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


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#81 B.Bridge

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 06:29 AM

I recently went to the Mela with a friend. Friendly staff, average coffee. But the pillar. OMG! Those of you who dislike pillars outside (you know who you are) oughta see this indoor sucker. It fills almost all the floor space of the poor little cafe. I felt like a peasant huddled under a makeshift lean-to at the base of the world's largest flying buttress.

#82 Caramia

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 09:41 AM

Did you guys see that Mirage has opened a cafe on the Yates St side of St Andrews Square? 733 Yates I believe. I had an Americano there the other day - yum, they do brew a good cup! They should have more chairs by now, it had only been open 2 days when I went in but the service was great. I was eyeing their plate sized cookies but was afraid for my co-workers if I had that much sweet stuff first thing in the morning.

#83 Holden West

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 02:01 PM

^Yes, I saw that today; it's a huge improvement. If you've never been inside the St. Andrew's mall, check it out. Now that Hernandez is open again the mall has never been more vibrant.

--

The former La Collina location in the CRD square is being gutted. That must mean new tenants are about to move in.
"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

#84 Caramia

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 03:53 PM

Yeah, I wandered around in there a bit and was surprised at how lively it is in there. It is really looking nice. But I am going to defend the space from this terrible word "mall" - I really think of it as more of an Arcade, in the traditional Walter Benjamin sense of the word.

What is an arcade? In its classic sense, the term denotes a pedestrian passage or gallery, open at both ends and roofed in glass and iron, typically linking two parallel streets and consisting of two facing rows of shops and other commercial establishments - restaurants, cafés, hairdressers, etc. "Arcade" is the English name: in French the arcades are known as "passages", and in German as "Passagen". [7] The modern arcade was invented in Paris, and, while the concept was imitated in other cities - there are particularly fine mid-nineteenth century examples in Brussels - the Parisian arcades remain the type of the phenomenon. Benjamin quotes a passage from the Illustrated Guide to Paris, a German publication of 1852, which sums up the arcades' essence:

"These arcades, a recent invention of industrial luxury, are glass-roofed, marble-panelled corridors extending through whole blocks of buildings, whose owners have joined together for such enterprises. Lining both sides of the corridors, which get their light from above, are the most elegant shops, so that the arcade is a city, a world in miniature, in which 04customers will find everything they need".



From http://www.wbenjamin...assageways.html


While some detail from Benjamin's description might be different, St Andrews has an attention to detail, to quality and to elegance that no mall aspires to, except for in the most mass produced, plastic of ways. In addition, the arcade is constantly changing - always seeking to delight the senses, and to draw the eye. Today there is a camel where there was none two weeks ago. Next month, who knows?

#85 G-Man

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 04:31 PM

Pretty sure the camel has always been there.

#86 Holden West

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 05:20 PM

The camel has always been there. It came from the facade of an old demolished building.
"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

#87 Number Six

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 05:40 PM

The camel used to sit atop the Campbell Building ... where the Royal Bank building now stands.

#88 Caramia

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 08:09 AM

When I walked through there were fellows on ladders putting the camel up - maybe it had just had its bath time? Does anyone know... why a camel?

#89 Holden West

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 08:26 AM

Yes, arcade is a more accurate term than mall although fewer people know that usage of the word arcade. I'm going to start calling it an agora just to be an ass.

There's a bronze plaque inside the St. Andrews arcade/agora/mall/interior mid-block-walkway that tells the story of the camel and how he got there.
"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

#90 Rob Randall

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 10:03 AM

The plaque says that Thomas Moore's architectural drawings for the Campbell building (1912-1976) showed moose heads as a decorative feature but that when the building was constructed, camel heads were in their place.

Perhaps they commemorated the Cariboo camels or maybe it was simply that they found some cheaper terra-cotta molds of camels in a warehouse somewhere. Nobody seems to know.

“I mean I just don’t understand the big Texas part, like maybe he’s from Texas? I want to know the back story.”


#91 FunkyMunky

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 01:43 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.


The little A4 signs in the window of the laundromat saying Black Silt was coming this spring or early summer are now gone. They were there for a few weeks but are gone without any sign of construction. I hope this doesn't mean the project has been abandoned.

The pseudo-Tim's in the lobby of the RJH is great. It's so refreshing to enjoy your coffee without the usual distribution of university students draped over the furniture. And it offers a broader range of people watching experiences like the woman with the stoma or the jaundice guy the colour of custard.

#92 B.Bridge

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Posted 11 April 2008 - 05:57 PM

And that's just the staff.

#93 gumgum

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 08:05 PM

Serious Coffee's website says their coffee's fair trade and organic. That's a very compelling reason to choose them over the other guys. I wonder why they don't advertise this fact more prominently.

#94 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 24 April 2008 - 10:05 PM

^ What other guys? Practically everyone now offers "fair trade" and "organic," including the other guys. The only thing that will compel me to go to a coffee place is the coffee -- whether it's good to taste -- and how it's served. If I'm staying on site, I don't want my coffee in a paper cup. I really don't like going to Starbucks anymore because it seems to be their new policy: no more ceramic cups/ mugs, paper only. I first noticed this in Seattle, and thought it was a USian thing, but it's here, too. Total crap. Best way to lose custom: treat your customers like throw-away.
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#95 gumgum

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 09:24 AM

From what I can tell from the Starbucks site they only offer a select few coffees as fair trade. The Serious Coffee site implies all of their coffee is fair trade and organic.
I can't think of any other place in Victoria that makes that claim including the small independent places all over the place. It's really inexcusable these days. Fair trade coffee is so readily available and affordable.
Besides, if you market all your coffee as fair trade, you'll get a huge following.
Serious Coffee's better than Starbucks and others anyway. And they'll mug it for you, Ms. B.

#96 spanky123

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 01:57 PM

What is the difference between fairly traded coffee and "brand y" in terms of $$$ to the worker? I heard previously that it was such a small difference that it was almost an embarrassment to advertise the fact.

#97 Nparker

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 02:32 PM

If this is like most marketing schemes, there is probabaly very little difference in the wallet of the guy who picks the beans. However "fair-trade" branding eases the conscience of the average gringo java junkie, and allows the producer to sell essentially the same product for a higher price. I know, I am a terrible cynic.

#98 gumgum

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Posted 25 April 2008 - 09:52 PM

OK so now there's another challenge out there. Is there some real meat in the "fair trade" label or is it just another flacid claim? Is "fair trade" open to a long list of interpretations, or is its definitiion as tight as a bank's vault?

#99 Ginger Snap

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Posted 26 April 2008 - 02:24 PM

Fair trade is a little more amorphous than a claim like organic (which can be determined by percentages(, but it is not like saying your toilet paper is 'eco friendly', your pesticide is 'green', or your tuna is 'dolphin friendly'... or some other claim that is completely open to interpretation. Hey, I like dolphins so I guess my company must be dolphin-friendly.

Quoted from Wikipedia (yes, I know it's wikipedia, but I have read confirmation of this definition through countless other sources and this was the most concise information)
'In 2001, a common definition of fair trade was developed by FINE, an informal association of four international fair trade networks (Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International, International Fair Trade Association, Network of European Worldshops and European Fair Trade Association):[5]

Fair trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, which seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and securing the rights of, marginalized producers and workers - especially in the South. Fair trade organizations (backed by consumers) are engaged actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.'

I am fairly passionate about the concept of fair trade, and think the best idea, if it is actually important to you to know the origin of your coffee and where it is really from, is to check out individual companies. My favourite is Level Ground, who produces Cafe San Miguel and a few others. They are a local company, out in Saanichton... the beans aren't local obviously (!) but they are roasted and packaged here. And I know for a fact they walk the walk.

Also, I love the Americanos at the Blue Carrot in Bastion Square.

#100 gumgum

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Posted 27 April 2008 - 07:33 PM

Level Ground is my go-to coffee.
Apparently there needs to be some kind of national regulatory body to oversee an official fair trade label. In the meantime, I will still pursue fairtrade products proactively, as I do with certain organic products.

Meanwhile the free trade coffee apparently sold by Serious needs to be verified appropriately.

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