The charming cobblestone streets and old brick buildings of Victoria, BC play a background to the very serious pastime of coffee drinking. Throughout the small city, you will find no shortage of locations to satisfy your craving for anything from a triple-shot no foam soy latte to a classic cup of joe. Here are five must-visit coffee shops to stop and sip with the locals.
664 Discovery Street | 18 minute walk | 7 minute cab ride
Discovery Coffee has perfected slow batch roasting and found access to the notes and undertones of layers of flavours. Located just outside of the central hub of the city, this little shop is worth going out of your way for. In the morning when the espresso machine is working at full tilt, you can let your nose lead you to the door. This founding location (there are now five others in Victoria) is perfectly situated on Discovery Street, nestled between Douglas and Government.
The cafe is divided into two spaces to best suit the needs of the visitors. If you just pop in for a cup, you can hang out in the bustling main café. If you are planning on staying a little longer, settle in to the working lounge where you will find large tables with outlets, free wifi, and large windows letting in the sunshine. The rocker vibes and hip employees keep the playlists tuned into the best tracks and are keen to help you decide if you are in the mood for a creamy espressos, cold-brew, nitro-brew, or classic pour-over. This shop takes their coffee seriously, and we thank them for that. Since all beans are roasted in house be sure to grab a bag before your flight home.
Bean Around the World
￼533 Fisgard Street | 10 minute walk | 5 minute cab ride
Quietly nestled between a boutique storefront and a heritage apartment building, this hidden gem is one you won’t want to miss. Known for the friendly staff, baked goods, and amazing lunch specials, this spot has everything you’re looking for. As you walk through the front door, you will be greeted with the intense aroma of freshly baked banana bread and espresso. Don’t forget to take a look around to notice the historic brick walls, collection of antiques, and a large ladder (which the baristas climb to retrieve more beans from the loft). All of this, and a hanging canoe above the foyer gives the place an eclectic and welcoming feel that will make you want to stay and sip for a while. This location is only minutes away from our Victoria Harbour Air terminal in the heart of the historic Chinatown district.
965 Kings Road| 10 minute cab ride | 32 minute walks
If you stop to listen, you can hear the quiet buzz of locals lining up for a fresh brew of morning espresso. The approachable and genuine staff are masters at creating handcrafted lattes, americanos, and a local favourite – an almond milk cortado [smaller than a latte, but larger than a macchiato]. Their roasting facility next door gives you the inside peek on how coffee transforms from a green bean to a perfect beverage, every time. This local favourite is a morning go-to for Victorians and out of towners and is a leader in the Pacific North West coffee roasting community. The freshly roasted coffee aroma, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and locally sourced baked goods have Caffe Fantastico living up to its name. Swing by their shop for a java to go, or stay and enjoy a bite from their breakfast menu.
Hide & Seek Coffee
2207 Oak Bay Avenue | 14 minute cab ride | 55 minute walk
The birthplace of Waffle Sunday, knitting nights, and Origin Book Club, this place has more to offer than just great coffee. Located in the quaint yet bustling neighborhood of Oak Bay, this new addition is making lots of chatter among locals. The charming space is open and bright with perfect details that bring visitors a comforting and familiar feel. A beautifully custom-built wooden bar, chic retro furniture, and colourful art is purposefully placed upon the walls to give the space a refreshing and intimate feel. The founders, husband and wife duo, Jesse and Jaimie Owens, are often in the cafe, crafting up coffees or making Jaimie’s famous strawberry shortcake waffles. Hide and Seek Coffee is a place where the founders are just as epic as their selection of multi-origin beans. The place will make you want to hide out in one of their cozy chairs and seek new friendships with the unique folks who walk through the door.
Union Pacific Coffee
537 Herald Street | 12 minute walk | 5 minute cab ride
Carefully tucked within Victoria’s industrial district, Union Pacific is the perfect location for a morning or afternoon caffeine boost. This cafe is known for perfecting the art of “the usual” and giving a creative twist to breakfast and lunch classics. As you enter you immediately notice the collection of antiques and hand painted décor – large sliding barn doors, heritage window frames, industrial- style bar seating and perfectly strung market lights. Every item has a story which has been handpicked and refurbished by co-owners Candy and Jim Walmsey; creating an industrial-farm-house vibe. Rest easy during your Sunday sleep-in, because their breakfast menu is available all day. After you’ve taken in the home-style feels and welcoming decor, venture outside to take advantage of the sun-lit patio. You may notice similarities to the iconic Jam Café – located just across the street – Jim and Candy are the creative geniuses of two of Victoria’s most famous spots.
By: Alannah Kennedy