Along with our great food, coffee has the wind in its sails in Montréal. A growing number of businesses, referred to as the 'third wave', offer a new experience that reinterprets the art and science of serving this coveted beverage.
With this impressive offering, it is sometimes difficult to decide. Here is my ranking of the cafés in Griffintown, the South-West and Old Montréal. I first chose them based on the criteria I describe below; I then adopted them permanently due to their proximity to our condo projects.
There are many challenges for café owners. First there is the quality of the commodity itself; some cafés brilliantly roast their own coffee beans, such as Café Saint-Henri and Brûlerie Aux Quatre Vents at the Atwater Market. Others prefer to get their product from a well-known supplier known for their many flavors and aromas of coffee.
Next there is the coffee machine to consider, the foundation on which a good coffee is made. Everything matters, especially the espresso steam that puffs the milk into a foamy mousse.
Then there is the atmosphere. Like in any metropolis, one goes into a coffee shop for any number of reasons. Some set themselves up with their laptops and get to work, while others stop in on their way to the metro. People on bikes, people taking a break, people having business meetings, or just meeting friends. The clientele and décor add a taste of panache to a café, all drowning in the sweet coffee aromas.
In Old Montréal
Le Titanic Café (445 Saint-Pierre Street)
For a good sandwich and cup of coffee.
Le Cartet (106 McGill Street)
The perfect place in the neighborhood to have a coffee at breakfast or lunch. I also go for the great interior design!
Olive et Gourmando (351 Saint-Paul West)
A landmark of Old Montréal! For your sweet tooth, coffee goes very well with their amazing house brownie ;)
Café Différance (449 ave. Viger West)
The barista Daniel Alvarez welcomes you to enjoy different coffees of exceptional quality.
In the South-West Borough:
Café St-Henri (3632 Notre-Dame West)
One of the best micro-roasters in Montréal, they have only been in operation for two short years. True enthusiasts, they even offer coffee tasting courses.
Lili & Oli (515 Notre-Dame West)
Charming little café in Little Burgundy, just a few steps from Joe Beef. The atmosphere is very relaxed and there is a great terrace in the back that is open during the summer months.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive and there are several other cafés that deserve your attention. Please share with us your list of cafés to discover in the South-West, Griffintown and Old Montréal.
Enjoy Your Coffee!
The image at the top of this post comes from Olive & Gourmando's Facebook Page.