Where to Find Canada’s Best Cup of Coffee
The best coffee in Canada is closer than you think. Check out these top-notch java joints across the country, complete with fair trade brews and majestic views.
The Best Coffee in Canada
A really good cup of joe is a simple, beautiful thing. But not all mugs are created equal. Judging the best java is all about the quality of the beans and the richness of the brew, as well as the atmosphere around you as you sip. Here we present the best coffee in Canada, highlighting one spot in each province and territory, from coast to coast to coast.
Dark Star Coffee Roasters
Carbonear, Newfoundland and Labrador
Darren Randell knows a thing or two about how to make a great cup. His first enterprise, Hava Java, opened in 1995 and was one of the first boutique coffee shops on the island, quickly becoming a favourite hangout in St. John’s. While that shop has since closed, he and partner Mark Royle are now replicating that fun, community experience once again. Their new shop, Dark Star, opened in May of 2019 and is located in Carbonear, a seaside town about an hour drive from the St. John’s. The shop roasts its own single estate, organic, fair trade beans and serves up steaming cups in the historic telephone exchange building, built back in 1929. And the view? Maybe the best of all—with a back deck, right on the water, overlooking rugged green islands and calm blue sea.
Heading out to the Rock? Here are some common Newfoundland sayings, decoded.
Salty Rose’s and the Periwinkle Café
Ingonish, Nova Scotia
The Cabot Trail is arguably Canada’s most stunning drive, tracing the northernmost peninsula of Cape Breton Island, curving between mountains and sea. And, if you’re making the 298-kilometre trek, it’s worth stopping outside the entrance to Cape Breton National Park, for a caffeine break at the Periwinkle Café. Located in a lovingly restored farmhouse in the charming, scenic village of Ingonish, Periwinkle serves up some of the best coffee in Canada—fair trade brews, roasted by Nova Scotia’s North Mountain Fine Coffees. The menu is sourced locally, with some 90 percent of the produce used grown right on Cape Breton, and the lobster roll is legendary. If you want to tarry longer, do some hiking, or head to one of two beaches within walking distance, you can even stay the night. The on-site inn, Salty Rose’s, features two adorable suites. Bonus: you’ll smell the fresh coffee and baked goods wafting up in the morning.
Check out the most famous house in every province.
Tipsy Muse Café
Fredericton, New Brunswick
This downtown Fredericton favourite is a hub of creativity. The coffee is excellent, and those who can’t decide—say between cinnamon or salted caramel—can order a flight of lattes featuring three five-to-seven-ounce taster cups, each infused with a different flavour. Tipsy Muse is co-owned and operated by Krista Tousenard, a popular local musician and Rob Pinnock, a rock DJ who everybody calls Uncle Rob. Music is always in the air—whether it’s vinyl spinning on the record player or live performances (as well as slam poetry readings and other fun). The café also offers tours and workshops, including in-house lessons on the “secrets of a barista.” Participants learn about coffee farming and roasting, with hands-on opportunities to work the grinder and pull their own shot of espresso.
Brush up on your own barista skills by learning the coffee brewing mistakes to avoid.
Receiver Coffee Co.
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Receiver has become the island go-to for java lovers. After opening its first location in 2014, Receiver quickly expanded to three locations in the Charlottetown area—each spot with its own style, flair and history. One is housed in the 19th century Brass Shop, where the Prince Edward Island Railway once polished their locomotives, and another has set up on Richmond Street. Receiver’s hub at the Creamery Boardwalk bakes fresh pastries and organic breads for all four locations, with bags of beans piled high inside and an open on-site roasting operation allowing visitors to see how the magic happens.
Discover 10 essential experiences on the east coast of Canada.
Café des Artistes
This eclectic, colourful coffee shop is located at the tip of the Gaspé Peninsula, on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Surrounded by the majesty of the easternmost edge of the Appalachian Mountains as they meet the sea, everything inside this downtown café is a work of art. The owner, Jacques Legault, has spent two decades collecting the work of local artists, so you can sip some of the best coffee in Canada surrounded by stained glass, paintings and sculptures produced right in the area. The menu offers a wide variety of coffees and reads like poetry—from the Phare Fouetté (whipped lighthouse), a cappuccino royale with whipped cream, to La Baie au Lait (bay milk), a latte that you can sip on the back patio, which overlooks the Bay of Gaspé.
Rapids End Roastery
Once, Daniel Biro, the owner of this roastery and coffee shop, travelled the world with rock band Hawk Nelson—an experience that gave him the chance to sample a variety of premium coffee cultures, from Italy to Seattle to Australia. Those experiences inspired his new shop, located in the heart of the Kawartha Lakes, where he roasts beans from Ethiopia, Colombia and El Salvador. But Rapids End, which refers to area’s original Ojibwa name Nogojiwanong (literally, “place at the end of the rapids”), is firmly rooted in the region. Peterborough is home to the national canoe museum and the area is defined by a chain of glacier-carved lakes, a favourite for boaters and swimmers and those seeking other aquatic pursuits. Rapids End feels a lot like one of the cottages that line the many shorelines in the region, with nautical maps and even a full-sized canoe hanging from the wall. Grab a cup, before heading out on the lake, a mere ten minutes away.
Here are more hidden gems in Ontario worth exploring.
Lazy Bear Lodge
Set on the shores of Hudson Bay where the taiga meets the tundra, the subarctic town of Churchill is a wildlife lover’s paradise often dubbed The Polar Bear Capital of the World. The massive white beasts sometimes saunter right down the main street, and beluga whales spawn a short walk away, where the Churchill River meets the Bay. Lazy Bear Lodge, a log-cabin hotel, café and outfitter, is northern marvel in itself. The lodge is built from boreal wood reclaimed from a forest fire and features windows that once hung in a Hudson’s Bay Trading Post, a big stone fireplace, and Douglas Fir floors. Lattés come adorned with specialized designs, such as cute polar bear paws and beluga whales stencilled in cocoa power. Tuck into a dinner of pan-fried arctic char, braised, peppered elk or slow-roasted Manitoba bison, then grab a steaming cup to stay up late and take in the aurora borealis.
Check out more great places to see the northern lights in Canada.
A favourite for java junkies since it opened in 1993, this stylish café imports and roasts some of the best coffee in Canada. Sip a steaming cup of their signature Café Broadway (a decadent mix of hazelnut espresso, chocolate milk and chocolate whipped cream), or cool down with a Vietnamese iced coffee. The café also uses beans from around the world, including from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Brazil, India, Peru, Colombia and Sumatra, as well as distinctive in-house blends, all of which are fair trade. Grab a cup (and a bag, to go), and wander Broadway, a five-block urban village that’s home to some of Saskatoon’s coolest restaurants, barbershops, boutiques and festivals.
Here are 10 iconic Canadian dishes—and the best places in the country to find them.
Eleanor and Laurent
Opened in summer 2020, this newly renovated, three-story French-style bistro and café honours the founders of Garneau, one of the city’s oldest and most historic neighbourhoods. In 1874, Eleanor and Laurent Garneau arrived and settled here, just southwest of the centre of town. Laurent was a Métis man who fought alongside Louis Riel in the Red River Rebellion, and the two quickly became the heart of local cultural, playing music and organizing parties. Now, their namesake serves up excellent delicious and creative coffee—one is infused with a lavender compote, and another with chocolate and hazelnut—alongside all sorts of handmade breads and sweets (including the most ornate éclairs you’ve ever seen). Enjoy it all, and the view, too, which sweeps across the North Saskatchewan River Valley.
Here are 10 historical landmarks every Canadian needs to visit.
Rooftop Coffee Roasters
Fernie, British Columbia
You’ll want to warm up at Fernie’s Rooftop Coffee Roasters before hitting the slopes—some say the area has the best snow in the Rockies. The founders, a family of three, started roasting on their home rooftop about six years ago, when head roaster Keegan Street was just 16, scooping unroasted beans from burlap sacks in the basement and bringing them up in buckets. They then sold their creations at local festivals and farmer’s markets, where people lined up to buy them. Now, their light-roasted, single-origin coffee is a local staple. You can grab it in-house, or at their fun walk-up pickup window, before browsing the friendly downtown streets, which include galleries, a spa, a distillery and a chocolate-maker. And if you still want more of their brew? They also offer a monthly subscription service, where they will deliver bags of coffee, right to your door.
These must-follow Canadian travel influencers will inspire you to pack your bags.
BonTon and Company
Dawson City, Yukon
Drawn like metal to a magnet, as many as 100,000 hopeful, would-be prospectors travelled from around the world to this outpost during the Klondike gold rush. And while there’s still gold in them hills, tourism is now the main draw here. Dawson City maintains a frontier feel: the streets are wooden boardwalks and Parks Canada preserves the buildings—17 of them date back to the Klondike, including the stately Commissioner’s Residence, and the Palace Grand Theatre. And while it’s remote—just a tick below the Arctic Circle—you can still sample some of the best coffee in Canada at BonTon and Co., which serves both cold brews and iced lattes, as well as the usual variety of hot espresso options. The food is elevated, too—they make their own charcuterie at their in-house butcher shop and use cheeses from the nearby Klondike Creamery, Yukon’s only dairy farm.
Now that you know where to get the best coffee in Canada, check out the best coffee roasters in every province.