are Jean-Michel’s top five cafés in Ottawa!
Located in the heart of ByWard Market, this friendly café is an ideal place to work. The brick walls and leather chairs give it a cozy ambience, and it is the perfect place to take a break after visiting this crowded area of Parliament Hill, which is just around the corner. Opened in November of 2015, and serving top-notch coffee that is locally roasted at Equator Coffee Roasters (in Almonte, in the Ottawa Valley). Their Single Origin blend, is known for its complex flavours and unique taste; a must-try!
When you enter this location, which is inspired by the boulangeries of Paris mixed with the funky cafés of Brooklyn, you are met with a coffee counter full of opportunities. The cappuccino is a particularly delicious option that pairs especially well with any of their numerous pastries, that are all prepared on site. You can choose from several blends that come from the Quebec roastery Bluebarn, as well as Dogwood Coffee Co. (a Winnipeg-based company). If you have a little extra time, stop in for a delicious and hearty breakfast, that feature products from the bakery.
Their original location is an understated and comfortable establishment that opened its doors in Centretown in 2013. However, it’s their second shop, in Hintonburg, that has now made The Ministry Of Coffee a must-see in the capital. It is a large open space that also serves alcoholic beverages (whiskey, beer, and wine), making it a nice place to have a cortado in the morning and a pint of amber in the afternoon. They rotate blends, that are sourced from various Canadian and American roasteries. Here you can find coffee from Pilot, 49th Parallel, Anchored, Phil & Sebastian, and many others.
Just outside Little Italy, at the end of a residential street in a semi-industrial neighbourhood, you can find this eclectically decorated café. The happy-go-lucky decorations reflect the friendly atmosphere of this wonderful space. The lovely owners have stories to tell, and whether you get talking to them or not, it is a pleasant place to spend the afternoon. Hans, the owner, has a roasting style that is now almost unique: he has brought back the old artisanal ways that allows others to rediscover the true essence of coffee as it once was. The latte is simply perfection!
Located outside Centretown, the small roastery of this independent café is owned and operated by a single roaster and barista combo; started by two friends who shared a passion for coffee. It all began when one of them travelled to Melbourne, Australia, to develop their skills as a barista. It was there that he realised how much of a gap in quality there was between the leaders of the third wave and his home city. So, he did what any sensible person would do, and became dedicated to elevating the coffee culture in Ottawa. Surpassing that mission, they now contribute more widely to the entire Canadian coffee scene. Proving once again that when a pair of coffee lovers set out on an adventure, it benefits us all!
This charming café-boutique opened its doors in February 2017 in the up-and-coming neighbourhood, and hidden gem of the capital, Hintonburg. The guys are proud to say that all their beans, which are now being distributed and sold at several locations around the city, are roasted with their 15 kg Loring Falcon; the first in Ottawa to have one of these beautiful machines! The flat white is absolutely excellent and always prepared with great attention to detail.