In Montreal, there is a café and a coffee for essentially every whim and taste. There are chic, modern coffee shops with white-tiled interiors and hanging pothos plants where you can sip a pour-over brewed with coffee from a boutique roaster, and there are classic Italian cafés where you can sip an iced latte on a terrasse buzzing with regulars. To help navigate the scene, here are five top-notch places to seek out specialty coffee in Montreal.
What started with an iced coffee delivery service and an espresso truck has grown to a roastery and three cafés with an emphasis on coffee supply chain transparency and coffee education for the public. At the slightly tucked-away flagship location in Mile-Ex, you can get a peek at the roasting operation in an industrial-chic space, and the newest addition, an ultra-sleek café in the Plateau, is prime for people watching on Boulevard Saint-Laurent and occasionally holds public tastings. Don’t forget the toast, either—thick slices of bread topped with ever-popular avocado or sweet spreads. Various locations, see here.
Before opening Café 8oz, owners Claude-Sophie Barsalo-Lacoursière and Xavier Girard-Martin were searching for a small roaster to work with and tracked down Portland, Maine’s Tandem Coffee online. After a visit to the city, and a taste of their coffee, Barsalo-Lacoursière knew it was the perfect fit. “I remember taking a sip of my latte and I told Xavier it was the best coffee I ever had in my whole life,” she says. Ten months later, they started serving Tandem in their warm, welcoming space on rue Saint-Hubert, where they also offer the butter-rich kouign-amann pastry from renowned pastry chef Patrice Demers of bakery Patrice Pâtissier, and various sandwiches and sweets. A second location opened this past August in hip clothing boutique L’Intérêt Humain on Laurier Ouest. 5851 St Hubert Street.
Tunnel Espresso Bar
Tunnel Espresso owner Andy Kyres knew he wanted to open a café downtown, where he had gone to school and worked, but he didn’t expect it to be underground. But that’s where the rent was cheaper and the cafe has found its home, with locations in the tunnel between the Eaton Centre and Place Ville Marie and at the Peel metro station. The compact spaces have influenced the coffee too, Kyres explains. “It was a question of ‘what can I do with what I have?’ [I decided] I was going to do very quick service as good quality as I could do it, which is a lot of R&D and a lot of paying attention to what I’m doing. That’s basically all good coffee is—paying attention to detail.” The shops serve Ontario’s Detour Coffee Roasters beans, and Kyres says he’s also been working on a “coffee roasting project” of his own. 1253 McGill College Avenue.
Ferlucci is part of the tradition of cozy and lively Italian cafés. The Villeray café, opened by cousins Megan Verdone and Gianni Pezzullo in 2015, serves rich Italian-style espresso roasted by Montreal’s Café Barista in classic espresso drinks, as well as the more ambitious (see: Nutella latte). Food offerings include panini and Nutella-filled cornetti, and you can peruse a variety of imported Italian candies and an impressive VHS collection. The recent expansion, a renovation of the former old-school shoe shine shop next door, has only increased the café’s vintage charm, and in the summer, the canopied terrasse makes for an ideal hangout spot. 432 Rue de Castelnau East.
The café’s origin story began on wheels, as a coffee bike that toured around the city and brewed espresso at special events. The brick-and-mortar spot on rue Beaubien opened in 2016 and serves an equally top-notch espresso. Pista uses a variety of small roasters, including Montreal’s Kittel Coffee and ZAB, and sources some of the daily brunch menu locally too, like bread from nearby Automne Boulangerie for hearty tartines. The plentiful windows, tiled floors, and gold-tinned ceiling lend the space a cheery, clean vibe (and yes, make it ideal for Instagramming your latte and croissant). 500 Rue Beaubien East.
See the rest of our Canadian city coffee guides, here.
Find more Canadian coffee roasters, here.
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