Ottawa’s Best Independent Coffee

Hey guys! I’m here today to talk to you about coffee – I don’t know about you, but coffee is a treasured treat to me. Although I have heavily cut down on my consumption of it (side note: I did this because it reduced my anxiety very much. I sooo recommend this), I still love it, and have it every now and then. And since it’s so occasional, I like to get quality drinks.

My relationship with coffee started very young: coming from a Greek family, I remember my uncle giving me sips of coffee as early as age 5, and making me coffee of my own at 7. (I know this sounds completely irresponsible, but trust me, it was all done while considering my age). I don’t ever remember feeling like I actually needed it, but I loved the taste from very early. My love for it only intensified this part year, after I spent a year working at Starbucks and learning about the logistics of it.

Anyway, Ottawa is rich in independent coffee shops that are unique, and I’m going to share my favourites with you!

Ministry of Coffee

A post shared by theministryofcoffee (@theministryofcoffee) on We rotate our coffee weekly from a well curated list of the best roasters from all over Canada, the US and beyond.

Ministry of Coffee, with an original location is Centretown and a second in Hintonbourg, is a cute little cafe with a rustic, cozy feel. They support free trade coffee from Canada and all over the world, and rotate their selection weekly, so you never get bored of their selection. They offer great vegan options for their drinks, as well as vegan treats! This is a great place to sit and have a chat with a buddy when you’re walking around Centretown.

Equator

Located in the magical land of Westboro, Equator features smooth and delicious, fairly traded coffee and tea, among other things. They have lots of lovely vegan drinks and food options, as well as a cozy as heck ambiance! Lastly, they are hugely supportive and initiative when it comes to fundraisers of all sorts.

Bar Robo

A post shared by Bar Robo (@barrobo) on Sharing a building with a Sushi restaurant in China Town, Bar Robo is a cozy place to get a variety of espresso drinks with an option of being vegan. I’ve personally had the vegan spicy hot dogs here and wooow they’re so good! I highly recommend it.
By night, Bar Robo is a cool, lively venue and bar serving fun cocktails and supporting local artists! The whole package.

Sharing a building with a Sushi restaurant in China Town, Bar Robo is a cozy place to get a variety of espresso drinks with an option of being vegan. I’ve personally had the vegan spicy hot dogs here and wooow they’re so good! I highly recommend it.
By night, Bar Robo is a cool, lively venue and bar serving fun cocktails and supporting local artists! The whole package.

Black Squirrel

A post shared by Black Squirrel Books&Espresso (@black_squirrel_books) on Black Squirrel Books, in the Glebe on Bank Street, is basically a coffee shop/bookstore hybrid. It’s the ultimate cozy coffee shop to hang out in with your favourite book, and locally sourced coffee, by day. By night, Black Squirrel hosts local artists and serves fun drinks with their recently acquired liquor license.

Black Squirrel Books, in the Glebe on Bank Street, is basically a coffee shop/bookstore hybrid. It’s the ultimate cozy coffee shop to hang out in with your favourite book, and locally sourced coffee, by day. By night, Black Squirrel hosts local artists and serves fun drinks with their recently acquired liquor license.

Pressed

A post shared by Pressed Ottawa (@pressedottawa) on coffeehouse/ restaurant / bar

Self identified as a coffeehouse, sandwich shop, and bar hybrid, Pressed is a cozy restaurant that boasts amazing vegan options (even breakfast!! What!) and coffee. By night, Pressed is yet another place that opens up its space to local artists to host shows!

Happy Goat

A post shared by Happy Goat Coffee Company (@happygoatcoffee) on Aah, Happy Goat. I have a lot of affection for this little coffee shop, located in Sandy Hill, with a brand new location in Centretown (which replaced a Starbucks, whooo!). Happy Goat supports fair trade, is environmentally responsible, participates in community building, and even lists employee mental well being as one of their priority values! Additionally, Happy Goat aims to create a safe and fun space for local artists to hang out and host shows.

Aah, Happy Goat. I have a lot of affection for this little coffee shop, located in Sandy Hill, with a brand new location in Centretown (which replaced a Starbucks, whooo!). Happy Goat supports fair trade, is environmentally responsible, participates in community building, and even lists employee mental well being as one of their priority values! Additionally, Happy Goat aims to create a safe and fun space for local artists to hang out and host shows.

They offer awesome vegan options, including soups and sandwiches a lot of the time.

Little Jo Berry’s

A post shared by @littlejoberrys on And now my top choice: Little Jo Berry’s. The reason this place takes the cake on this list is that it’s 100% vegan. They make amazing vegan espresso drinks with the option of almond, soy, or coconut milk, and you can even add coconut whipped cream! It’s the only place in Ottawa that I’ve found so far that offers vegan whipped cream for your drinks. Also, they have a unique, daily menu that they advertise on their instagram page, which always offers incredible options that you won’t find anywhere else.

And now my top choice: Little Jo Berry’s. The reason this place takes the cake on this list is that it’s 100% vegan. They make amazing vegan espresso drinks with the option of almond, soy, or coconut milk, and you can even add coconut whipped cream! It’s the only place in Ottawa that I’ve found so far that offers vegan whipped cream for your drinks. Also, they have a unique, daily menu that they advertise on their instagram page, which always offers incredible options that you won’t find anywhere else.

The shop is run by wonderful, ambitious people that support important causes in the environmental, vegan, and feminist realms. It’s also partnered with a local vegan ice cream brand, Oat & Mill, which makes ice cream out of oats (!!!). Here’s the best part: thanks to this partnership, they offer milkshakes and soft serve icecream! I. Am. Sold.

So tell me – what are your favourite independent coffee shops?

6 Comments

  • Great article – i love your writing and blog. I would definitely pick the Black Squirrel. There was a place in San Diego we use to visit that was a book shop on two floors and served coffee and everything about it was so quaint. I love coffee and lately we have been getting our coffee from a place called Aldi (Owned by Trader joe’s I think). We use to get Starbuck but are trying different brands. I like full bodied strong coffee.

    • Thank you for much! Sounds nice – I like full bodied coffee as well.

  • I love coffee. My mom and I let me great niece have sips and she is 2. I drink a lot of it so I mainly make it at home.

    • I love to make it at home too! I’ve been using a French press lately to cut down on waste.

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