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Coffee/tea | General discussion on cafes in Victoria and coffee-related topics


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#61 B.Bridge

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 06:13 PM

New Black Stilt coming to Fort and Richmond where the laundromat was, joining Pharmasave. Things have never been the same since Ian's closed, but this will a be great improvement from the Tim Hortons lurking incognito inside the RJH.

#62 osmich

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 08:41 PM

Blenz is just so wrong. (my opinion only)

#63 Holden West

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 08:46 PM

Mirage would be a great fit for the St. Andrew's mall. It took ten years but that little mall finally has some vibrancy to it.

The Tillicum/Burnside/Gorge area could use a good cafe. I tried the Moka House in Admiral's Walk recently and the 18 year old bimbette behind the counter gave us such unbelievably rude service the only response I could muster afterward was stunned laughter.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#64 Audrey

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Posted 04 March 2008 - 08:46 PM

Every coffee I've ordered from Blenz has been borderline (or totally) undrinkable. They destroy espresso. I don't quite know how--probably just something about their roast I don't like. They do, however, make pretty decent hot chocolate and the staff at the one downtown are usually pretty cool.

#65 osmich

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 06:39 AM

I don't know if this site was posted on this forum before and I do not feel like checking so here is a great site for local coffee freaks who really take their coffee and coffee gear seriously.

http://www.coffeecrew.com

#66 Caramia

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 09:05 AM

Oh Great Link Osmich!
I've been sipping my morning coffee - %100 arabica hand-ground in my 60 year old grinder then brewed in a flurry of steam in my little counter top espresso machine, and reading the CoffeeCrew Site.
Here's my favourite article so far!

From: http://www.coffeecre...nt/view/405/27/

Victoria B.C. Best coffee in Canada? Written by colin newell As a semi-professional observer of the Specialty Coffee phenomenon in North America, I meet a lot of very passionate people - I mean, the very best of the very best. And some of that most intense passion is right here in Victoria B.C. Canada.
Buon Amici Cafe owners Derek and Gina Lucas have all the qualities of virtually any randomly selected successful business people: They are intensely passionate about coffee, its origins, the people in the industry and yes, their devoted clientele.

Cups in a row - HABIT CAFE

Now Buon Amici's Coffee at 110-645 Tyee Rd. is the home to Western Canada's best barista. Derek has the experience and energy to back up the challenge.

Derek Lucas was one of three Victoria area coffee experts to claim bronze, silver and gold at Wednesday's Western Regional Barista Competition in Vancouver. Vancouver might have the rep, but the numbers reveal that it's Victoria that's ground zero for best of bean in Western Canada.

In past conversations with Derek he has revealed "It is not enough to have a reputation as a good cafe - you need to deliver time and time again without fail" he said, taking out a moment to pour personal latte art at a surprised customers table.

The recent Vancouver event places 12 skilled baristas against each other to claim a trip to Toronto for the Canadian championship. The fact is, barista competitions are now a big deal and they are international. A Vancouver victory is only one step in a growing list of internationalization in coffee World.

So, here is the skinny on the competition: Each coffee expert is given 15 minutes to prepare four servings each of espresso, cappuccino and a signature drink for a panel of judges. Competitors are judged on taste, speed, design, creativity and showmanship.

I watched contestant Paul Reimer (of Discovery Coffee) in the weeks leading up to the event. He is a picture of youth, a University of Victoria student in Computer Science Engineering as well as one mature dude with an air of wisdom beyond his years - "This is the pinnacle of my career thus far - going up against so much talent" Reimer offered as he brought sample after sample of his best drinks for me to taste..

Standing amongst the best that Victoria has to offer, I could not help but feel that there was a Fifth Element that gave the Victoria crews a distinct edge.
Silver medalist Logan Gray of Discovery Coffee, Victoria gave me a hint, "We work together and play together sharing some of our secrets..."

Discovery owner and partner John Riopka offers the following: "You can take the best that HABIT Coffee & Culture, Cafe Fantastico and Buon Amici's has to offer and find some of that energy here. It is positive and friendly. We can only do better if we cooperate."

Shane Devereaux (at right) wets the coffee

And cooperate they do. Discovery Coffee is part of an amazing program called "Cup of Excellence" -- it has international roots in the coffee growing regions and brings fairness and justice to those that toil the hardest in the industry - the farmers. Some of the regions finest cafe's partner up at auction time for a crack at the best green coffee beans that the Planet Earth has to offer.

"(On some level) people like Sam Jones (owner of 2% Jazz espresso bar on Douglas Street) are more partner than competitor... fellow messengers (if you would)" Shane Devereaux infers.
Shane manages Habit Coffee and Culture on Pandora avenue and sees an opportunity for virtually limitless growth in the city. Sam and Shane speak as if one person, "Coffee is like wine. No one hesitates spending 7 to 12 dollars on a glass of good wine." I agree. One day more and more people will be better acquainted with the similarities between fine wine and great coffee.

Habit Coffee and Culture hosts weekly coffee tasting (cupping to be precise) on Tuesday afternoons at 522 Pandora Ave. It is a somewhat more relaxed and informal version of the staid cupping that goes on in the varied brokerages and green coffee clearing houses. Rows of porcelain cups are lined up with samples of freshly ground coffee. The coffee is splashed with hot water. Coffee is allowed to brew and then tasters are turned loose in a ritual of sniffing, slurping and spitting - a dance only truly understood by the initiated. It's fun and informative.

In the weeks leading up to the Barista competition, I skulk in the background watching the creme de la creme of Victoria's coffee scene hone their skills. From time to time I get offered a great drink to express an opinion on. I am always impressed and excited at the level of energy here, the generosity and humility. And so it goes. There is something truly amazing happening in the Victoria coffee market. If you live here, get out and order a drink. If you are visiting, make sure you get in some of the action.



#67 osmich

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 11:57 AM

Does anyone know if Cafe Mela in the Humboldt Valley ( sounds like a ski destination but anyway) is closed for good or reopening with a bigger space or what?

A few weeks ago I went down to get a cuppa and there was brown paper all over the windows of the original space and the one next to it. I thought maybe they were closing for a bit and then expanding to include the space next to it?

#68 gumgum

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 02:57 PM

Sorry to hear that.
I like that little place. It was very small, so maybe, hopefully they are expanding.

#69 Mike K.

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 03:26 PM

I was just there and had a great sandwich and cup of coffee but I hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary. I do agree that they'd benefit from a little extra space but the coziness of this fantastic Europe-inspired coffee shop has its benefits.

In fact, now that I think about it, Mela is probably one of my favourite places given its well designed, cozy interior. You feel like you can enjoy a quiet conversation in that environment as opposed to a typical coffee shop where loud music and loud conversations can overwhelm you.

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Citified.ca is Victoria's most comprehensive research resource for new-build homes and commercial spaces.


#70 osmich

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 05:15 PM

I was just there and had a great sandwich and cup of coffee but I hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary. I do agree that they'd benefit from a little extra space but the cosiness of this fantastic Europe-inspired coffee shop has its benefits.

In fact, now that I think about it, Mela is probably one of my favourite places given its well designed, cozy interior. You feel like you can enjoy a quiet conversation in that environment as opposed to a typical coffee shop where loud music and loud conversations can overwhelm you.


Were you there in the last few weeks Mike?

#71 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 08:10 PM

^ I walked past just last week and there were people sitting outside, having coffee. I saw no windows papered over, or anything other than a normal open-for-business cafe.
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#72 Mike K.

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Posted 16 March 2008 - 08:35 PM

Yeah, it couldn't have been more than a week and a half since I was there.

But it just dawned on me that I had seen the windows covered up several weeks ago. I suppose whatever it was that they were doing was interior design related.

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Citified.ca is Victoria's most comprehensive research resource for new-build homes and commercial spaces.


#73 osmich

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 06:22 AM

Thanks, they must have reopened after a short closure for renos. There was no signage saying they were closing so I did not know what was up. I called yesterday and their message service picked up saying they were open so......good news.

#74 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 08:48 PM

^ Walking past Mela today, I noticed that the retail space to the right of Mela is the one with brown paper on the windows -- the paper is still in place, and I think there was perhaps some sort of interior decorating place there previously. Perhaps that business has closed or is changing? But at any rate, Mela never had a closure -- it's open, and wasn't closed in the previous weeks. It's the place next door which is under wraps.
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#75 Mike K.

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 09:35 PM

Oh, weird. I guess that must have been it but I keep seeing Mela under wraps and not the business next door. Ah well.

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#76 osmich

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Posted 17 March 2008 - 09:35 PM

Thanks for the update on Cafe Mela. Very strange as I have been in there before and this last time I went back I did not notice them. I was sure I looked in all the right windows and did not see anything except brown paper on theirs.

Thanks again. I am confused.

#77 Holden West

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 10:42 AM

Times Colonist:

Derek Lucas and Gena Deloti are marking the fourth anniversary of their Buon Amici's Coffee House and Bistro at Upper Harbour Place by giving away free shots of espresso every day during March. The promotion, which is attracting 200 to 300 free customers a day, could end up costing the husband-and-wife team about $12,000. But they say it's worth it to keep customers and draw a new base. "To compete with the Tim Hortons and Starbucks of the world, sometimes you have to do crazy things," Lucas said. The couple is scouting for a new Buon Amici's locations downtown, particularly in the Humboldt Valley, and Langford, and has a preliminary agreement to go into the new Radius development near Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre. Call 381-4504.


"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#78 Nparker

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 10:55 AM

The couple is scouting for a new Buon Amici's locations downtown, ... and has a preliminary agreement to go into the new Radius development near Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre.


I hope they are not counting on recovering the $12,000 cost of this promotion on the Radius site....they may be waiting a VERY long time for that.

#79 jklymak

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 11:36 AM

^^ They could start their expansion by being open on Sundays. I keep wanting to go there, as they are reputedly one of the best coffee places in Victoria, but only end up in Vic West on Sunday, gosh darnit.

#80 osmich

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Posted 22 March 2008 - 08:51 PM

Cafe Mela is alive and well. The morning I went down there (why I thought it was closed) it was kind of grey and I saw the brown paper up on two empty spots and I thought Cafe Mela was there. I walked further down and did not see anything.....so I thought.

The other day I was down there and saw Cafe Mela further down but they were closed and they had these brown (like the color of the paper) blinds pulled down over the glass and I almost did not see it that day either so it must have just blended in and I missed it.

I hope I did not cause anyone and fretting!

I am so very happy they are still open.

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