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Where to Drink Coffee in Ottawa

Simple espresso, frothy lattes, and good ol’ cups of black java in the nation’s capital.

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Ottawa’s coffee game is strong, local, and committed to its neighbourhoods: city-based chains are expanding beyond the downtown core, while independent cafés are establishing roots across the city. There’s a dedication to fair trade, organic beans here, and it’s easy to find quality local roasters as well as great beans from top Canadian and international outfits. You don’t need to look far to find a place to call home — or your office, though some shops limit wifi access to two hours.

Ottawa’s cafés also show a serious love of home baking, and often have a community vibe to them. Special events and classes take place in many cafés: from life-drawing evenings to classes on how to make preserves, board game nights to sourdough sessions. Regular latte art showdowns keep Ottawa’s baristas creative (follow your favourite shop’s Instagram to get details), so there’s no reason to settle for anything but the best coffee when you’re in or around the capital.

Looking for other Ottawa tips? Check out our maps of Ottawa’s best restaurants, brunches and cheap eats.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Palmier

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Located on the edge of Gatineau Park in Chelsea, one-year old Palmier is a destination for coffee, pastries (check out their collaboration with Red Door Provisions), and a welcoming back room. The menu also features tacos made with house-made tortillas.

Union Street Kitchen Café

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Tucked halfway between the Minto Bridges and “Fort Pearson” to the west and Rideau Hall to the east, the tiny Union Street Kitchen Café has a loyal neighbourhood following drawn in by the coffee shop’s cozy tables and home-made desserts. There’s a yoga studio in the back, too, offering classes throughout the week and on Sundays.

Red Door Provisions

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Red Door Provisions recently opened up its bright space in Beechwood Village, which means more room to enjoy their new slow bar and hang out with a coffee and one of their signature grilled cheese sandwiches or vegan pop tarts. The “provisions” in their name refers to preserves and jams made in-house. Classes for these, as well as home brewing, should start up in fall 2019.

Marius Provence

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A short walk from the Canadian Museum of History in Hull, Marius Provence showcases organic, fair trade coffee and a range of artisanal sandwiches, including vegan options. 

Planet Coffee

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Nestled in a historic courtyard in the Byward Market, Planet Coffee has been around for over twenty-five years. An espresso — and an espresso brownie — might be just the lift you need after a visit to the National Gallery or a stroll around Major’s Hill Park, both just minutes away by foot.

Bar Robo

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This snug café by day and bar by night is right at the Chinatown gate, an area somewhat light on coffee options. Bar Robo might be better known as an evening hangout, often hosting shows, but the daytime atmosphere is relaxed, with homemade doughnuts, lovely staff, and a good playlist to keep you going. 

Arlington Five

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Owned by the folks at Wilf and Ada’s around the corner, this cozy spot is worth visiting even if you’re not in the Wilf & Ada’s brunch line on the weekend. Beyond coffee, the café has events like mason jar exchanges, “life-and-death” drawing sessions, and dry bar evenings.

Bridgehead (multiple locations)

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The Ottawa coffee chain, Bridgehead’s fair trade beans and commitment to the community have helped the company grow into a major player, with each of its shops channeling funding to local community organizations. Coffee aficionados and aspiring sourdough bakers curious about where the magic happens can take a monthly tour of their spacious Anderson Street roastery and bakery. It’s the chain’s biggest location in town, but with 19 coffeehouses dotted around the city, a Bridgehead is never far away.

Happy Goat Coffee Co. (multiple locations)

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With five locations around the city, Happy Goat’s comfortable cafés are a good way to start or end a day — with open mic and board game nights, if that’s your thing. Happy Goat sells ethically sourced beans wholesale and retail, runs brewing classes, and most of the treats on offer are vegan. The original location (right here) is housed in a spacious warehouse with ample seating for the laptop crowd.

The Ministry of Coffee (multiple locations)

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One of the original third wave coffee spots in the city, the Ministry of Coffee’s recent expansions into Beechwood and the Via Railway Station build on a strong brewing reputation established at the original Elgin Street location. By day, gourmet sandwiches, baked goods, and nitro brew on tap are featured — the large Wellington Street location also stays open into the night, with craft beer and other drinks on offer.

Little Victories Coffee

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Originally housed in a bicycle shop in Hintonburg, small batch coffee roaster Little Victories has decamped to an airy new café in the Glebe. Its attention to detail is reflected in everything from the ethically sourced beans and brewing gear they sell, through to the design and printing on their bags.

Equator Coffee Roasters (multiple locations)

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Equator Coffee’s reputation for beans, brewing, and teaching extends from Westboro to beyond city limits in Almonte, while bureaucrats and art lovers alike can take in the view of Parliament from Equator’s newest location at the National Arts Centre downtown. This roaster maintains a strong connection to the communities where it sources organic, fair trade coffee, with the owners periodically heading to Nicaragua for the coffee harvest and to build classrooms. 

Quitters Coffee

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Stittsville residents flock to Quitters for daytime coffee and nighttime drinks served up by musician Kathleen Edwards. Fully licensed and kid- (and dog-) friendly, Quitters has a self-described rowdy Saturday night trivia scene, a patio, and parking. 

Palmier

Located on the edge of Gatineau Park in Chelsea, one-year old Palmier is a destination for coffee, pastries (check out their collaboration with Red Door Provisions), and a welcoming back room. The menu also features tacos made with house-made tortillas.

Union Street Kitchen Café

Tucked halfway between the Minto Bridges and “Fort Pearson” to the west and Rideau Hall to the east, the tiny Union Street Kitchen Café has a loyal neighbourhood following drawn in by the coffee shop’s cozy tables and home-made desserts. There’s a yoga studio in the back, too, offering classes throughout the week and on Sundays.

Red Door Provisions

Red Door Provisions recently opened up its bright space in Beechwood Village, which means more room to enjoy their new slow bar and hang out with a coffee and one of their signature grilled cheese sandwiches or vegan pop tarts. The “provisions” in their name refers to preserves and jams made in-house. Classes for these, as well as home brewing, should start up in fall 2019.

Marius Provence

A short walk from the Canadian Museum of History in Hull, Marius Provence showcases organic, fair trade coffee and a range of artisanal sandwiches, including vegan options. 

Planet Coffee

Nestled in a historic courtyard in the Byward Market, Planet Coffee has been around for over twenty-five years. An espresso — and an espresso brownie — might be just the lift you need after a visit to the National Gallery or a stroll around Major’s Hill Park, both just minutes away by foot.

Bar Robo

This snug café by day and bar by night is right at the Chinatown gate, an area somewhat light on coffee options. Bar Robo might be better known as an evening hangout, often hosting shows, but the daytime atmosphere is relaxed, with homemade doughnuts, lovely staff, and a good playlist to keep you going. 

Arlington Five

Owned by the folks at Wilf and Ada’s around the corner, this cozy spot is worth visiting even if you’re not in the Wilf & Ada’s brunch line on the weekend. Beyond coffee, the café has events like mason jar exchanges, “life-and-death” drawing sessions, and dry bar evenings.

Bridgehead (multiple locations)

The Ottawa coffee chain, Bridgehead’s fair trade beans and commitment to the community have helped the company grow into a major player, with each of its shops channeling funding to local community organizations. Coffee aficionados and aspiring sourdough bakers curious about where the magic happens can take a monthly tour of their spacious Anderson Street roastery and bakery. It’s the chain’s biggest location in town, but with 19 coffeehouses dotted around the city, a Bridgehead is never far away.

Happy Goat Coffee Co. (multiple locations)

With five locations around the city, Happy Goat’s comfortable cafés are a good way to start or end a day — with open mic and board game nights, if that’s your thing. Happy Goat sells ethically sourced beans wholesale and retail, runs brewing classes, and most of the treats on offer are vegan. The original location (right here) is housed in a spacious warehouse with ample seating for the laptop crowd.

The Ministry of Coffee (multiple locations)

One of the original third wave coffee spots in the city, the Ministry of Coffee’s recent expansions into Beechwood and the Via Railway Station build on a strong brewing reputation established at the original Elgin Street location. By day, gourmet sandwiches, baked goods, and nitro brew on tap are featured — the large Wellington Street location also stays open into the night, with craft beer and other drinks on offer.

Little Victories Coffee

Originally housed in a bicycle shop in Hintonburg, small batch coffee roaster Little Victories has decamped to an airy new café in the Glebe. Its attention to detail is reflected in everything from the ethically sourced beans and brewing gear they sell, through to the design and printing on their bags.

Equator Coffee Roasters (multiple locations)

Equator Coffee’s reputation for beans, brewing, and teaching extends from Westboro to beyond city limits in Almonte, while bureaucrats and art lovers alike can take in the view of Parliament from Equator’s newest location at the National Arts Centre downtown. This roaster maintains a strong connection to the communities where it sources organic, fair trade coffee, with the owners periodically heading to Nicaragua for the coffee harvest and to build classrooms. 

Quitters Coffee

Stittsville residents flock to Quitters for daytime coffee and nighttime drinks served up by musician Kathleen Edwards. Fully licensed and kid- (and dog-) friendly, Quitters has a self-described rowdy Saturday night trivia scene, a patio, and parking. 

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