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Best Coffee in Montreal?

Jeff May 27, 2006 04:27 PM

Could someone please tell me the best place to go for coffee in Montreal. I've been to Cafe Artigano in Vancouver which was awesome. So someplace along those lines. Thank you.

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  1. c
    carswell RE: Jeff May 27, 2006 05:28 PM

    The closest thing to Artigano is Caffè ArtJava on Mont-Royal Blvd., a couple of blocks east of the metro station. Excellent espresso and superb microfoam in their milk-based drinks. www.caffeartjava.com

    The espresso at Café Italia in Little Italy, on St-Laurent just south of Milano, the great Italian supermarket, is darker and less suave but every bit as good.

    Olympico (aka Open da Night) on St-Viateur a block or two west of St-Urbain also has many fans. I agree that it's the best shot in Mile End.

    27 Replies
    1. re: carswell
      VivreManger RE: carswell May 30, 2006 09:02 AM

      My wife is the coffee drinker in the family. Last weekend, during a quick visit to Mtl. she discovered the coffee at Patisserie Gascogne (the Sherbrooke near Victoria branch). She pronounced it nearly as good as the coffee served at Torrefacteur Verlet on rue St. Honore in Paris. Next time she will have to try the other suggestions.

      BTW does La Vielle Europe actually serve coffee in addition to selling the beans and grinds?

      1. re: VivreManger
        Mr. F. RE: VivreManger May 30, 2006 10:32 AM

        Yes, Vieille Europe will make you a cup of coffee -- a limited range of espresso-based drinks, IIRC. There is no seating except for a plastic bench outside in summertime.

        1. re: VivreManger
          carswell RE: VivreManger May 31, 2006 06:37 PM

          Surprising. I've been avoiding the Pat Gasc (Laurier) since encountering a terrible tarte Tatin purchased there that bore little resmblence to the classic dessert and looked and tasted like it could have come from Provigo. Would never have thought of it as a coffee option but now you've piqued my curiosity.

          1. re: carswell
            RL RE: carswell Jun 6, 2006 01:42 AM

            I have had Gascogne Westmount's espresso, it is fair at best.

            I love Art Java & Benelo, especially if the little round guy is pouring.

            He has the best gossip in town.

            I was surprised by the great espresso I had the other day Le Duc De Lorraine.

            It was so good I had to have another to make certain I wasn't dreaming.

            Fun little place if you are in the area.

            1. re: RL
              carswell RE: RL Jun 8, 2006 11:03 AM

              >I love Art Java & Benelo, especially if the little round guy is pouring.

              Not sure I know who you're talking about. Lately the lovely Sylvana has been behind the counter whenever I've dropped by (tends to be late afternoon). The food's good too. All in all, there's a European feel to the place.

              Would never have expected to see great espresso and Duc de Lorraine in the same sentence. Total prejudice on my part, as I've never even thought of ordering a coffee there. That'll change soon and I hope you're right, 'cause despite the plethora of coffee bars in the 'hood, I've yet to find anything approaching ArtJava or Italia bliss.

              1. re: RL
                lindylou RE: RL May 16, 2008 07:12 PM

                The espresso at Gascogne in my opinion is weak and comes out of an automatic machine, quite tasteless.

              2. re: carswell
                rromano1402 RE: carswell Mar 5, 2010 12:43 PM

                don't bother ,Carswell. Trust your first instinct. Although Gascogne is a nice little pastry-shop, their prices are high and the quality of their pastries is not always up to scratch, as you have found out. However, by no stretch of the imagination are they to be considered a good coffee joint, except if you buy the French-Paris snob appeal. Stick with Caffè Italia. (i don't know about the others.)

            2. re: carswell
              Fritzy RE: carswell May 30, 2006 03:53 PM

              Are there any places in the downtown core that are better than others, either in terms of better preparaton or a larger than average variety of brews available?


              1. re: Fritzy
                carswell RE: Fritzy May 31, 2006 06:29 PM

                Despite its concentration of coffee shops (surely the densest in the city), finding a decent espresso downtown can be pretty hard. I usually end up at Benelo, a café-cum-beauty salon at 2145 Crescent. The espresso there is soft, Northern Italian-style. The Persian pastry shop Nocochi (2156 Mackay) pulls OK shots using Illy coffee. A California-based coffee fiend I once went on an espresso crawl through little Italy with says he had a decent shot at a café/resto that serves good panini on the east side of Montaigne between Sherbrooke and de Maisonneuve, but he couldn't remember its name and I haven't done any follow-up. The new kid on the block (Ste-Catherine, right across from Simon's/Paramount) is Segafredo Zanetti. I went twice right after it opened and was disappointed both times by the long wait and botched drinks. It's a bit surprising since the mother store in Little Italy (corner of Shamrock and Casgrain, across from the Jean-Talon market) got its espresso act together a long time ago. Maybe the new store was having start-up problems and a reassessment is in order.

                If you're looking for variety, your best bet might be the Brûlerie St-Denis shops. There's one in the basement foodcourt of Simons/Paramount and another in the Maison Alcan. I've not had drinks at either but their stores on St-Denis and Côte-des-Neiges sell a wide range of fairly fresh beans, any of which you can have ground and served in a french press. That said, I doubt their espresso is worth making a detour for.

                1. re: carswell
                  Fritzy RE: carswell May 31, 2006 07:47 PM


                  Thanks for the informative (as always!) response. I will certainly try out a couple of these downtown suggestions when I am in Montreal next month.

                  As for your friend’s partial memory, an Internet search turned this place up as the only place meeting the description you posted:

                  Café Tramezzini
                  2125, rue de la Montagne,

                  1. re: Fritzy
                    carswell RE: Fritzy Jun 8, 2006 11:04 AM

                    Thanks for doing the legwork, Fritzy. Will run the name by my LA correspondent and see what he says.

                    1. re: Fritzy
                      Fritzy RE: Fritzy Jun 30, 2006 08:25 PM

                      I tried an espresso here at Cafe Tramezzini yesterday. Definitely better than average: intense, but no bitterness, smooth clean finish with no aftertaste. Pleasant surroundings too.


                    2. re: carswell
                      Fritzy RE: carswell Jun 30, 2006 08:31 PM

                      I tried the espresso at Benelo's today. It was great! Light, complex and smooth. Thanks so much for the tip Carswell, I would never have found this place otherwise. It is hard to find even with the address and not at all the sort of location one would be looking for for a great drink.

                      Also had an espresso at Segfredo Zanetti downtown: better than average but nothing to write home about. Checked out Brulier St-Denis downtown. Although they had plenty of variety on their blackboard, they were actually only serving two "varieties of the day" -- decided to pass.


                      1. re: Fritzy
                        carswell RE: Fritzy Jun 30, 2006 11:19 PM

                        Thanks for the reports, Fritzy. Glad to hear you liked Benelo.

                        Since our last exchange, I've been told the coffee situation downtown should change for the better this fall. Don't know if there's an embargo on the deets but I'll publish them as soon as I know it's OK to.

                        1. re: Fritzy
                          carswell RE: Fritzy Jul 10, 2006 11:51 PM

                          OK. Someone on Coffeegeek spilled the beans. Caffè ArtJava is going to open a second shop on the corner of University and Président-Kennedy sometime between now and the end of September. Shots will be pulled on a spanking new three-group La Marzocco GB/5. This is fabulous news for downtown coffee lovers.

                          1. re: carswell
                            Fritzy RE: carswell Oct 2, 2006 11:06 PM

                            Has this Caffe ArtJava opened yet?

                            1. re: Fritzy
                              BLM RE: Fritzy Oct 3, 2006 12:44 AM

                              It hasn't opened yet. Somebody here could have more details.

                              1. re: BLM
                                maltoni RE: BLM Oct 3, 2006 04:31 AM

                                well,I'm glad to say we finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!! I can estimate a soft opening of Caffe Art Java(Président-Kennedy)for the week of the 24th of October.Carswell was dead on about the La Marzocco GB/5 and i've also added a SWIFT La Marzocco grinder and a Mazzer Super-Jolly to our arsenal.We've finalized the slate flooring today and all the restaurant equipment as well as the mill work is being delivered this week.We are really anxious on opening and serving the downtown core.


                                1. re: maltoni
                                  BLM RE: maltoni Nov 1, 2006 02:46 AM

                                  I went by the new Caffe Art Java location yesterday. It's still not close to opening. Any new schedule opening day?

                                  1. re: BLM
                                    BLM RE: BLM Nov 3, 2006 03:51 PM

                                    I see that in Maeve Haldane's review column in Hour this week, she laments the disappearance of Jarpitou Sandwich at Caffe Art Java. It was their thick fatty veal sandwich, with a side of rich tomato sauce. Served with a roasted marrowbone. Sounds decadent & delicious. Sorry I didn't know about it before. Here's the link to the column(the Caffe Art Java item is at the bottom) http://www.hour.ca/food/food.aspx

                                    1. re: BLM
                                      BLM RE: BLM Dec 7, 2006 04:19 AM

                                      Went to the new Caffe Art Java location tonight after work, to check it out & try their coffee(I was told they opened Monday of this week). The owner was gracious enough to show me around, including showing me their equipment. Been to their Plateau location before, so well aware of their outstanding coffee. I'm not a coffee connoisseur yet, so I won't comment any further.

                          2. re: carswell
                            Fritzy RE: carswell Jul 3, 2006 04:24 PM

                            Sunday, I tried out the Persian pâtisserie Nocochi (2156 rue MacKay, near Sherbrooke). I found their rendition of their Illy-based espresso highly agreeable. The physical setting is quite pleasant, but best of all they have a very large selection of very exotic cookies and pastries: I am putting their crumbly little chickpea and pistachio cookies down as my all-time favorite accompaniment to a short espresso. I’ll definitely stop by whenever I am in the neighborhood.


                            1. re: carswell
                              Fritzy RE: carswell Sep 5, 2007 11:50 AM

                              I guess everyone has their favorite style of espresso. Really, my favorite is the light Northern Italian style served at Benelo’s I stopped by yesterday and had a shot: light golden crema, a delicate, tasty drink without a trace of bitterness. Perfect! I didn’t eat anything, but one glass case was full of various quiches; there was very little in the way of sweets although there were custard-like offerings in one of the coolers that I probably should have asked about.

                              1. re: Fritzy
                                MMRuth RE: Fritzy Sep 5, 2007 03:16 PM

                                I was curious about your description of "the light Northern Italian style" of espresso - would appreciate elaboration here:


                                1. re: MMRuth
                                  Fritzy RE: MMRuth Sep 5, 2007 04:08 PM

                                  I am sure you can find people more expert than me to answer that question, but it is my impression that it is primarily the roast, with northern cities in Italy preferring lighter (brown rather than black) roasts.

                                  Try this link for that hypothesis: http://www.espressovivace.com/archive...

                                2. re: Fritzy
                                  lagatta RE: Fritzy Jan 25, 2008 07:07 AM

                                  Well, Trieste was one of the Italian outposts of the Austro-Hungarian empire. I do miss the more Viennese style coffee available at the old Central European cake and coffee places in west-central Montréal. I would be interested in knowing if there are any current incarnations thereof.

                            2. re: carswell
                              CMT RE: carswell Jun 25, 2007 06:26 PM

                              ....only real answer is "Cafe Italia".....others may prefer Cafe Internationale"....south of C Italia,...same side/same block....do your own taste test.....skip all the others!

                            3. e
                              Ed RE: Jeff May 28, 2006 08:55 PM

                              For roasted beans La Vielle Europe is amazing. They roast on the premises and the coffees range from Hawaiian Kona to a very respectable house expresso roast. They also have a decent selection of cheeses, pates and sausages.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Ed
                                Fritzy RE: Ed May 29, 2006 01:51 PM

                                Sounds interesting: 3855 St-Laurent.

                                Here is a link below:

                                Link: http://english.montrealplus.ca/portal...

                                1. re: Ed
                                  Lighthousehunter RE: Ed Jul 11, 2006 10:35 PM

                                  Boston Chowhound here...my wife and I can not leave the city on any of our trips to Montreal without a visit to La Vielle Europe for their Cuban brown and Cuban black coffee beans. There is nothing like it here in the Boston area. Last trip we took over 5 pounds across the border. (And unlike smoked meat, they are not looking to confiscate it.)

                                2. k
                                  kit RE: Jeff Jul 14, 2006 04:38 PM

                                  Cafe Milano in St. Leonard is a fave for me.
                                  Sandwiches & biscottis are great. Rowdy & informal atmosphere (especially during World Cup!) - neighbourhood cafe type. But deserts are very mediocre.

                                  1. n
                                    Nich RE: Jeff Jul 17, 2006 09:58 PM

                                    Hi there, i have been in this new awesome European Coffee Shop called Testa Rossa caffe at 2110 Crescent. I love coffee but the espresso they offer is just amazing.
                                    They have also some nice Italian Paninis:)

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Nich
                                      carswell RE: Nich Jul 29, 2006 05:02 AM

                                      Granted I'm a cynical old git, but raves from first-time, one-time posters always set my spam alarm ringing. So this afternoon I dropped by Testa Rosa for a double espresso ($3.00) and a panino ($7.50).

                                      The premises are sleek, stylish and clean as a whistle. Small terrace out front; a few tables in the front section of the cafe proper; a long bar running the length of the remaining space with display cases for sandwiches, salads and desserts near the entrance; a few more tables and banquettes in the back; a veritable constellation of halogen lights; faux marble walls; LCD TV playing the BBC news channel (volume turned off), meaning you can dine to images of the devestation in Lebanon; innocuous muzak. For the time being you can see a pic on the Testa Rossa website www.testarossacaffe.com

                                      The panino -- a vegetarian number featuring eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, basil and mozz with a sweetish (balsamic vinegar?) dressing -- was OK, though they made it on ciabatta because they were out of panini bread. Plated with three olives and a few sprigs of parsley. My goblet was kept filled with ice water and they asked if I wanted lemon in it, a nice touch.

                                      The espresso was well made. The barista flushed the group head, rinsed and warmed the portafilter with the flush water, tamped the grounds just right and hovered over the machine -- a Faema three grouper -- as the shot was pulled. Extraction was good, crema was pretty good, flavour was intense. The pitfall of sourness was avoided and the coffee's bitterness was natural, not from overheating. What it lacked was depth and, above all, roundness, natural sweetness. I suspect the culprit is the beans, which I assume are roasted in Italy and imported to Canada, much like Illy beans (cans of Testa Rossa coffee are prominently displayed in the cafe). Other people appreciate Illy more than I do, and I expect the same will be true for Testa Rossa.

                                      While I wouldn't call the espresso "amazing" (Caffè ArtJava has nothing to fear) and will probably continue to favour Benelo just across the street, Testa Rossa certainly pulls one of the better shots downtown.

                                      The cafe opens at 8:30 a.m. on weekdays and Saturdays and 10 a.m. on Sundays. No closing hours were specified.

                                      1. re: carswell
                                        Fritzy RE: carswell Sep 5, 2007 11:40 AM

                                        The ambience, well-described by Carswell, was pleasant enough – the television mercifully was turned off. However my espresso macchiato was so insipid that further vocabulary to describe it escapes me.

                                      2. re: Nich
                                        emerilcantcook RE: Nich Jul 1, 2008 02:09 PM

                                        Well not sure about how they taste, but the espressos in Testa Rossa burn you pretty well.

                                        I was at there with a group of friends, and our server dumped a double shot on me while trying to pass it to the person next to me. You know what? Shit happens, I am clumsy too (in fact too clumsy to work at any kind of food service). And I was fine with some acknowledgment of "bad" since I didn't suffer much physical or psychological trauma afterwards. Well my poor belly was red for a day or two, but I've seen worse sunburns. However, whatever happened afterwards was kind of odd.

                                        I washed myself up in the bathroom and regained some dignity (which is hard when your chest and ass is covered in a brownish stain, but oh well). I decided to forget about all because I was in good company of friends and just had some good chow. After we finished our drinks, our server (who dumped the coffee on me) came back and asked if we wanted something else, "on the house". We were full from a giant meal, and we had just finished our coffees, so what else would one want? We politely declined. Then another server came back (the one who took our orders) and asked if we wanted separate checks. We said "fine".

                                        To my surprise, I was presented a bill of some two dollars some cents (what my coffee had cost). I paid all in change, and left. I am not a cheapskate, or I am not trying to score some freebie, but I thought the norm was to comp the person that was done bad in this case, non? It is just too cheap to charge someone (especially when it is a couple of bucks) after accidentally scalding them. I am overreacting here?

                                        PS: Having had some other really odd coffee shop experiences recently, I am thinking that I got into some "barista blacklist" in this town. Ouch!

                                        1. re: emerilcantcook
                                          carswell RE: emerilcantcook Jul 1, 2008 02:37 PM

                                          «It is just too cheap to charge someone (especially when it is a couple of bucks) after accidentally scalding them.»

                                          That's one way of looking at it. On the other hand, you got two coffees for the price of one... ;)

                                          Glad you survived without a trip to the General's burn unit.

                                      3. carswell RE: Jeff Aug 4, 2006 07:20 PM

                                        The best thing I can say about the café au lait I had a couple of hours ago at Duc de Lorraine is that it was drinkable. The concept of microfoam has yet to penetrate the establishment's bourgeois in-a-rutdom. Flavour was nothing to write home about either. The pastry was, of course, delicious and the sunroom with tables and lace curtains has a pleasant European feel. Big bowl of café au lait + raisin roll + tax = $7. www.ducdelorraine.com/english.html

                                        Wish I could be more positive about the double espresso I then ordered at Cafélix (5159 Côte des Neiges, 514 223-0361), since the young couple behind the counter couldn't have been sweeter. The cup was nicely warmed but crema was minimal and the coffee per se was thin and sour and had an astringent finish like a tannic red wine. I couldn't wait to get home and brush my teeth. The space is cosy; there's a small terrace in front (taken over by smokers this a.m., alas); and they serve a range of sandwiches and other light-meal fare. Double espresso + tax = $3.36.

                                        A café au lait and pastry ordered on a Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago at the Laurier branch of Pâtisserie de Gascogne were similar in every way to Duc de Lorraine's. However, obtaining them required standing in line a ridiculous 15-20 minutes. Big bowl of café au lait + almond croissant + tax = $7. Hard to justify a return visit with Toi, Moi et Café just across the street or Café Olimpico a short walk away.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: carswell
                                          carswell RE: carswell Jul 19, 2008 11:54 AM

                                          Cafélix changed hands a while back. Desperate for a caffeine hit this morning, I dropped by for a double espresso, my first visit under the new régime. Pleased to say it wasn't bad and any shortcomings were due mainly to the beans -- Miscela d'Oro (Grand'Aroma, I believe) -- and not the grind, Faema machine or barista's hand. Decent crema and body, only natural bitterness. The barista expressed surprise when I ordered because my plain, short espresso was the second he had pulled for a customer this morning -- unprecedented, he said. In any case, while not worth a detour, it's no longer dreck and probably the best shot to be found in the neighbourhood.

                                        2. t
                                          themself RE: Jeff Dec 17, 2006 03:25 AM

                                          Frankly, if Vancouver is your point of reference, Montreal will be a disappointment. Art Java's solid, Olimpico's ok (a bit like Calabria on Commercial Drive in Van), but unfortunately nothing here is really on par with Artigano or JJ Bean.
                                          Best beans I've found have been at Cafe Union on Jean-Talon. Toi, Moi et Cafe had ok beans, Aux quatre vents did not.

                                          1. carswell RE: Jeff Apr 5, 2007 06:12 AM

                                            Went on another soggy espresso bar crawl -- the second triennial, I believe -- with visiting Chowhound arkestra yesterday afternoon.

                                            First stop was Café Union (148 Jean-Talon West), where we had an espresso standing at the bar (why do so few places in Montreal offer this option?). Good crema, pleasant aroma, velvety texture, soft flavour (it tasted brown) with some complexity and a bitter edge, fair length. Good overall. Will return when in the nabe but wouldn't suggest making a special trip.

                                            Second stop was Bar Sportivo (6804 St-Laurent), where the shots looked good and tasted fine: coarser, darker, more southern style than Cafe Union's suave northern cup, the flavour chocolatey and mouthfilling with an appealing rasp and again some bitterness. Would gladly have ordered a second cup, though if I return it will be as much for the trippy rumpus room decor (bright red and green bar stools and chairs, soccer balls showcased behind the bar) and pleasant service as for the espresso.

                                            Third stop was the new Caffè ArtJava shop downtown (north side of Président Kennedy a couple of doors east of University and directly across from the PK entrance to the McGill metro station). In a word, fabulous, the best espresso I've tasted in Montreal, including at the mother store on Mont-Royal. Fragrant, intense, rich, layered, deep, broad, long. A fluid but at the same time almost syrupy texture. Perfect acidity, no bitterness or sourness, just pure essence of coffee. arkestra rightly said the closest sensation was eating a piece of fine dark chocolate. Served in a nicely heated, naked (transparent glass) demitasse, the better to appreciate the thick layer of crema. Simply world-class. If they had a stand-up bar, I'd be dropping by every time I was downtown.

                                            10 Replies
                                            1. re: carswell
                                              lagatta RE: carswell Apr 5, 2007 07:05 AM

                                              Capitole, at the Jean-Talon market, now serves Illy espressos in those little Italian paper cups for a very cheap price. I live in Little Italy, so rarely stray afield - Caffè Italia is certainly the best coffee bargain in Montréal!

                                              Is Testa Rossa from the Austrian part of Tirol? Rotkopf?

                                              1. re: lagatta
                                                carswell RE: lagatta Apr 5, 2007 07:28 AM

                                                "Capitole, at the Jean-Talon market, now serves Illy espressos in those little Italian paper cups for a very cheap price."

                                                Yep. Unfortunately, the people running the machine are button-pushers, not baristas. And then there's the Illy beans, which are an issue for a lot of espresso geeks.

                                                "Caffè Italia is certainly the best coffee bargain in Montréal!"

                                                Caffè Italia was the winner of our first triennial espresso bar crawl (Faema, Caffè Italia and Café International; a report can be found on that other board). However, since arriving in Montreal, arkestra had already made several trips to the bar, including one just before our rendezvous at Cafe Union, and, if I recall correctly, said he found the shots there and at Café Olimpico disappointing this time around -- inferior to the ones we had at Café Union and Bar Sportivo and simply not in the same league as ArtJava's brown bliss. That could be due to the barista, though arkestra's sampling was at various times over at least a couple of days. It's been a while since my last visit and I plan to make amends. Even so, I doubt it will efface memories of that pricier but incomparable ArtJava shot.

                                                arkestra's Web access is dicey for the duration of his stay, but I'll encourage him to chime in with a report once he's back home.

                                                1. re: carswell
                                                  lagatta RE: carswell Apr 5, 2007 07:35 AM

                                                  Oh, I wouldn't ever claim the Capitole coffee is the best in Montréal or even in the neighbourhood - it is just a nice little shot in the arm (cheap, too) while shopping.

                                                  I really enjoy Café International - rather more pleasant atmosphere than Caffè Italia - though the latter must be savoured as an immigration-history experience, and is actually tolerable now that the smoking ban is in effect here. Also sets tables out on the pavement when the @#$%?&* snow has finally left for good. (I'm in a foul mood this morning due to the @#$%?&* April snow - merda!

                                                  1. re: carswell
                                                    arkestra RE: carswell Apr 9, 2007 08:09 PM

                                                    Although I don’t have his palette or verbal skills, I’ll take up Carswell’s offer to share my impressions of some of the coffee establishments I experienced during a recent one-week visit to the city. Two things stood out. First, there are many places where one can get a very good espresso. (Coming from Southern California, I definitely appreciate that.) For example, you can walk into any of a number of places around the Jean Talon market and get a really nice espresso. Second, IMHO, Caffé Art Java stands out, head and shoulders, above the rest.

                                                    Caffé Art Java opened a couple months after my last visit to the city, so I was really looking forward to going there. I headed to the original café on Mount Royal, where I had breakfast and a couple of espressos. What a treat! Lots of crema without any bitterness. It was like drinking fine dark chocolate. From Art Java, I drove straight to Caffé Italia which, until now, had been my favorite place. Was the coffee bad? No, not at all. It’s just that when compared to Art Java, it’s not in the same league as far as I’m concerned. And coming straight from Art Java, it really stood out. (I went to Caffé Italia a couple more times during my visit. The shots were better, but still nowhere near as good as Art Java’s.) Later in the day, I found myself at Café Olympico, which I also enjoyed during prior visits to the city (though not as much as Caffé Italia). This time, I was disappointed. The coffee seemed a little bitter and was pulled a little too long. Of course, it was only one shot. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to go back a second time.

                                                    I really enjoyed the first two places I tried with Carswell – Café Union and Bar Sportivo. I felt the shots were pulled a little better at the latter, though the raw material (i.e., coffee) at the former was better. And then there was Art Java’s new branch on Pres. Kennedy. Another real treat. Although it’s very hard to say, if pushed I’d probably have to say that I preferred the shots at the new branch over those at the original Mount Royal location. (It’s also worth mentioning that because all orders are placed at the bar, it’s much easier to go in and order only coffee at the new location.)

                                                    All in all, some great coffee in a great city. Here (I hope) are two photos I took. The first is from Caffé Art Java. Not a great picture, but check out the crema (some of which had dissipated by the time I got out the camera). The second is from Bar Sportivo.

                                                2. re: carswell
                                                  Fritzy RE: carswell Jun 3, 2007 12:15 PM

                                                  I had stopped by the Caffe Java Art on Président-Kennedy last February and tried one of their short espressos with its incredibly thick crema and knock-you-off-your-chair intense coffee aroma – unfortunately, at the time, the espresso itself was quite bitter but I have heard they have addressed that problem since then.

                                                  I returned a just a few days ago to try one of their equally well-reputed milk-based drinks. I ordered a regular-sized latte (12 oz – they also had 16 oz) served in an impressively large cup. Well, it was definitely the best latte I ever had: very frothy that stayed that way through the entire experience, and it managed to be both light and rich and delicate at intense all at the same time. (And this is ignoring the fact that it was visually artful too.)

                                                  It was about 2:30 when I arrived and I had a hard time deciding what to eat at that hour. Ultimately I opted for a chocolate and vanilla cheese cake; instead of a crust, it turned out that the cake rested on a thin layer of intensely bitter dark chocolate bits. The bitterness of the dark chocolate set off the sweetness of the upper layers perfectly! And it turned out to be a perfect accompaniment to the latte that I had left unsweetened. I hadn’t ordered a cheese cake in a restaurant in more years than I can remember, but this was a nice way to get reacquainted with the item.

                                                  1. re: lagatta
                                                    Fritzy RE: lagatta Jul 26, 2007 10:36 AM

                                                    Now that you mention it, Lagatta, are there any places in town that serve café-au-lait in those French-style, dish-like, pedestal bowls? It is somehow especially comforting to hold one of those my hands for the first hot drink of the day.

                                                    1. re: Fritzy
                                                      SnackHappy RE: Fritzy Jul 26, 2007 01:28 PM

                                                      A number of place do that including Brulerie St-Denis, Laika... I'd bet money that L'Express does.

                                                      1. re: Fritzy
                                                        carswell RE: Fritzy Jul 28, 2007 07:04 AM

                                                        Any of the French-leaning espresso shops and cafes that serve breakfast will have them. In addition to the places SnackHappy mentions, I know I've seen them at Aux Deux Marie; Toi, Moi et Café; Duc de Lorraine; ArtJava; Pâtisserie de Gascogne; and La Petite Ardoise.

                                                      2. re: Fritzy
                                                        lindylou RE: Fritzy May 16, 2008 07:18 PM

                                                        Is it possible to buy espresso beans at Cafe Art Java? I will go this weekend and check it out.

                                                        1. re: lindylou
                                                          carswell RE: lindylou May 16, 2008 07:41 PM

                                                          Yes. They always seem to have Gimme!'s Leftist and Platinum Blond blends and often the Deep Disco. That said, if you're after espresso beans, head to Caffè In Gamba (various blends and single origins from Zoka, Intelligentsia, 49th Parallel, P&T, etc.).

                                                    2. e
                                                      edumont RE: Jeff Apr 8, 2007 03:12 PM

                                                      In my opinion, Caffè Italia is hands down the best place for espresso in Montreal. Although your shot may vary slightly from barista to barista, when Bruno is around you are not disappointed and you'll get to witness a real lifelong career barista pull shots as opposed to some anonymous college kid... These guys have been pullin shots for a long time, long before the "Food Network" set made it fashionable or corporations began pouring small fortunes into "gourmet" coffee shops.

                                                      1. s
                                                        skinner RE: Jeff Apr 8, 2007 07:46 PM

                                                        Cafe Rico roasts daily, it's consistently delicious, beats Toi Moi et Cafe, Zanetti, etc and anywhere downtown that I've tried in taste and on price (although I agree Cafe Italia serves a great shot, Cafe Rico sells a great shot and the fresh roast too)

                                                        thanks for the other tips though, I work downtown now and am baffled by the lack of good espresso there

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: skinner
                                                          lagatta RE: skinner Apr 9, 2007 03:28 AM

                                                          Yes, Café Rico is my coffee chez moi - Gayo, to be precise (a mocha, making an espresso reminiscent of Vienna...). I remember a good little Italian café somewhere above Maisonneuve, is it on Stanley? Can't remember the name, as of course when I have an espresso, if it isn't here in La Piccola Italia, it is on the Plateau or Outremont...

                                                        2. b
                                                          BLM RE: Jeff Apr 16, 2007 07:14 PM

                                                          I was looking at the local Weekend magazine on the newstands now, & they listed their top 10 cafe places in Montreal. Most were the usual suspects, but two were not. They listed In Cafe(I think that's the name) in the Jean-Talon Market & Cafe Vasco da Gama(not usually mentioned for their coffees). Any opinions on the coffees at these two establishments?

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: BLM
                                                            carswell RE: BLM Apr 17, 2007 04:49 PM

                                                            Don't recall much about the coffee at CVdG but if the Weekend tasters rank the coffee at Café-In (I think *that's* the name) as among the city's best, they're not to be trusted unless things have changed radically in recent months. Same owner as Brûlerie aux Quatre Vents on the south side of the market, or so I've been told, which on the basis of my sampling -- limited, I admit (I'm not a masochist) -- has to rate as one of the worst coffee roasters in the city.

                                                            1. re: carswell
                                                              lagatta RE: carswell Apr 17, 2007 06:14 PM

                                                              There are no memorable places within the market proper, alas - I remember a lovely Italian joint pre-renovations belonging to two brothers, at the southeastern corner of the market. Very good coffee, proletarian prices, and the requisite number of market workers there early in the morning. I often met a ragazza there before we both got down to work. At 7 a.m. It became a Maghrebi butcher's/grocers/sandwich shop - no, not L'Olivier which has been a neighbourhood fixture for decades (on St-Denis north of Jean-Talon before relocating to the market) but another place that seems to serve no useful purpose...

                                                              Guess I resent the loss of the good, cheap coffee, without attitude.

                                                              1. re: lagatta
                                                                skinner RE: lagatta Apr 17, 2007 07:12 PM

                                                                I was totally unimpressed by CVdG. They didn't seem to have much love for their espresso--taste was flat, price was too high. They're serving Illy when Mtl has plenty of great local roasts--seems more like 'bad, expensive coffee, with attitude.'

                                                                If you like Union though there is a cafe/bakery just opened on the corner of Stanley and deMaissonneuve, ground floor of the condo on the southwest corner, street access. They aren't cheap at 2.60 something for a shot, and it's a straight button-push Rancillio, but the roast is fresh from Union, and the crema is dark and delicious. A bit pricey for me (although well in-line with downtown prices) but the best shot in that two block radius that I've found

                                                              2. re: carswell
                                                                BLM RE: carswell Apr 17, 2007 09:11 PM

                                                                Any restaurants(excluding cafes) in Montreal producing a mean great coffee?

                                                                1. re: BLM
                                                                  swissfoodie RE: BLM Apr 18, 2007 02:41 AM

                                                                  Olive et Gourmando makes a mean espresso with this coffee from Trieste.

                                                                  1. re: swissfoodie
                                                                    BLM RE: swissfoodie Apr 18, 2007 07:55 AM

                                                                    I'm concentrating on strictly restaurants(not cafes, bakeries, cafe/bakeries).

                                                                  2. re: BLM
                                                                    coco_beware RE: BLM Feb 21, 2008 12:04 PM

                                                                    Santropol! Great coffee, great food, great vibe. I'm a Montrealer away from home and it's one of the first places I head to when I'm visiting.

                                                              3. RhondaB RE: Jeff Apr 19, 2007 11:57 AM

                                                                While ordering some of the best cannolis I've ever had at Casa Aletti on Jean Talon East, I was offered one of the best espressos I've had in a while. Granted it's a bit of a shlep to go for an espresso, but so worth it if you love cannoli. And to sit down at a table there & combine the 2, well ... it doesn't get much better. Intense flavour with a nice thick crema - for both! As hard as it is to believe, the remaining cannolis were still crispy & toothsome the next morning.

                                                                12 Replies
                                                                1. re: RhondaB
                                                                  SnackHappy RE: RhondaB Apr 19, 2007 12:07 PM

                                                                  Where is this Casa Aletti you speak of? Google comes up with bubkes.

                                                                  1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                    carswell RE: SnackHappy Apr 19, 2007 12:25 PM

                                                                    Probably the most frequently misspelled name in Montreal pastrydom:

                                                                    Pasticceria Alati-Caserta
                                                                    277, rue Dante, Montréal, QC H2S 1K3
                                                                    514 271-3013

                                                                    It's located right across from Notre Dame de la Défense, the church with the fresco of Mussolini. And, yes, they do make superb cannolis, lobster tails and assorted cookies. Never thought to try their coffee though (thanks, RhondaB!).

                                                                    1. re: carswell
                                                                      Mr F RE: carswell Apr 19, 2007 12:36 PM

                                                                      I hope Rhonda will confirm, but I think you'll be disappointed to learn she probably means:

                                                                      Pâtisserie Alati - 514-729-2891
                                                                      5265, rue Jean-Talon Est, Saint-Léonard

                                                                      1. re: Mr F
                                                                        carswell RE: Mr F Apr 19, 2007 01:02 PM

                                                                        Righto. Got distracted by the Casa and missed the Jean Talon East. Too much coffee or not enough sleep, I guess.

                                                                        As you may recall, one eGer proclaimed their cannolis the city's best and Alati-Casserta's barely edible (he also declared Caffè Italia's espresso dreck...). Four-wheeled friends who live out that way are less enthusiastic. Have yet to schlep out to St-L, though the prospect of good coffee and biking weather makes the thought less unappealing. It's not *that* far from the St-Michel metro station...

                                                                        1. re: carswell
                                                                          BLM RE: carswell Apr 20, 2007 12:17 AM

                                                                          Re-read the eG thread. Going to Pattiserie Alati wouldn't much of trek for you, from CDN(getting on metro to take you to St-Michel metro station & then 15 minute bus ride). It certainly wouldn't require 2-hour schlep(more closer to 30 minutes in total). On another matter on the same eG thread, personally I have found Lebanese pastries & Greek pastries to be very similar for "certain" pastries.

                                                                          1. re: BLM
                                                                            carswell RE: BLM Apr 20, 2007 11:57 AM

                                                                            The two hours was allowing 40-45 minutes each way and 30-40 minutes at the store. Not being a dessert hound and uncertain that there's much else of interest for non-residents in that neighbourhood, it seems like a schlep for a single pastry. But my curiosity's again piqued so I'll probably give it a shot soon, especially now that it's biking weather.

                                                                            1. re: carswell
                                                                              SnackHappy RE: carswell Apr 20, 2007 12:08 PM

                                                                              I have to be in that 'hood, this evening. I think I'll pick some up and report back. I'm no cannoli aficionado though, so don't expect the definitive verdict on the great cannoli taste-off of the aughties.

                                                                              1. re: carswell
                                                                                BLM RE: carswell Apr 21, 2007 08:45 AM

                                                                                I'm sure the St-Leonard-area has some foodie destinations beyond Pattiserie Alati, including places for good Italian coffee. Although these establishments might not be well known throughout Montreal.

                                                                      2. re: SnackHappy
                                                                        SnackHappy RE: SnackHappy Apr 19, 2007 12:25 PM

                                                                        Did you mean Alati-Caserta on Dante?


                                                                        1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                          RhondaB RE: SnackHappy Apr 21, 2007 07:14 AM

                                                                          Sorry all ... my bad ... Mr. F was right on, I did mean Pâtisserie Alati on JT East. As good as I thought Pasticceria Alati-Caserta was, I believe Pâtisserie Alati's cannoli were better. Since this is the coffee thread, would appreciate if anyone would comment back on their espresso.

                                                                          1. re: RhondaB
                                                                            peloquma RE: RhondaB Apr 25, 2007 04:45 PM

                                                                            ha the good old coffee debate, you`ll never get over it !
                                                                            I wanted to mention that if Capitol offers Illy at low prices using sub standard baristos, it is because they are the Illy distributor for Quebec... and believe me, there is a coffee control war out there, so now the Illy is going to the people and the Costco...

                                                                            Also, I like to have a good coffee at Club Social myself or Graze Mille.

                                                                        2. re: RhondaB
                                                                          carswell RE: RhondaB Jul 17, 2007 10:31 AM

                                                                          Finally made it to Alati on Jean Talon East this morning. Very pleasant shop with a few tables indoors and a small terrasse, unfortunately on the noisy Jean Talon side of the store. Though known for their cakes and pastries, they also have a few savoury offerings; I bought a beautiful spinach pizza for tonight's dinner and the panini appear to be popular.

                                                                          The cannoli were excellent: the filling smooth, creamy, slightly tangy and not too sweet, the pastry dark, crisp, just the right thickness and not too greasy. The cannoli weren't in the pastry case but were brought out from the back of the store, which I suppose means they're filled to order. While I think my allegiance remains with Alati-Caserta due to its slightly less bland filling, I can certainly see why some would prefer the St-Léonard product.

                                                                          My double espresso I was less enthusiastic about. Made from fresh ground Café Union beans on a Rancilio semi-auto two grouper, it probably would have been better if the barista had chosen either a different portafilter or a different cup and flushed the grouphead (except for my drink, the machine was not in use during my 20-minute visit). As it turned out, the coffee was drinkable but lost points for not containing the entire shot (part of the initial stream dribbled down the side of the demitasse until the barista lifted the cup and held it direct under the spouts), thin crema and a sour aftertaste (a sign of less than ideal water temp; see "flushed the grouphead" above). With a more experienced or careful barista or on a busy day, when the machine was seeing a lot of action, the shots may well be better.

                                                                        3. carswell RE: Jeff May 13, 2007 09:54 PM

                                                                          Looks like the espresso scene is about to get even hotter.

                                                                          Café Veritas is slated to open the first week of June. Located on St-Laurent and Notre Dame in Old Montreal. Shots will be pulled on three-group Synesso machines. Beans may come from 49th Parallel, which supplies some of Vancouver's top espresso bars, including Artigiano.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: carswell
                                                                            lagatta RE: carswell May 14, 2007 07:08 AM

                                                                            Thanks! I know some lawyers who will be very, very happy - that is right next to le Palais de Justice.

                                                                            The Illy story is interesting. The people making and serving the coffee at Capitole aren't "baristas", substandard or not, but simply the clerks who serve the prepared foods there and do the cash. It is a nice coffee hit while shopping though, at crap North-American coffee prices.

                                                                            There is a friendly little espresso-bar café at the southwest corner of St-Zotique and Christophe-Colomb now, that serves Illy coffee. Good, in a coffee desert between old Little Italy and the Consolata area around Papineau ... and on to St-Léonard, but not "best coffee in Montréal" material yet. Cute little place.

                                                                            1. re: carswell
                                                                              BLM RE: carswell Jun 3, 2007 10:28 PM

                                                                              I think it has been confirmed now they will use beans from 49th Parallel. Cafe Veritas should be opening within about a week?

                                                                              1. re: BLM
                                                                                carswell RE: BLM Jun 4, 2007 11:24 AM

                                                                                According to the owner's posts on coffeegeek.com, 49th Parallel it is and the shop's opening date is mid-June.

                                                                              2. re: carswell
                                                                                phedre RE: carswell Sep 18, 2007 06:35 AM

                                                                                It's worth noting that Veritas' Anthony placed third at the Canadian Barista Championship yesterday. Congrats Anthony! Initial reports state that the judge declared his espresso the best he'd ever had.

                                                                                1. re: phedre
                                                                                  carswell RE: phedre Oct 2, 2007 03:25 PM

                                                                                  On Monday, Anthony made me a cappuccino that was probably the best I've ever had. So good, in fact, that I sat in stunned silence staring at the cup for a second or two after each sip. He said that the cafe now receives shipments from 49th Parallel weekly, that they're buying the beans in one-pound bags (not the five-pound bags they received in the early days) to ensure optimum freshness and that he's feeling comfortable with that gorgeous Synesso machine. All I can say is that it shows.

                                                                              3. mainsqueeze RE: Jeff Jun 4, 2007 01:08 PM

                                                                                I like Art Java better, but I just wanted to mention that I had a pretty decent latte at Nicolosi Bistro (2183 Crescent) the other day. It was very strong-tasting, and rich, with a generous amount of perfect foam.

                                                                                The opera cake they served with their lunch special was especially decadent!

                                                                                It's worth a try.

                                                                                1. l
                                                                                  lsk RE: Jeff Jun 5, 2007 10:40 PM

                                                                                  I do like Caffè ArtJava a great deal, particularly the downtown branch. I do admit that I I've only recently become more discerning about my coffee, so I am technically a rather inexperienced coffee drinker.

                                                                                  However, I am enamoured with their espresso -- but only when there's a barista to do some manual tamping. They do have an automatic mill-and-tamp machine that they'll resort to when there's no experienced barista or if the experienced barista is hit with a lot of orders, e.g., lunch time, that isn't awful, but it hardly is the same as when one manually tamps it.

                                                                                  However, a shot pulled by one of my favourite baristas (look out for one by the name of Anthony) has lots of crema (a small spoonful of white granulated sugar will stay on top for two-three seconds), strong without being grittily bitter, rich, and smooth. Your best bet is the weekday, just before or after the lunch rush when the barista is not slammed with orders.

                                                                                  I swore off milk-based espresso drinks a while back, but their lattes are smooth, delicious, and quite pretty. Their Mont-Royal branch is also good, even on busy weekends, and the menu is fairly good, from what I've heard.

                                                                                  Don't bother with Vasco de Gama. They may serve Illy, but it's weak with little crema and the service is somewhat snotty.

                                                                                  1. Fritzy RE: Jeff Jun 14, 2007 11:34 AM

                                                                                    CoffeeGeek is reporting that Cafe Veritas (480 St-Laurent/corner Notre Dame) will be openning today (June 14th) at noon serving and selling the vaunted 49th Parallel coffee.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Fritzy
                                                                                      phedre RE: Fritzy Jun 15, 2007 07:20 AM

                                                                                      I stopped by Veritas on my way to work this morning and got their first cappuccino of the day. The signs proclaimed that they had just opened today and to be patient! It was quiet, and the debit machine wasn't working yet, but the people were very friendly and the cappuccino was incredibly good. Rich, creamy, smooth, and delicious!

                                                                                      I'm happy to finally have a great cappuccino spot in the old port! I also look forward to trying their sandwiches and smoothies as the summer progresses.

                                                                                    2. carswell RE: Jeff Jul 10, 2007 08:09 PM

                                                                                      More great news for local espresso hounds.

                                                                                      In a week or two, an espresso bar (don't have a name yet) will be opening on the east side of Park Ave. between Fairmount and St-Viateur. No deets about the equipment but they'll be the first Montreal establishment using (and selling) beans from one of North America's top roasters, Intelligentsia. www.intelligentsiacoffee.com

                                                                                      20 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: carswell
                                                                                        phedre RE: carswell Jul 19, 2007 05:55 AM

                                                                                        Thanks for the heads up! With Veritas within walking distance of work, Olimpico at home, and now this? I'm in coffee-loving heaven nowadays.

                                                                                        1. re: carswell
                                                                                          carswell RE: carswell Jul 30, 2007 07:41 AM

                                                                                          The soft opening is slated for this Friday. Official opening is in about two weeks.

                                                                                          Caffè in Gamba
                                                                                          5263 Parc

                                                                                          They also plan on having a long bar so you can drink your doppio while standing. Indeed, their motto is "We stand for espresso." Sounds great!

                                                                                          1. re: carswell
                                                                                            phedre RE: carswell Aug 4, 2007 01:20 PM

                                                                                            I walked past 5236 Parc today on my way back from Anjou Quebec, no signs of life yet.
                                                                                            The windows are still papered over.

                                                                                            1. re: phedre
                                                                                              BLM RE: phedre Aug 4, 2007 04:12 PM

                                                                                              I did the same thing earlier today(it's actually at 5263 Parc).

                                                                                              1. re: BLM
                                                                                                phedre RE: BLM Aug 4, 2007 05:48 PM

                                                                                                Sorry, typo on my part :) Yep, 5263.

                                                                                              2. re: phedre
                                                                                                BLM RE: phedre Aug 5, 2007 11:09 PM

                                                                                                Checking the discussion again on CoffeeGeek, Caffe Gamba did have a 'sneak preview' opening on Friday afternoon(August 3rd). Seems they will open officially in about 2 weeks(at least that's their plan).

                                                                                                1. re: BLM
                                                                                                  phedre RE: BLM Aug 6, 2007 05:49 AM

                                                                                                  Did anyone on the board make it? I'm insanely curious about their espresso!

                                                                                            2. re: carswell
                                                                                              carswell RE: carswell Aug 13, 2007 05:41 PM

                                                                                              Caffè in Gamba (5263 Parc) is now fully functional -- though still without a website -- and the first reports (including from Veritas's most excellent barista Anthony) are positive. They're also selling Intelligentsia beans from bulk bins, not prepacked in bags, meaning you can buy any quantity you want and mix-n-match to your heart's content. Hope to check it out in a day or two.

                                                                                              1. re: carswell
                                                                                                phedre RE: carswell Aug 18, 2007 10:16 AM

                                                                                                I made the walk this morning to Gamba, a bigger feat than I would have thought on crutches! They were extremely friendly, and still putting the finishing touches on the place. It's pretty! I like the colours and general atmosphere. Their machine is a work of art in and of itself.

                                                                                                I had an espresso which was deep, dark, and rich with a lovely crema and texture. Accompanying this was an acceptable almond croissant, and then I had a cappuccino. While not as good as Anthony's (whose is?), it was still very nicely done, and I expect they will only improve as time goes on They comped my espresso, which was very nice of them.

                                                                                                It was quiet, but then it was 10 AM on a Saturday morning.

                                                                                                1. re: phedre
                                                                                                  carswell RE: phedre Aug 18, 2007 12:18 PM

                                                                                                  Thanks for the report. Work and chores have kept me from dropping by but I hope to remedy that soon.

                                                                                                2. re: carswell
                                                                                                  phedre RE: carswell Sep 7, 2007 06:07 AM

                                                                                                  On Veritas: Anthony's back in school so his shifts have changed. He's now working M-W-F and Saturday for sure. Not sure about Sunday.

                                                                                                  If you want a bit of a show, stop by at around 2:30 in the afternoon when he's practicing for the barista competition.

                                                                                                  1. re: phedre
                                                                                                    lagatta RE: phedre Jan 25, 2008 07:09 AM

                                                                                                    I'm attending a meeting at City Hall this afternoon - so I can try out Veritas!

                                                                                                    1. re: lagatta
                                                                                                      carswell RE: lagatta Jan 25, 2008 07:53 AM

                                                                                                      I believe Anthony leaves the store around 3 p.m. these days. While the other baristas are competent, he's in a league by himself -- so much so, in fact, that it's worth trying to rejig your schedule to hit the store while he's there.

                                                                                                      1. re: carswell
                                                                                                        lagatta RE: carswell Jan 25, 2008 07:58 AM

                                                                                                        Thanks! That is perfect, as my meeting starts at 3pm, so I'll have a shot of espresso beforehand. I don't usually have coffee after the morning, but I'll make an exception to try this place.

                                                                                                        1. re: carswell
                                                                                                          ostap RE: carswell Feb 20, 2008 08:36 PM

                                                                                                          Could you please tell me, what are Anthony's hours now?

                                                                                                          1. re: ostap
                                                                                                            Anth RE: ostap Feb 21, 2008 01:57 PM

                                                                                                            Mon - Fri, 8AM - 2PM, sometimes later if it it's busy.

                                                                                                            1. re: Anth
                                                                                                              ostap RE: Anth Feb 21, 2008 08:08 PM

                                                                                                              Thank you. I know I should try this coffee.

                                                                                                      2. re: phedre
                                                                                                        carswell RE: phedre Jul 3, 2008 12:51 PM

                                                                                                        The bad news: Anthony is no longer working at Veritas.

                                                                                                        The good news: Anthony is preparing to open his own espresso bar downtown. ETA: four months.


                                                                                                    2. re: carswell
                                                                                                      carswell RE: carswell Aug 19, 2007 04:05 PM

                                                                                                      Spent an hour at Caffè in Gamba this afternoon. Started with a first-rate espresso made from Vergnano 1882 beans. Deep and dark with good crema, as phedre says, and a long aftertaste with a slightly bitter edge. Then a macchiato, made with the same beans: fine, winning points for world-class foam and rich flavour, losing a half point for a hint of unnatural bitterness from overextraction (by the barista's own admission). A ham and cheese panino was impeccably made, though next time I'll opt for one of the more flavourful fillngs. A final espresso -- an unintended double -- made from Intelligentsia's Kid-O blend was browner and sweeter than the Vergnano but lacked some of the latter's depth; I can see why they recommend the Vergnano for straight espresso and the Kid-O for lattes and other milk-based drinks.

                                                                                                      Despite the steady flow of customers, service was smooth and friendly; I even had an interesting 20-minute chat with the personable owner and prime mover, Jean-François, who gave up a career as a lawyer to follow his heart's desire. They're still working the kinks out of their beautiful Faema E65 three-grouper (a Legend, I believe). J-F said it was running a degree or two hotter than he'd like (he plans to have the thermostat adjusted) and he couldn't manage to pull a wholly satisfactory single espresso of Kid-O while I was there, though the double presented no problems. Unusually for local espresso bars, substandard shots get tossed -- a measure of the CiG's dedication to quality.

                                                                                                      Fifteen or so silos are arrayed along the wall near the entrance. The plan is for them to hold beans -- mainly espresso blends -- from a range of top roasters. The current lineup includes Chicago-based Intelligentsia's Kid-O and Black Cat, Turin-based Vergnano's 1882, Seattle-based Caffè D'arte's Firenze #10 and a custom blend and decaf from Montreal's Café Union. Beans from Vancouver-based 49th Parallel (including the epic Epic blend) and Healdsburg-based Flying Goat are scheduled to arrive soon. In other words, this looks set to become Montreal's premier store for espresso beans. The bar also has a small selection of espresso machines and grinders for sale at what look to be good prices.

                                                                                                      A half dozen gelati made by Léo le glacier are on offer at the back of the store. All pastries, including the cannoli, come from La Cornetteria.

                                                                                                      Decor is clean and airy, professional without being slick. For those who don't mind sitting alongside Park Ave., there's a small tree-shaded terrace in front. The business card gives an addrees for a website -- www.caffeingamba.com -- that's not yet up and running.

                                                                                                      Caffè in Gamba is a labour of love -- you can really feel it. Already an unmissable addition to the city's coffee scene, it fills several gaps: a one-stop shop for espresso beans, an Italian-style bar where you can drink a great shot while standing and be in and out in a flash, and a homey place that takes its espresso seriously. Here's wishing them lots of business and a long and prosperous future!

                                                                                                      1. re: carswell
                                                                                                        carswell RE: carswell Aug 20, 2007 08:14 AM

                                                                                                        Neglected to include an important piece of information: if you're a first-time customer, your first coffee is on the house. They didn't say so, but I imagine this is a limited-time grand opening special, so seize the day.

                                                                                                    3. Fritzy RE: Jeff Jul 23, 2007 10:00 AM

                                                                                                      I just came back from a seven day visit to Montreal and managed to consume 7 espressos in a variety of settings and a couple of cappuccinos. So here are the highlights and low lights:

                                                                                                      Most surprising: I stopped by Premiere Moisson 1490 Sherbrooke W around 5:30 in the afternoon after a hurried day. Ordered an espresso to rest up. It had very little crema but the coffee itself, while a little dilute, had a soft well-balanced taste with almost no bitterness. Quite delicious actually. (PS: there croissants had a bready texture I am not use to but were quite agreeable nevertheless.)

                                                                                                      Worst of the 7 espresso’s I had: Segafredo Zanetti, Ste-Catherine across from the Paramount. When it arrived it looked promising sitting in its attractive black square cup: there was a good-looking, substantial coppery crema on top of a very black coffee color. I just admired it for a while and took a sniff or too. Then time to sip: it was totally forgettable, watery and bland! (On another note: their stuffed mushroom snack was good as was the dark Leffe draft; the very Italian vibe was agreeable, the service attentive, but the music was overwhelming loud.)

                                                                                                      Most intense: Walked over to the new Café Veritas, 480 St-Laurent a bit south of Notre-Dame, Old Montreal on a late (4 o’clock), rainy, Thursday afternoon – the place was almost empty. I ordered an espresso for myself and a cappuccino for my companion. Anthony of coffegeek.com fame was pulling the shots. He apparently didn’t like the first one he pulled and threw it away and pulled me a second. It was the darkest of dark black in color and it had by far the most intense coffee flavor I have ever experienced! I am not sure it is for everyone, but those looking for an intense sensory experience, it was definitely out of the ordinary. My companion’s cappucino (that I had a couple of generous sips of) was creamy, tasty and well-balanced, very much in the style and quality of Caffe Java Art. The only other cappuccino I had on this trip was at the Presse Café on de Maisonneuve W. near rue Guy: it was definitely not in the same league as Veritas or Caffe Java Art, but still well above the North American average.

                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Fritzy
                                                                                                        carswell RE: Fritzy Jul 25, 2007 04:49 PM

                                                                                                        Thanks for this and the other recently posted reports, Fritzy, which are always useful and interesting.

                                                                                                        While work hasn't left me any time for espresso bar hopping, today it took me to Old Montreal, so I bopped into Veritas for a first visit. If the decor is clean to the point of being sterile, it does mean you can get a clear view of the gorgeous Synesso machine, manned this morning by the ubiquitous Anthony (does he *sleep* there?). The espresso ($1.99) -- the first of the day, he said -- was impressive: deep, broad, long and, yes, intense with a texture bordering on syrupy and a raspy, slightly bitter bite. Crema was thick if not as amazingly so as on some of the shots pulled (by Anthony, I believe) at the downtown ArtJava shop. (This may be due to the beans, 42nd Parallel's Epic blend, which Anthony said were approaching their best before date; the shop has been receiving shipments every other week but will be switching to weekly smaller shipments to ensure optimum freshness.) Pastry selections were limited to muffins (the place's slogan is "Be true to your body"); my cranberry-orange number was tasty enough, not overly sweet or oily but a little dry. The shop also has a small breakfast menu (whole-wheat waffles, omelets, crepes, etc.) as well as a wide range of healthy-sounding soups, salads, sandwiches and smoothies at prices that seem more than reasonable for the location. A take-out latte ($3.49) was as good as any I've had in the city: sweet and mellow with textbook microfoam and a beautiful rosette (it looked like child's play to pour; it isn't). In short, this is one of the city's premier coffee shops and well worth a detour for local and visiting espresso lovers. I know I'll be back.

                                                                                                        1. re: carswell
                                                                                                          Fritzy RE: carswell Jul 26, 2007 10:25 AM

                                                                                                          You’re right about the espresso’s texture. It has a viscosity similar to vodka that has been left outdoors overnight in minus 30C weather: just starting to develop a slight syrupy consistency.

                                                                                                          1. re: carswell
                                                                                                            phedre RE: carswell Jul 26, 2007 01:38 PM

                                                                                                            I've had the opportunity to try a few more of their offerings since I first visited, and overall I'll give it a thumbs up.

                                                                                                            The sandwiches are delicious, and I hear reports that the breakfast oatmeal is a definite must have (though I'm avoiding it in this heat). The only salad I've had so far was the pasta and pesto, which was bland despite the fresh basil piled on.

                                                                                                            Coffee-wise, I am in heaven. I've stocked up on the beans recommended by Anthony for my french press and have not been disappointed! I'm there every morning for a cappuccino, and have been known to head back mid afternoon for a second.

                                                                                                            It's rather quiet there lately, which is disappointing, we definitely don't want this gem to disappear! I'll admit my jaw kind of drops when I watch people walk right past with second cup coffee cups in hand. I want to shake them and say "Do you REALISE what you're missing?!"

                                                                                                            1. re: phedre
                                                                                                              carswell RE: phedre Jul 28, 2007 06:59 AM

                                                                                                              "It's rather quiet there lately, which is disappointing"

                                                                                                              Wondered about that. During the 20 to 30 minutes I spent in the shop at around 10:30 a.m. on a Wednesday, there were two other customers, one eating breakfast (sans coffee), the other buying a take-out latte. And, as I mentioned, the barista said mine was the first espresso of the day. Granted this is Quebec's downtime -- I don't imagine things are hopping at the nearby Palais de Justice, for example -- but the streets were crawling with tourists and the two inferior shops on St-Laurent in the block north of Notre-Dame both had several customers.

                                                                                                              Café Veritas has a website, btw, though it's mostly free of useful info or any mention of coffee: www.cafesanteveritas.com

                                                                                                              1. re: carswell
                                                                                                                BLM RE: carswell Jul 28, 2007 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                I was there twice during their opening weekend. The place was very very quiet(I was about their only customer). Part of their dilemma, was the signage of the place at the time(if I wasn't looking for Cafe Veritas I would probably have missed it).

                                                                                                                Sort of along the same lines. I went by Brasserie Brunoise earlier this week around early supper time, & it was very very quiet, considering there was a Police concert at the Bell Centre that night(& the other restaurants around the area was hopping with customers). I ate there around 2 months ago, & it was pratically empty.

                                                                                                            2. re: carswell
                                                                                                              skinner RE: carswell Aug 1, 2007 09:25 PM

                                                                                                              Went to Cafe Veritas this Sunday and the barista was not working they told me--it definitely showed in the coffee. My girlfriend had a cappucino that was a mess, bitter and too cool, and my espresso was the same, not impressive, nowhere near Cafe Art Java or Cafe Rico. I will definitely go back, though, just on a day when the right guy is working! I'm sure it's just opening month jitters.

                                                                                                              Also, for people working near Peel and Stanley, there's a woman who runs a Lebanese food counter at the Peel Metro entrance, at the bottom of the escalator, and she has a decent espresso machine. The shots are not the best by any stretch, but they have a decent crema and at 1.50 total they're half the price of others in the neighbourhood.

                                                                                                              1. re: skinner
                                                                                                                phedre RE: skinner Aug 4, 2007 05:55 PM

                                                                                                                Anthony works the afternoon shift @ Veritas from Monday to Friday. Definitely worth the return trip!

                                                                                                                I must say, while I've always had impeccable service there, I have heard many stories of lackluster service. I really hope they can get it together because I do love having them nearby.

                                                                                                          2. f
                                                                                                            frank the edible crayon RE: Jeff Jul 26, 2007 10:56 AM

                                                                                                            You should try the espresso or coffee at Cluny on Prince street in Old MTL. Definitely my favorite. http://eatwellmontreal.com/cluny-rest...

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: frank the edible crayon
                                                                                                              phedre RE: frank the edible crayon Aug 18, 2007 11:11 AM

                                                                                                              I had the espresso at Cluny, along with a sandwich. While the sandwich was tasty, I found the espresso harsh and bitter with none of the smooth roundness I've grown accustomed to at places like Art Java and Veritas.

                                                                                                              But it was a one-off tasting, so I could have just gotten a bad pull. I'll give it another try before writing it off.

                                                                                                            2. Fritzy RE: Jeff Jul 28, 2007 09:54 AM

                                                                                                              When you order a "double espresso" in Montreal, what exactly gets doubled?

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Fritzy
                                                                                                                carswell RE: Fritzy Jul 28, 2007 10:19 AM

                                                                                                                The volume. Standard shot is 1.25 to 1.5 oz. A double (or *doppio*) is 2 to 3 oz. Of course, the portafilter should also be holding double the amount of ground coffee (most commercial portafilters accept baskets of various sizes).

                                                                                                              2. buzz_sapien RE: Jeff Aug 14, 2007 07:40 AM

                                                                                                                Café Lili & Oli is a pretty fun stop on a coffee tour of the city. On Notre-Dame, corner Charlevoix near the Atwater market. Cool ambiance and music, very relaxed spot.

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: buzz_sapien
                                                                                                                  bigfellow RE: buzz_sapien Dec 13, 2009 08:28 AM

                                                                                                                  I stopped by here yesterday for the first time. While the coffee wasn't earth shattering, it was a very decent cup (espresso). I love the atmosphere and it is 4 blocks from home...I think I just found my coffee home!

                                                                                                                  1. re: buzz_sapien
                                                                                                                    vinet RE: buzz_sapien Sep 3, 2010 01:58 PM

                                                                                                                    My favourite! Very simple, very neighbourhood place. I love espresso, and -- for my money -- they make the best espresso I've had in Montreal (and I'm Italian). It's not the coffee itself (they grind Lavazza) but the preparation, with lots of care and attention. I've been to so many places, in Montreal and all over the world, where there is this fetishistic thing about the origin of the beans, and the roasting -- and then they do a terrible job of making you a cup of espresso! Not so at Lili & Oli.

                                                                                                                    Also: the home-made muffins are amazing! And the staff is very genuine.

                                                                                                                    Lili & Oli
                                                                                                                    2515 Rue Notre-Dame W, Montreal, QC H3J1N6, CA

                                                                                                                  2. phedre RE: Jeff Sep 20, 2007 02:25 PM

                                                                                                                    Coffee fanatics: head down to CiG ASAP for a treat. JF has imported Paladino from Zoka, which arrived two days ago, and is selling out fast!

                                                                                                                    While I was there, he whipped up a fantastic macchiato with the paladino. To my palate, it's a gorgeous blend, rich, round, with a fantastic mouthfeel, and little acidity. There's all of five bags left, so get them while you can.

                                                                                                                    1. é
                                                                                                                      épicurieux RE: Jeff Sep 21, 2007 08:10 PM

                                                                                                                      Hi Jeff, first time posting here... I agree with you with Artigiano, their places are nice and they serves very nice (latte art) and tasty coffee. In Montreal I would definitely recommend Cafe Santé Véritas, they use the 49th parallel coffee "epic espresso". No acidity, almost sweet like chocolate, very good one ! You have to try it, also their food is excellent.

                                                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: épicurieux
                                                                                                                        john99 RE: épicurieux Oct 13, 2007 05:58 AM

                                                                                                                        This is my first time posting here, and i do visit the joints in little italy but recently I checked out EspressoNet , they are on the corner of wollfe and St Catherine. I was surprised ...montreal could use places like this ....great espresso shots, chic cafe , friendly staff and reasonable prices. I tried an espresso at ArtJava in the Plateau and compared it to Espressonet's and this neew place place came out a winner.

                                                                                                                        1. re: john99
                                                                                                                          selectohh RE: john99 Jan 24, 2008 11:33 AM

                                                                                                                          does anyone know where you can buy miscela d'oro espresso coffee in montreal? i had this in new york and it blew my mind. i'm looking to buy the grind not just pick up an espresso somewhere..


                                                                                                                          1. re: selectohh
                                                                                                                            SnackHappy RE: selectohh Jan 24, 2008 12:22 PM

                                                                                                                            According to the internet, they have it at Cafélix in CDN.

                                                                                                                            See carswell's review above: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/98712...

                                                                                                                            You could call them and see if they sell the beans.

                                                                                                                            1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                                                                              SnackHappy RE: SnackHappy Jan 24, 2008 12:56 PM

                                                                                                                              This just in: They sell them at Ripaille et Bombance on St-Denis.


                                                                                                                              I really should try to turn my mad googling skills into a money making business.

                                                                                                                              1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                                                                                carswell RE: SnackHappy Jan 24, 2008 01:10 PM

                                                                                                                                The person who answered Cafélix's phone said yes when I asked if they sold the beans, but she spoke little English and less French, so I wouldn't take that as definitive. Will try to check it out in person the next time I pass in front of the store.

                                                                                                                                I'm also sure I saw bags for sale in the last month or two but can't recall where. Don't think it was a coffee bar. Milano? Latina? Will keep an eye peeled.

                                                                                                                                1. re: SnackHappy
                                                                                                                                  carswell RE: SnackHappy Jul 19, 2008 12:07 PM

                                                                                                                                  Asked today at Cafélix. They don't sell beans, only food and drinks.

                                                                                                                                2. re: selectohh
                                                                                                                                  carswell RE: selectohh Nov 10, 2009 08:14 AM

                                                                                                                                  For the record, several Au Pain Doré outlets now carry Miscela d'Oro coffee, including beans.

                                                                                                                            2. b
                                                                                                                              blusky RE: Jeff May 24, 2008 05:48 PM

                                                                                                                              Just came back from Brulerie St Denis (st Denis location), and I have to say that was one of the most unpleasant experiences ever. Not only the coffee was crap, but as soon as I sat at one of the many empty and dirty tables outside to enjoy a smoke with my so called coffee, the owner came outside and from gave me a whole speech on how she's paying waiters and I should have ordered to stay, and then asked me to get up and leave (on the spot). I was in a shock. How unethical is that? Aside from the fact that she could not speak English, there was no sign mentioning the "rules" of the place.
                                                                                                                              I am never going to that place again, that was a first even for Montreal...

                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: blusky
                                                                                                                                cherylmtl RE: blusky May 24, 2008 07:06 PM

                                                                                                                                Would you go to a pizza place, order a pizza for takeout, and then sit at one of their tables to eat it? How is this any different? Takeout is exactly that - takeout. If you wanted to sit outside (on a gorgeous sunny day, when there were probably others waiting for tables outside) you should have ordered accordingly. To pick up a takeout coffee and then sit at a table is just crass at a place with table service, and it doesn't take posted rules, but common sense to figure that out.

                                                                                                                                As for the owner not speaking English, what does that have to do with anything? This is Montreal, after all, and St. Denis in specific.

                                                                                                                                1. re: cherylmtl
                                                                                                                                  Anth RE: cherylmtl May 24, 2008 10:13 PM

                                                                                                                                  If they're that uptight about table service they shouldn't offer counter service, I never understand why some cafes try to maintain both. And It's not crass to order a coffee in a paper cup and then sit down for a while, some people prefer the option of sitting down with their coffee for five minutes before being on their way.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Anth
                                                                                                                                    superbossmom RE: Anth May 25, 2008 04:35 AM

                                                                                                                                    I have to agree with anth, sitting with your take out coffee is not comparable to eating a pizza out of the box at a table.

                                                                                                                                    The owner could have made her point known without being rude about it though; or else she should put up big signs stating that the tables are for full service only.
                                                                                                                                    Brulerie st denis serves meals, I believe, so it is different than a starbucks that has a few tables outside but it's understandable that a client would sit with a coffee and not reason out the whole scenario.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Anth
                                                                                                                                      blusky RE: Anth May 25, 2008 09:23 PM

                                                                                                                                      The thing is, not only there were empty tables (uncleaned with dirty dishes staked on them) and no people waiting to be served, nobody mentioned to me any rules... I simply wanted a coffee and wanted to enjoy a smoke and then walk away still sipping my coffee. Is that unusual????
                                                                                                                                      What bothered me was the fact that she was rude, and kicked us out... I would have understood if she was nicer and said something like "next time please order for here" (even tho' that makes no sense). After all I bought my coffee, paid and tipped for it, and for a manager/owner she had absolutely no ethics.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: blusky
                                                                                                                                        cherylmtl RE: blusky May 25, 2008 11:21 PM

                                                                                                                                        Did she ask if you wanted the coffee for there or to go? And how many was "us" - were the others drinking coffee as well, or were you the only one? If you ordered a coffee to go, and sat down to drink it with others who had ordered nothing, her attitude starts to make a bit more sense...it doesn't excuse her for it, but it does clarify things a bit.

                                                                                                                                2. j
                                                                                                                                  JadeMyst RE: Jeff Jun 12, 2008 10:40 AM

                                                                                                                                  While waiting for the 11 am opening time of the Musée des Beaux-arts, I wandered down Crescent Street to buy some chocolates from Divine Chocolates. After snacking on a couple of truffles I went a little further south and saw a little Swiss Chocolate shop that sold espresso & other coffee so I went in to have a cappacino to kill time. It was very good but the truffles were too expensive I thought as I ended up paying $6+ for for 1 truffle & 1 capp, but the ambiance was lovely. I sat on a small French Provincal couch surrounded by Swiss Cuckoo clocks which went off every now and then to compliment the sound of pouring rain we've been having lately. It was all very delightful. I'll go again but next time I'll ask how much for one truffle before I order one :)

                                                                                                                                  1. b
                                                                                                                                    Beto_pan RE: Jeff Jun 12, 2008 03:57 PM

                                                                                                                                    Mirroring what most here have said, Caffe Art Java and Veritas are the real deal. Anthony wasn't on duty when I was there, but I had a really, really good espresso from a young woman. Didn't get her name, but she had a tattoo of Chinese script on her right forearm.

                                                                                                                                    1. e
                                                                                                                                      english muffin RE: Jeff Jul 2, 2008 10:57 AM

                                                                                                                                      Coming out of lurker mode to wonder why no-one has mentioned the fabulous espresso served at the Festin de Babette. I know they're more famous for their hot chocolate and choc & ginger brownies BUT I rate their espresso as one of the best in town. I'm referring to the ATT (Antica Tostatura Triestina) as they have a couple of different sorts. Anyone else a fan?

                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: english muffin
                                                                                                                                        moh RE: english muffin Jul 2, 2008 02:24 PM

                                                                                                                                        English muffin, good to see you coming out of lurking! I also like their espresso very much, but I am in general a big fan of this place. I am also not the biggest connaisseur when it comes to espresso...

                                                                                                                                        1. re: english muffin
                                                                                                                                          emerilcantcook RE: english muffin Jul 2, 2008 02:50 PM

                                                                                                                                          Yes it is pretty decent. Even better when drowned in some house made (?) vanilla ice cream, affogato style.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: emerilcantcook
                                                                                                                                            english muffin RE: emerilcantcook Jul 2, 2008 03:20 PM

                                                                                                                                            Ooh yes the Café Raphael is delicious. I'm also very partial to the ginger and pear frozen yogurt, but I wish they'd use proper preserved stem ginger rather than the sugar covered candied ginger they use. Ho hummm...

                                                                                                                                        2. e
                                                                                                                                          EdT RE: Jeff Jul 18, 2008 06:28 PM

                                                                                                                                          Heres a simple test that won't cost you a dime, go into any establishment claiming to be a cafe or coffee shop and ask for a cup of fresh brewed Keyan AA, if they look at you funny, get out fast !

                                                                                                                                          Coffee shops have no rights calling themselves a "cafe" if they don't serve a cup of Kenyans !

                                                                                                                                          As for expressos, no comments ...any coffee connisseur would avoid those, robusta fried beans ...ewww

                                                                                                                                          Surprisingly, Second Cup serves a cup of Kenyan at a very reasonable price of $2 wheareas Starbuck has no clue why they are selling coffee ?

                                                                                                                                          For fast food coffee's McDs is now the best and least expenisive of the coffees, Tim Hortons uses cheap Brazilian and Columbian beans and I never understood why people liked their coffees !

                                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: EdT
                                                                                                                                            Anth RE: EdT Jul 18, 2008 07:11 PM

                                                                                                                                            Kenyan AA is nice but why is it better than an Ethiopian Sidamo or any other origin/varietal? That's an odd standard to go by, no?

                                                                                                                                            People who don't like espresso would avoid it, coffee fans who like it as a brew method look for the shops and baristas who take care to practice and improve their craft. Not all blends contain robusta, most micro-roasters don't even buy robusta anymore anyway. If you like Kenyan varietals, try brighter espressos with citrus notes - Black Cat from Intelligentsia comes to mind, especially their more recent efforts.

                                                                                                                                            Second Cup is just like Starbucks in almost every way, just because they sell Kenyan doesn't mean they brew coffee with any skill or passion. McD and Timmie's employees have probably never seen an intact coffee bean, much less cared to know the origins of the the pre-ground pre-portioned coffee.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: EdT
                                                                                                                                              RealityMonster RE: EdT Oct 10, 2008 09:11 PM

                                                                                                                                              Espresso is its own art. If you've only had terrible espresso, I suspect that you've only been places where the person making it didn't know how, or the beans were improperly roasted or both. It's not an easy thing to pull a consistently good espresso, and a lot of baristas in cafés that I've been to don't even taste their own work.

                                                                                                                                              I'm currently attached to a Kenyan Peaberry that I love as a brewed coffee. I also love a good Yirgacheffe or Harrar, and I've recently picked up on a coffee from Honduras; the Coarene.

                                                                                                                                              Now does anyone know where I'd be able to get something like that in Montreal? I'm getting all this stuff from a café that does its own roasting here in Edmonton: Transcend. I'll be moving out in about a month, though, and I don't want to give up that fresh-roasted experience.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: RealityMonster
                                                                                                                                                emerilcantcook RE: RealityMonster Oct 11, 2008 06:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                Brulerie St Denis sells single origin coffees, and as far as I know all are roasted on the premises. They are not a world class roaster, but a decent one... And I am not the biggest expert on coffee (just a budding coffee dork), but we have enjoyed a number of different ones in the past year (mostly using a French press), and seem to go back to their Yirgacheffe very often.

                                                                                                                                                Yup, there is even a list of their coffee in the web site.


                                                                                                                                                1. re: emerilcantcook
                                                                                                                                                  carswell RE: emerilcantcook Oct 11, 2008 07:55 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Brûlerie is my fallback for single-origin coffees, too, and not just because they're the closest roast to my flat. Though they never rise to the level of, say, the Intelligentsia SOs you sometimes find at Caffè In Gamba, the beans are usually fresh and always true to varietal and they make a decent cup. Brûlerie also has varieties you don't often encounter elsewhere in town, like Puerto Rico. Toi, Moi et Café, Café Rico and Aux 2 Marie also sell SOs, though I wouldn't rate them above Brûlerie.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: carswell
                                                                                                                                                    lagatta RE: carswell Aug 30, 2010 01:55 PM

                                                                                                                                                    I'm so happy to have that Brûlerie St-Denis counter at Dorval (Trudeau) airport! Not the best cup on earth or even in Montréal, but such a treat in airport food hall hell.

                                                                                                                                            2. carswell RE: Jeff Nov 1, 2008 07:15 PM

                                                                                                                                              Café Myriade http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/568023

                                                                                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                                                                                              1. re: carswell
                                                                                                                                                Jhn RE: carswell Nov 1, 2008 07:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                Speaking of coffee, I went by InGamba yesterday to get my periodic bean resupply and noticed that they carried new coffees.

                                                                                                                                                A new intelligentsia blend: El diablo Dark roast (which I bought)
                                                                                                                                                And also roasted beans from cafe vivace.

                                                                                                                                                For those of you who don't know what cafe vivace is (and who are coffee lovers), it is worh it to go read on it and on it's founder on the internet. Supposedly this blend contains a certain amount of robusta beans from "top quality" lots / geography like india. I didn't buy those since I they had been roasted for a week already, but when I'll go back, I'll try to get some fresher ones and report on them.

                                                                                                                                                As for the Intelligentsia El diablo, it is definitly worth trying for any espresso lover. It's a nice change from the usual third wave espresso blend...


                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jhn
                                                                                                                                                  carswell RE: Jhn Nov 2, 2008 05:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                  «As for the Intelligentsia El diablo, it is definitly worth trying for any espresso lover.»

                                                                                                                                                  Also good in a press pot, especially if you like a sleek, clean cup with good acidity and dark chocolate notes. It's a blend of African (I'd guess there's some Kenyan in there) and Latin American beans.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Jhn
                                                                                                                                                    williej RE: Jhn Dec 27, 2010 09:34 AM

                                                                                                                                                    What is third wave? What were the first and second wave? I am guessing first was nescafe? Second was beans? Third is...? Is there a fourth wave?

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: williej
                                                                                                                                                      celfie RE: williej Dec 27, 2010 10:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                      here's a decent article on the coffee waves, with description of 4th wave
                                                                                                                                                      by this standard, myriade, or at least anthony is 4th wave

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: williej
                                                                                                                                                        vanierstudent RE: williej Jan 10, 2011 06:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                        From what I understand.
                                                                                                                                                        First wave coffee: cheap cup of joe that you'll find everywhere.
                                                                                                                                                        second wave: ethnic coffee shop, such as the Italian coffee shop or the Turkish Coffee shop.
                                                                                                                                                        Third wave: when people are treating coffee as a unique produce that has a terroir, and not as a commodities as flour.

                                                                                                                                                  2. b
                                                                                                                                                    bigfellow RE: Jeff Jan 21, 2009 12:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                    I just moved home from the West Coast after being away 30 years. I lived at Cafe Artigano in Kerrisdale. The closest that I've found to it downtown is Café Myriade at 1432 MacKay St. . Very highly recommended.

                                                                                                                                                    1. j
                                                                                                                                                      JoufflueFarfelue RE: Jeff Jan 21, 2009 12:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Best coffee in town is definetly found at Caffe Italia on St-Lawrence (Little Italy)!
                                                                                                                                                      Should you want to make your own, go to Lino's down the street. Mr. Lino sells the best beans in Montreal. Great deals to be found on coffemakers as well.

                                                                                                                                                      1. w
                                                                                                                                                        Whygee RE: Jeff Feb 3, 2009 08:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                        I don't want to hijack this thread but I've just ran out of coffee beans and I'm looking for a new source. I usually try to buy mine at Green Mountain Coffee in Vermont, but I've not been around since the exchange rate is so-so.

                                                                                                                                                        Cafe Union is great and their prices are hard to beat, but the location and opening hours are not very convenient for me.

                                                                                                                                                        Since this is recession time, my maximum price would be around 25$/kg. ;-) I've found great deals online, but the shipping to Canada usually adds to much. Right now my preference is for SO African coffees.

                                                                                                                                                        Any ideas on the best bean-for-buck?


                                                                                                                                                        19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Whygee
                                                                                                                                                          carswell RE: Whygee Feb 3, 2009 08:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Check out the following threads. Café Myriade often has lovely Latin American beans from 49th Parallel.

                                                                                                                                                          Café Myriade

                                                                                                                                                          Espresso Beans

                                                                                                                                                          recommendations for good coffee to buy

                                                                                                                                                          Finding good espresso in Montreal

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: carswell
                                                                                                                                                            celfie RE: carswell Feb 3, 2009 01:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                            $14-$17 for 750g 49th parallel at myriade. you definitely won't go wrong with any of their offerings - plus you'll get yourself a free drink w/ them.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: celfie
                                                                                                                                                              carswell RE: celfie Feb 3, 2009 01:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                              «$14-$17 for 750g 49th parallel at myriade.»

                                                                                                                                                              Check your bag. My most recent 49th Parallel purchase at Myriade -- the Cafetalera Herbazú Estate from Costa Rica -- ran $13 or $14 but that was for a 12-oz (340-g) bag.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: carswell
                                                                                                                                                                celfie RE: carswell Feb 3, 2009 02:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                my mistake

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: celfie
                                                                                                                                                                BLM RE: celfie Feb 3, 2009 03:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                For a short time just before Christmas, Cafe Myriade was offering 2-1 for all their 750 g 49th Parallel coffee bags(I found out too late to get some).

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: BLM
                                                                                                                                                                  carswell RE: BLM Feb 3, 2009 03:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Stop the insanity! ;)

                                                                                                                                                                  Just called Myriade to double-check. They sell no 49th Parallel coffee beans in 750-g bags. Espresso beans come in 1-lb (454-g) bags. Other beans come in 12-oz (340-g) bags. See for yourself: http://www.49thparallelroasters.com/s...

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: carswell
                                                                                                                                                                    BLM RE: carswell Feb 3, 2009 03:47 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    Sorry, I was just responding to Celfie's post(didn't check closely your post just below).

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: BLM
                                                                                                                                                                      celfie RE: BLM Feb 3, 2009 04:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      apparently i'm struggling with the metric system

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: celfie
                                                                                                                                                                        moh RE: celfie Feb 3, 2009 05:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Clearly you've been overdosing on inexpensive chocolate :) Metric just goes right out the window...

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: moh
                                                                                                                                                                          celfie RE: moh Feb 3, 2009 07:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          you're telling me. i bought 7 bars today and between the 3 of us, there is 1 left (i think)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: celfie
                                                                                                                                                                            Whygee RE: celfie Feb 4, 2009 08:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Well, 14$ for 12 oz is too expensive, but 14$ for 1 lb is a good price so let's hope it's the latter ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                            I'll try to check out Myriade since it seems to be the better deal of all the places mentioned in those threads (it's also the only one I've never visited). Unfortunately, it's not in my part of town so my quest is not over (I don't have a proper grinder yet so I try to buy small quantity of ground coffee on a regular basis).

                                                                                                                                                                            Any recommendations on the Plateau? I went to Art Java but the beans are just too expensive. I was also surprised to see that even the Brulerie St-Denis beans are more than 30$/kg at the grocery store. Maybe I should be willing to pay more...

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Whygee
                                                                                                                                                                              ianholic RE: Whygee Jun 7, 2009 01:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Whygee, I usually go to Jean Talon market to get my Santropol beans. It's usually 9 to 10 dollars per pound. I think that's a very reasonable price. You can buy these beans all around the city. There's one grocery store near McGill (where I live) that carries these, though the price is much higher (24.50 per kg) and I suspect these beans are older than at the Jean Talon market (probably due to less demand). I love coffee. Went through an espresso phase a while ago, but now I'm into making manual drips at home. Hopefully you will find these beans satisfactory in your criteria.

                                                                                                                                                                              One question to folks here... It seems the discussion here has been mostly on espresso. While I do love a good shot of espresso, my usual drink will be a dark black coffee. Is there any place (preferrably near downtown) that I can find a decent hand-drip or siphon? It seems Cafe Myriad offers though, but I haven't been there yet. Any recommendation will be appreciated. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ianholic
                                                                                                                                                                                carswell RE: ianholic Jun 7, 2009 01:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Myraide has it all: espresso family drinks (including a superb allongé), syphon, French press, Eva Solo, drip and more. Beans and grinds are optimal for each method. It's a coffee and tea bar, not an espresso bar. And it's world class.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: carswell
                                                                                                                                                                                  Fritzy RE: carswell Sep 6, 2010 10:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Spent too much time in the hospital to do much travelling this year, but I walked into Myriade a few days ago after an absence of least a year. Anthony spotted me in the process of ordering an Eva Solo. After shaking my hand and saying 'welcome back'
                                                                                                                                                                                  he said I have something really special for you. I have loan of a Bunn Trifecta for a month and I have just been practicing on it for the last six hours. You will be the first customer in Quebec to have a Trifecta brewed cup! He selected an Ethiopian for the 'launch'. What can I say? It was spectacular: a cup of full-bodied and rich textured, a fantastic aroma and a yet a very clean brew. I could drink this everyday! If Anthony starts using the Trifecta, and he asks if you want a brew from this machine -- "YES" is the only possible answer you should consider!

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Fritzy
                                                                                                                                                                                    carswell RE: Fritzy Sep 9, 2010 02:17 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Glad to hear you're up and about, Fritzy. And thanks for the heads-up about the Trifecta. Will check it out soon.

                                                                                                                                                                                    A couple of the better Youtube overviews of the Trifecta brewing process:

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: carswell
                                                                                                                                                                                      Fritzy RE: carswell Sep 9, 2010 09:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks for those Youtube links (!) even if it does feel like watching coffee geek porn -- in the best possible sense of course :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                      But seriously, no wonder the Trifect brewed cups taste so spectacular. Coffee Hounds should check it out if they get the chance...

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: carswell
                                                                                                                                                                                        celfie RE: carswell Sep 10, 2010 05:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        flavour is great but temperature is too low

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: ianholic
                                                                                                                                                                                    moh RE: ianholic Jun 7, 2009 10:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    The siphon at Myriade is indeed wonderful. My personal favorite is the siphon with EL Salvador beans, the flavour is pure and bright and very complex. They also do excellent drip coffee, and they are always experimenting with different beans and extraction methods to perfect their product. They will also refuse to serve drip coffee that has been sitting too long. They used to make each one individually as ordered, but now due to increased traffic they use a system that allows them to brew 4 cups at a time. If the coffee sits for more than about 20 minutes, it gets tossed. I tried to suggest some creative ways to avoid coffee waste, such as using it in iced coffee, but in fact, they are incredibly picky about the quality of all their products, and they have already come up with an optimal way to brew ice coffee. Well, this is why we love them! Their attention to detail and quality is incredible.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: moh
                                                                                                                                                                                      Fritzy RE: moh Jun 10, 2009 03:49 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I have an ancient Cona vacuum coffee maker that I am too lazy to use very often, so I had Anthony make me a cup with his high-tech siphon. It produced an incredibly clear brew! His recommended Ethiopian Sidamo was very intense without even the smallest trace of bitterness: a nice paradoxical experience. Well worth the $8 splurge!

                                                                                                                                                              3. s
                                                                                                                                                                stumptonian RE: Jeff Jun 25, 2009 05:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                hello from a visiting portland oregon coffee lover (and lucky to have 7 independent coffee houses within a 15 minute walk of my portland house, including the fantastic Albina Press, and not a chain for in the neighborhood thank god). Looking forward to checking out Montreals offerings. Any particular suggestions for right now? Im intrigued and a bit confused by some of the espresso nomenclature which differs a bit from the language/culture of portland.....

                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: stumptonian
                                                                                                                                                                  Anth RE: stumptonian Jun 25, 2009 07:33 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  No stumptown, not much in the way of updosed ristrettos, you might have to expand your horizons a bit while you're here :)

                                                                                                                                                                2. t
                                                                                                                                                                  Tap2009 RE: Jeff Jun 25, 2009 11:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Re Patiserrie Gascoigne: Definitely not the best coffee. Try Union Coffee 148 RUE JEAN-TALON O
                                                                                                                                                                  (514) 273-5555. I was never a coffee lover until I tried theirs.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. dumpling2 RE: Jeff Jun 26, 2009 10:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    CAFE OLYMPICO ON ST-VIATEUR.
                                                                                                                                                                    the best.
                                                                                                                                                                    hands down.
                                                                                                                                                                    feels like you in Italy.

                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: dumpling2
                                                                                                                                                                      celfie RE: dumpling2 Jun 26, 2009 12:52 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      very good but not hands down. not always consistent but definitely the best neighbourhoody coffee spot around

                                                                                                                                                                    2. w
                                                                                                                                                                      wilde_Mtl RE: Jeff Jun 27, 2009 10:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      It is, without a doubt, Cafe Myraid on Mackay, near St-Catherine. AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!
                                                                                                                                                                      The owner, Anthony Benda, is like, the 6-time Canadian best barrista of the year winner. He is obsessed with the art of great coffee, and there is NOTHING in the city like his Cappuccino. It's closer to....pudding, it's so rich and perfect. Must go!

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: wilde_Mtl
                                                                                                                                                                        Mtl_foodie_life RE: wilde_Mtl Oct 24, 2013 10:19 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        I have to agree, I can't make it through the morning without stopping there for a cappuccino

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Mtl_foodie_life
                                                                                                                                                                          artstate RE: Mtl_foodie_life Oct 24, 2013 08:40 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          I've passed by a couple of times and it was pretty crowded so I didn't think I had enough time to wait. How long does it usually take to get a cappuccino there?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: artstate
                                                                                                                                                                            Food Tourist RE: artstate Nov 2, 2013 02:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Same as any other place - it's worth a little wait!

                                                                                                                                                                      2. hungryann RE: Jeff Jun 27, 2009 10:11 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Will they be open on Canada Day?

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: hungryann
                                                                                                                                                                          kpzoo RE: hungryann Jun 28, 2009 05:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Their blog says they were open on St-Jean, you could call/email/post a comment to ask about July 1: http://www.cafemyriade.com/

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kpzoo
                                                                                                                                                                            Anth RE: kpzoo Jun 28, 2009 10:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            open Canada Day, 9 - 6, will post on the website now :)

                                                                                                                                                                        2. n
                                                                                                                                                                          nanomed RE: Jeff Nov 10, 2009 07:50 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          So many good coffees in Montreal! Go to Caffe Italia in Little Italy - the best by far and you will have the pleasure of being surrounded by many old Italian men arguing and having endless conversations. Also have a coffee at one of the cafes on St-Viateur in Mile-End. You have a couple there that will not disappoint you at all. My favorite is Club Social...

                                                                                                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: nanomed
                                                                                                                                                                            pinalafina RE: nanomed Nov 10, 2009 08:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            I second Caffe Italia. The place is not fashionable but the coffee is excellent and inexpensive.

                                                                                                                                                                            In general Italians know how to make great coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: pinalafina
                                                                                                                                                                              NickMontreal RE: pinalafina Dec 2, 2009 07:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              I didn't want to start a new thread on the topic of best coffee in Montreal as it's clear that already it has been discussed ad nauseam. I would however just like to point out that I don't see anywhere on this thread any mention of Faema coffee beans.

                                                                                                                                                                              When I purchased an espresso machine from Faema on St. Laurent and Jean Talon last year they provided me with a free bag of their house espresso beans. I can not recommend them highly enough. The coffee is wonderfully smooth, and has a lovely malty, chocolatey flavour. I love it. It's a very satisfying coffee to make at home, the espresso comes oozing out of the machine like treacle, with a thick, foamy crema.

                                                                                                                                                                              Cafe Union, of course, is also very good for coffee. I particularly like their Elite espresso blend. Once or twice, though, I've bought a dud batch from them - the beans were a little burnt and the coffee had a very unappealing bitterness. 99% percent of the time though - it's some pretty damn good stuff.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: NickMontreal
                                                                                                                                                                                cherylmtl RE: NickMontreal Dec 2, 2009 08:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                The Faema beans used to be the standard in our house - until we discovered 49th Parallel's Epic Espresso. There's no going back now...

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: NickMontreal
                                                                                                                                                                                  carswell RE: NickMontreal Dec 2, 2009 08:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Gotta agree with Cheryl. The beans from Faema, Lino, Caffè Italia, Café Union, etc. are always serviceable and sometimes better but they really can't hold a candle to those from some of the artisan roasters that are now available in our fair city. The artisan beans tend to be of a higher quality; they're roasted more obsessively; they're fresher; and there's more variety, not to mention more varietals. Myriade has the best selection of (Canadian!) 49th Parallel, including custom blends (the just-arrived Christmas Blend is lovely), though you'll also find them at Gamba, Veritas and even Les Douceurs du Marché. From a variety standpoint, Caffè In Gamba is espresso bean central, with a constantly changing lineup that includes Zoka, Intelligentsia, Metropolis, Terroir, Koffee Klatch and PT's, to name only a few. ArtJava stocks several blends from Gimme! in Ithaca.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: carswell
                                                                                                                                                                                    NickMontreal RE: carswell Dec 2, 2009 09:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Interesting. Although I love the coffee we buy, I'm always willing to shop around for a better bean.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Will try some of your suggestions... thanks guys.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: NickMontreal
                                                                                                                                                                                      thehotplate RE: NickMontreal Dec 2, 2009 05:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      if you're looking for excellent coffee try cafe neve (corner of rachel and du bullion). don't forget to grab their famous giant cookie on your way out!

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: thehotplate
                                                                                                                                                                                        torontrealais RE: thehotplate Dec 13, 2009 12:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Agreed. A welcome addition to the Montreal coffee scene. They serve 49th Parallel and seem to bake cookies nonstop - a lovely combination :)


                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: carswell
                                                                                                                                                                                      phedre RE: carswell Dec 14, 2009 06:10 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      I stocked up this weekend - Zoka Paladino and Intelligentsia House Blend at Gamba, and 49th Parallel El Salvador from Myriade.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Neither place disappointed - had a fantastic cappuccino and hot chocolate at Myriade, along with a lovely chocolate cupcake with pistachio frosting, then lattes and a sandwich at Gamba. All in all, a bit of coffee heaven!

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: nanomed
                                                                                                                                                                                  lagatta RE: nanomed Aug 30, 2010 01:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Have any of you been to Café San-Siméon on Dante? (a former social club, now open to the public). Surprisingly good coffee, just across St-Dominique from Quincaillerie Dante. They made me a macchiato with a little heart.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. r
                                                                                                                                                                                  Regina Margherita RE: Jeff Mar 18, 2010 12:18 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  I second the best Espresso coffebeans to buy is at Caffe Lino in Little Italy. The place looks dumpy and the service is best kept to a minimum for your sake (no conversations). My friend from Brazil has put this in her GPS and has coffees at Epoca (daytime only /avoid weeknights).

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. m
                                                                                                                                                                                    McAttack RE: Jeff Jun 9, 2010 08:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    About Art Java, it USED to be my favourite place, especially since they make proper lattes. The food was also excellent when it opened. But in the few years, it looks like it was sold to someone else because the quality took a MAJOR drop. Items were disappearing from the food menu (and that i would expect because too many items were used only on one dish, so I could imagine the spoilage), the place wasn't kept up properly and looked dirty, especially the display cases. But mostly, the coffee experience wasn't the same. I had 3 bad espressos in a row there, and that was it. Haven't been back in 2-3 years.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Can anybody else confirm this? This seems to coincide with the opening of the 2nd branch, so maybe it was sold to someone with deep pockets and profits only in mind.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: McAttack
                                                                                                                                                                                      carswell RE: McAttack Jun 9, 2010 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Art Java changed hands not long after the downtown branch opened, if memory serves. I don't recall hearing that there was any connection between the two events. There seems to have been a falling-off in the quality of both the food and the coffee since, though I have had good espressos from the downtown location recently, as well as the occasional bad shot. For quality espresso downtown, make a beeline for Café Myriade, far and away the city's best and most consistent third wave coffee house.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: carswell
                                                                                                                                                                                        BLM RE: carswell Jun 9, 2010 08:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        I think it was one of the co-owners who left.

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. SourberryLily RE: Jeff Aug 30, 2010 01:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                      This will sound ridiculous, but i had two coffee experiences that stood out, particularly because it was from unexpected places.

                                                                                                                                                                                      #1 Benelux a microbrewerie. I was not suppose to drink alcohol that night so went for an allongé for 2$. I was stunned. It was absolutly delicious! A brewery! Go figure?!

                                                                                                                                                                                      #2 Magdala on Bishop, an ethiopian restaurant. Their ethipian coffee is quite different, i believe they roast their beans and crush on site then brew in a bodum. I didn't assist the ceremony, just had the coffee. It's served in an expresso size cup, black with sugar. The coffee itself has a red tint to it and has no bitterness whatsoever. Excellent! It's expensive though, 5$.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. t
                                                                                                                                                                                        timoftheshire RE: Jeff Oct 23, 2010 02:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Hands down, Café Myriade. First truly third-wave shop in Montreal. Mackay, right across from Concordia, just south of st. cat's. Owner's name is Anthony Benda - great guy and talented barista. Knows his stuff. Their roaster is 49th Parallel (Vancouver) and their quality is consistently exceptional and exceptionally consistent. They also have fantastic teas.

                                                                                                                                                                                        #2 is a new addition to the scene: Café Nevé on Rachel and Coloniale (151 Rachel Est) - just opened by a chap named Luke Spicer, who's a big name in the third wave scene. Their roaster is Gimme! (NY state, IIRC).

                                                                                                                                                                                        #3: Caffe In Gamba (already mentioned).

                                                                                                                                                                                        FYI, I'm a massive coffee geek and I work in a third-wave shop in Vancouver so my standards are pretty high.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The downtown ArtJava isn't bad, but the espresso is a titch mediocre due to their equipment setup and lack of proper maintenance. Never been to the original one so I can't comment on that.

                                                                                                                                                                                        The one time I went to Veritas I was unimpressed enough that I don't plan on making a second trip. Easily the worst shot(s) of 49th Parallel I've ever had, despite great equipment. Lesson: equipment does not make up for skill or inattention.

                                                                                                                                                                                        But seriously, hit Myriade and Nevé. You'll be a convert in no time.

                                                                                                                                                                                        10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: timoftheshire
                                                                                                                                                                                          Psychofoodie RE: timoftheshire Nov 1, 2010 08:04 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          Completly agree with you Myriade and Gamba are the best coffee in Mtl, but as a matter of personal preference I don't like Metropolis Redline and so not a fan of the cafe at Neve. Everything else is nice tho

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: timoftheshire
                                                                                                                                                                                            TheSnowpea RE: timoftheshire Nov 6, 2010 12:48 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Speaking of Myriade, they've been carrying the Ritual brand beans. Anthony suggested I give it a try. OMfG.

                                                                                                                                                                                            It's NOT cheap, they don't have it often, but it's now the gold standard at Casa Snowpea.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: TheSnowpea
                                                                                                                                                                                              carswell RE: TheSnowpea Nov 6, 2010 02:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              Agreed. The Ritual beans are beautiful.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: timoftheshire
                                                                                                                                                                                              Food Tourist RE: timoftheshire Dec 27, 2010 07:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              This is very helpful. I'll be in Old Montreal for the next 4 days -- any very good espresso (cappuccino, latte) and/or Clover in that 'hood? In Toronto, I'm a big fan of Cherry Bomb, Mercury, Bulldog and Birds'n'Beans.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Food Tourist
                                                                                                                                                                                                TheSnowpea RE: Food Tourist Jan 2, 2011 06:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                I don't think there's a Clover machine in Montreal yet; Olive and Gourmando should have decent coffee in the Old Montreal area, but for the most part, you have to wander outside that neighborhood for great coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: TheSnowpea
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Food Tourist RE: TheSnowpea Jan 6, 2011 05:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Olive + Gourmando looked papered up when we passed by on Dec. 30. Just renovating?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Food Tourist
                                                                                                                                                                                                    kpzoo RE: Food Tourist Jan 6, 2011 05:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Their site says they're closed through January 18 and their Facebook page says they're closed til Jan. 17.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "We strongly believe in offering our staff (and ourselves) a REAL BREAK. We look forward to returning renewed energy and fresh smiles."



                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: kpzoo
                                                                                                                                                                                                      SourberryLily RE: kpzoo Jan 10, 2011 05:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      thats nice of them for their staff

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Food Tourist
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Food Tourist RE: Food Tourist Jan 6, 2011 05:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  We got cappuccino and filter coffee at Myriade - both impressed. Also enjoyed the cappuccino and macchiato at Caffe Art Java on Mont-Royal. Art Java uses JJ beans -- anyone know anything about those?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Food Tourist
                                                                                                                                                                                                    BLM RE: Food Tourist Jan 6, 2011 07:25 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    JJ beans is based in Vancouver(someone mentioned them awhile ago in this thread above I think). What coffee geeks think of their beans I'm not sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. t
                                                                                                                                                                                                timoftheshire RE: Jeff Oct 23, 2010 02:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                My mistake - Névé's roaster is Metropolis.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. b
                                                                                                                                                                                                  bulletwise RE: Jeff Nov 9, 2010 01:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Try Cafe Frutt on Decarie Boulevard. Arguably, the best espresso and pancakes in town.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. a
                                                                                                                                                                                                    ajg_montreal RE: Jeff Dec 27, 2010 06:50 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I may not be as discerning as many of you (although I have had coffee at some awesome places in San Francisco, Italy, Brazil and France, so I have a reasonable basis of comparison);

                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Best filter coffee, good lattes: Shaika in NDG (near Sherbooke and Girouard)... plus the atmosphere is great as it doubles as an art gallery but a lot of families and locals in the neighborhood go there so it's very friendly too, not at all pretentious. Those of us in NDG swear by this place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    - Best espresso: any sketchy-looking cafe in St. Leonard. You will also find incredible sandwiches there. I tried to find the names of the ones I'm familiar with, but I don't see them listed on Google... basically, they're small Italian cafes on or near Langelier. (Seriously. This area knows coffee. I could swear that even the Dunkin Donuts off of the 40/Langelier has superior coffee.) There was a really good one near the corner of Couture and Langelier last I knew, and another on Langelier in a strip mall near Lavoisier, in the same building as one of those giant wedding halls. The absolute best espresso I have ever had was in that wedding hall... it came from some sort of marvelous giant copper espresso machine that looked like a piece of art, direct from Italy, they said it was only 1 of 2 of those in Canada. I wonder where the other one is. Of course, to get espresso there, you'd have to be invited to a wedding. Short story: for espresso, skip the Plateau and go a bit further north to St. Leonard. Eat a sandwich while you're there. Oh... and I should also mention that at most of those little cafes in St. Leonard, you won't pay more than $1.50 for espresso or a cappuccino.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ajg_montreal
                                                                                                                                                                                                      lagatta RE: ajg_montreal Oct 25, 2013 06:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Those would definitely be considered "second wave", as would my favourite, Caffè San Simeon in Little Italy.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I know Montreal "directions" are askew, but we'd usually say Saint-Léonard is northeast of the Plateau.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                      cok guzel RE: Jeff Jan 20, 2011 09:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Off the beaten track but certainly the best coffee way ahead of Olympico or Cafe Italia, would be Cafe Griffin Town (note not GriffinTown Cafe which is more upmarket). The address is 1964 Notre Dame West.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Owner Nick Stivalleti is a stickler for good coffee and knows how to make the perfect espresso. If you are looking for ambience, coolness then this place might not be your cup of tea! If you are a purist - then head down.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The other place that does wonderful coffee (and cute cakes) is Cafe Fuschia on Coloniale and Duluth. A charming place where great attention is placed on every little detail...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. c
                                                                                                                                                                                                        CMT RE: Jeff Jun 7, 2014 06:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        OK, now here is something quite Montrealesque and special....we found Frank, who used to be with Caffe Italia (and his coffee was always the best there) in a newly opened espresso bar at the back of Waxman's Tuxedo rental on Parc, just north of Mount Royal.
                                                                                                                                                                                                        They have great espresso, mezzo latte (the best) and are so far, way under the radar....it is a unique experience (as is the barber shop in the back. Go and ask for a "Frank" or a "Billy".....you can't do better....Opened by Billy, as a tribute to his father (closed on Sunday, and Frank is off on Wednesday)

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