Just landed on the shores of Vancouver Island and set down roots sans beans. On the advice of a friend I visited the Kings Street Caffe Fantastico.
I wasn't sure what to expect but I was kind of thinking I would get the \"too cool for school\" brush off you can expect from cafes in Vancouver, my home town.
This was not the case --dude at the counter took my request for beans seriously and gave me the run down on them and showed me samples of each. Although I was a bit distracted by my 3 year old daughter's distraction of the funky clientelle he patiently took care of my request for a half pound of the house beans and a half of the Guatemalan espresso and passed along my request for an americano to the barista. By the time we were done there was a steadily growing line at the counter --everyone bearing cups and mugs of their own --in fact one customer had a jam jar. Turns out you get charged an extra 25c for a shop supplied cardboard container --good for locals but not so good for poor bozos like me who don't know the scoop. Next time I will though, which is the point I reckon.
I rushed home and fired up my Isomac Tea --which promptly blew the SSR, sending great gouts of steam out of every crack as the safety valve released the pressure. It took me a while but I finally unpacked my backup machine, a La Cimbali Domus Dosatron -not a great machine but adequate for the purposes. I wasted a few shots dialing in my grinder and re-familarizing myself with the Domus, but finally pulled a couple adequate ounces.
The only thing I wish is I hadn't been so distracted by my daughter --the little darlin' --the Guatemalan was roasted just about a week before.. wish I ahd asked before buying. It's just a tad oldish for me as it'll not be finished for a couple of weeks --particularly with the Tea on the fritz.
Kind of wonder if dude was testing me as he asked if I wanted to have the beans ground ---I think I must have sputtered my refusal pretty adamantly as he kind of grinned at my response.
I do not think a day passes when I do not take a moment and give thanks to the likes of;
Habit Coffee & Culture, Buon Amici's, Cafe Fantastico and Discovery Coffee - without which the coffee scene in Victoria could very well be quite dull.
In my eyes, the people; John and Logan and crew of DISCO, Sean D. of Habit Culture and Ryan, Christie and Co of CF and Derek and Gina of Buon Amici's - are the true stars of coffee culture in this city.
Next time you walk into any of these places, the 1st thing you should say is: Thank-you!
I've had beans given to me from 2% and they were very very very fantastic, although I think Caffe Fantastico's beans are even more fantastic.
I tried Discovery last week --very nicely decorated, but a bit too much 'tude from staff and beans I bought weren't great, not bad, just not great.
We wandered into Bubby Rose Bakery in Cook St Village a few weeks ago and visited every chance we can get since. The pain au chocolat are to die for. I'm not a big fan of sandwiches in general, but at BR they're are amazingly delicious. The Mocha house close by isn't bad either although I think I get better coffee at home.