5 places for a coffee

Posted on June 23, 2021 | By Ashley Fitzpatrick | 0 Comments

Whether it’s the kickstart for a new day or an afternoon pick-me-up, a cup of coffee can hit the spot. The Atlantic provinces have their share of importers and roasters. Look for names like Darkstar, Just Us! and Picadilly, to name just a very few, while on your travels this summer. They may even get their day in the sun here yet. But for now, we’re taking a look at a select few of the quiet cafés; the respites along our highways and byways, where the hot joe is always at the ready.


The Village Coffeehouse


The Village Coffeehouse-Canning, N.S.
The little coffeehouse that could has powered through COVID-19 trials with service that continues to draw positive reviews. Found in the sleepy town North of Wolfville on the Minas Basin, the Village Coffeehouse has built a reputation with locals and visitors alike for being that place you can have a moment, enjoy a hot latte, or have a relaxed chat with friends and simply not compete with the surroundings to be heard. The shop offers homemade treats, but keeps it simple: a few muffins, cookies, croissants from The Old Apothecary Bakery in Halifax and bagels from Montreal Style Bagel in Dartmouth. Gluten free options are available. There’s local artwork, but it’s really all about a good coffee and a welcoming feel. A good kickoff or cap to a day trip or weekend around the Annapolis Valley.


Jenna’s Nut Free Dessertery (Photo by Jenn Andrade)


Jenna’s Nut Free Dessertery-Fredericton, N.B.
Starting an ambitious no-nut, all-natural café, bakery and flour milling business, including building the physical space from scratch, is difficult enough without a pandemic, but Jenna White has persevered. Her Indigenous-owned business is also partnered with Indigenous suppliers for several unique offerings in her café, not least of all being a Wabanaki Maple latte, including syrup from Wabanaki Maple (itself located on Neqotkuk, the Tobique First Nation, offering gourmet maple syrups inspired by the traditional processing of the Peoples of the Wabanaki Confederacy; Wolastoqiyik, Mi’kmaq, Penobscot, Abenaki, and Passamaquoddy). The café has an early following, with often the first thing noticed by newcomers being the spectacular mural inside, completed by Natalie Sappier from Tobique, inspired by the Indigenous people of the area and White’s Métis heritage. “It’s nine feet by 16 feet. It’s bright and beautiful,” White said, appreciative. As for starting the business, she started developing nut-free treats after developing a nut allergy herself and encountering frustrating new barriers. If you love bakeries, a serious nut allergy is a very difficult thing, given how common it is to have everything from nut butters to almond croissants in a standard kitchen. The mom of three started selling nut-free creations at the Boyce Farmers’ Market, but wanted to develop a café space where she could offer more and give space for those with similar allergies to really relax. “I just wanted to give some freedom of choice back and have the ability for people to be able to go out to eat, to go into a bakery,” she said. The next step will be getting a mill up and running in an adjacent space. Look out for her baking mixes with all-natural ingredients, but a few extra stops for coffee to help her cover the COVID-related spike in the cost of renos would be a help along the way.


The Old Store Café


The Old Store Café-Norris Point, N.L.
The café’s hours are listed as only Wednesday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but that’s likely to catch you if you’re traveling around the communities nestled in Gros Morne National Park, on the island’s West coast. Norris Point is also home to the boutique Neddie’s Harbour Inn (with The Black Spruce restaurant), a still-standing cottage hospital building and the Bonne Bay Marine Station. The café is a morning retreat or a lunch stop, allowing you to escape from the deep-fried fare like fish and chips so common around the island. Think Greek pasta salad, smoked meat paninis or paprika potato corn chowder. There’s always something new popping up on the menu. But the café offers hot coffee and has plenty of practice with steamed milk and specialty coffees. The owners have been busy renovating next door, planning the addition of an ice cream and gift shop, so one more thing to check out this summer.


Crow’s Nest Café


Crow’s Nest Café-Twillingate, N.L.
The café is actually in Crow Head, not far from the Long Point Lighthouse (the community is only now considered part of the Town of Twillingate for the sake of municipal services and business affairs). The Crow’s Nest is a destination, where the fair-trade coffee pairs perfectly with everything from bagged lunches for take away, to something from the sweets counter. Grab a large, black coffee with a homemade orange partridgeberry muffin in the morning, wrap or soup midday, or treat yourself later in the day to a sticky bun or piece of cheesecake on the side. The café wins kudos for recently offering days for community volunteers, gifting free coffees and treats. It’s worth checking out the Crow’s Nest on Facebook to see video of a rather unique solution to the owners’ desire for a few more parking spaces around the café, without bulldozing for parking space (I mean why not just pick up and spin the house next door?).


Tyne Valley Teas Café


Tyne Valley Teas Café-Tyne Valley, P.E.I.
The café carrying the name of the Prince County village where it’s found offers lunch fare like grilled cheese or Po’ Boy sandwiches in addition to its wide selection of tea, but – as the owners also regularly remind people – coffee is on offer as well. Drop in for a taste of Americano, macchiato, cappuccino, iced latte, mocha, or any favourite, but a regular cup of the in-house blend is an option worth considering. The blend is a mix of beans, espresso and medium-bodied, offering something just a little different. You can pick up a bag of the tea house blend on the online store, to enjoy at home, or maybe a bag of 7th Wave espresso instead. In the shop, consider booking ahead for a tarot reading. They’re offered Thursday, Friday and Sunday around midday based on availability.

About our “5 Places” series: It’s been a difficult period for small businesses, particularly in tourism and hospitality. While it’s not deep investigation, we wanted to encourage the sector by taking a moment each week to shine a spotlight on some of these small businesses in Atlantic Canada, “5 Places,” with the hope of encouraging people to make some staycation plans and get out to support local (albeit with COVID and related restrictions in mind). We’re featuring spots in no particular order, but with representation from all provinces. The series will continue at least until fall 2021, looking at some hidden gems or popular stops for ice cream, kayaks, comics and more. Any tips on BIPOC-owned businesses, ideas for future themes or general feedback are welcome: [email protected].


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