BY ANDREW COPPOLINO
There is a lot of coffee to be sipped in Waterloo Region. In fact, according to Graham Braun of Monigram Coffee Roasters in Galt (Cambridge), Waterloo Region is a coffee king in many respects.
“It’s very likely we have more excellent coffee shops here per capita than a large centre like Toronto, where you have to be right downtown to get a proper cup of coffee,” says Braun.
So, here’s round two of just some of the businesses that serve the beloved beverage in its many forms.
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Aroma Café & Roaster, Waterloo
Located in the Atrium in Uptown Waterloo, Aroma Café is a roaster but also a purveyor of gluten-free foods and what is noted as one of the best Korean bibimbaps in Waterloo Region.
Bauer Bakery & Café, Waterloo
Located in the Bauer Kitchen in midtown, this café prepares light meals including breakfasts and sweets like Nutter Butter cookies from the adjoining Bauer Kitchen restaurant. The coffee – Bauer Signature Roast – is from Baden Coffee Co. with Propeller Coffee Co. on duty for espresso-based beverages.
BeanTown Café | Baden Coffee Company, Baden
Open for about five years now, BeanTown serves snacks and pastries with their Baden Coffee Company freshly roasted beans. That means Chemex, “Clever Dripper” full immersion extraction (similar to a French Press but with no sediment) and espresso, latte and cappuccino. It makes a great destination and drive into the country.
Blackwing Coffee & Craft Beer Bar, Cambridge
Self-proclaimed as “a new experience for an old town,” Blackwing is sister coffee shop to DVLB and Smile Tiger, in Waterloo and Kitchener, respectively. Owner Katherine Gingrich says the George Street location will have a beer and food menu but coffee remains a heavy focus. Look for an early 2018 opening.
Café 22, Waterloo
Sandwiches, wraps and sweets – along with coffee, of course – contribute to the European ambiance at Café 22 in the centre of Uptown Waterloo.
Café O Roaster and Bakery, Kitchener
Located in a small commercial plaza at the corner of Victoria Street and River Road, family-owned Café O roasts its own beans and specializes in espresso-based coffees. When you visit, you might experience a bustling vibrant atmosphere of laughter and conversation.
Café Pyrus, Kitchener
Visit for cherry and blueberry coffee aromas. Owner Tyzun James says, “Pyrus is about community and the best drip in town.” The unique restaurant and coffee shop has an inventive vegan and gluten-free menu and appeal that also comes from their social responsibility and environmental sustainability. As for the main event – java – some comes from Comunidad [sic], a small farm in Nicaragua. “We give a dollar-per-pound back to support development of the farm and its workers,” he adds. “It’s a fruity, natural-washed coffee roasted for us by Monigram.” About 20 loose leaf teas also available.
City Café, Kitchener
With a few locations in Kitchener, City Café focuses on a good cup of coffee along with wood-fired pizza, bagels, breads and some sweets. The pay method is on-your-honour via old transit fare boxes.
Matter of Taste, Kitchener
A coffee and roaster anchor in the downtown core of Kitchener, Matter of Taste has that reclaimed urban feel of historic brick and timber – and a popular sister coffee shop in Waterloo.
Meme’s Café, New Hamburg
With coffee, lunch and snacks – including a little thing called a “Date Shag” – owner Meredith Hagen has what they call “an eclectic café” that hosts a range of clients from church-goers to inked artists.
Monigram Coffee Roasters, Cambridge
Somewhat hidden from sight on Ainslie Street South, Monigram is self-described as a “cozy cafe in a restored heritage jewel” in the heart of Galt, Cambridge, according to owners Monica and Graham Braun. “We source coffee from all over the world, according to season, and direct trade,” Graham says. “Our espresso-based drinks are where it’s at with us.” However, with a slow bar they can accommodate just about any coffee desire. “Whatever people do at home, we can do for them here.”
Sabletine Fine Pastries, Waterloo
Sabletine has held down the French pastry scene in midtown for a good long while. Cakes, pastries, Viennoiserie and candies all taste better with a good cup of coffee, wouldn’t you agree?
Seven Shores Community Café, Waterloo
Community owned and operated, Seven Shores is a social venture with good-sized food menu and a host of coffee beverages made with direct trade beans via Mississauga-based Social Coffee & Tea. Barista Eileen Werner calls what Seven Shores does a “five-star” experience. “I think our best drink is our dark roast drip coffee. Amazing!” she says.
Show and Tell Coffee, Kitchener
A business committed to transparency along the entire coffee chain in order to provide an option “outside the corporate craft movement,” according to owner Andrew Thom. “We are focused on sourcing unique and delicious coffees and brewing them really, really well. We will be working with Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters along with international roasters from around the world on a rotating basis,” Thom says.
Smile Tiger Coffee, Kitchener
Next door to the Kitchener Via Rail station, Smile Tiger roasts direct trade and microlot beans from Peru, Brazil and the slopes of Kilimanjaro, for instance. Casual and comfortable café with snacks and wonderful windows onto the outside. You can also buy coffee subscriptions.
The Yeti Café, Kitchener
Adjacent to the Kitchener Market, The Yeti is open daily and calls itself a “quirky café” with a unique and inventive menu for breakfast and lunch (Collard Wrap, Buddha Bundle and Pregnant Sasquatch, to name a few). The coffee is from Cultura Café, which means ethically sourced, direct trade microlots from Nicaragua.