Ottawa’s Best Cafés And Coffeeshops

Savka Andic

The Canadian capital Ottawa is no longer the exclusive abode of the trusty Tim Hortons ‘double-double’, a filter coffee with two shots each of sugar and cream. Canada’s long-established coffee and donuts chain remains a national icon but in recent years a wealth of new, independent coffee houses have sprung up. Find out where to get your fix when in Ottawa.

Mexican chocolate

1. Morning Owl Coffeehouse

Bakery, Coffee Shop, Coffee, Canadian

Ethiopian Sidamo
Courtesy of Happy Goat Coffee Company
With one branch in Little Italy and another on Bank Street, Morning Owl has been supplying Ottawans in the know with organic coffee since 2009. Owner Jordan O’Leary draws on his family’s roots in Italy’s Abruzzo region to inspire his menu. The organic, direct-trade coffee comes from Equator Roasters in Almonte, Ontario and the sandwich bread is specially selected from a local artisan bakery. A range of coffee beverages are offered, including Nutella lattes and the intriguingly named ‘Shot in the Dark’.

2. Equator Coffee Roasters

Bar, Cafe, Coffee Shop, Canadian, Coffee

Coffee and games
© Dorineruter/Flickr
With a coffee bar in town and a bean roastery in the Ottawa Valley, Equator Coffee Roasters have been sourcing and serving direct-trade organic coffee since 1998. Founder Craig was an early adherent of the Fair Trade Certification movement and wanted to ‘equate’ the benefits of the coffee trade for developing country suppliers with those in the North, hence the company name. The Almonte bar features a space for art displays and a quality control ‘Cupping Lab’ where customers can get brewing and coffee quality tutorials. Organic teas, light lunches and chocolate products are also available in addition to a wide variety of drip coffees and espresso-based drinks. The company also have a coffee bar in Westboro, Ottawa.

3. Raw Sugar Café

Cafe, Canadian, Coffee

Foam art
© mckaysavage/Flickr
With its retro 1950s decor and playful, offbeat vibe, complete with board games, live music, literary events and a bookshelf which patrons can peruse at their leisure; Raw Sugar is a firm favorite among local artists and the wider community, fulfilling owner Nadia Kharyati’s original goal to create a vibrant community hub. Located in the Chinatown District, the cafe menu features baked goods, soups, sandwiches, tabbouleh/hummus pitta wraps and stuffed vine leaves in addition to organic, fair-trade coffee and tea. Light alcoholic beverages such as organic craft beer and cider are also available.

4. The Ministry of Coffee

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Canadian, Pastries, Coffee

Flowers in a cup
© jeffdjevdet/Flickr and Speed Property Buyers
With a rotation of different roasts and bean types changing on a weekly basis, at The Ministry of Coffee variety is the spice of caffeine. This centrally located cafe also features indulgences such as Mocha and Nutella lattes and the innovative ‘Nitrogen cold brew’, an unctuously creamy iced coffee in addition to teas and snack foods. This ‘ministry’ comes complete with its own propaganda department, offering courses such as Latte Art and Aeropress coffee making to educate the masses about the finer points of a cuppa.

5. blumenstudio

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Coffee, Canadian

Roasted coffee Harar
© rod_waddington/Flickr
Sometimes it’s good to stop and smell the flowers, other times you need to wake up and smell the coffee. At blumenstudio, Ottawa’s unique artistic floral boutique and cafe, you can do both at once, enjoying some of the best local espressos, lattes and caffe americanos in a dreamy, relaxed floral milieu. They use locally roasted Rufino beans and also sell pastries and baked goods. It remains an artisan florist first and foremost with space for about a dozen customers and also has some outdoor seating among the plants.

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