Indie Coffee Passport and the importance of independent cafes
Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa have been blessed with a program that allows you to explore the many unique flavours of the cafés in various neighbourhoods of the respective cities; it’s called the Indie Coffee Passport. Never heard of it? I’m not surprised; you probably spend all of your time at Starbucks sipping on Frappucinos and that thing that they like to call a machiatto. What you are missing out on though is that little space lined with a rotating array of local artists in a space that is tailored to the specific demands of its surrounding resident’s.
The Passport can be purchased at any of the participating cafés and gives you one selected drink at each café on the list. Dollar for dollar it’s an incredible deal and it gives you the excuse to explore different neighbourhoods in your city like you always say that want to do.
The Breakdown of The Passport
Each café offers one of their selected drinks and marks it off that you visited on your passport also available at http://www.indiecoffeepassport.com/
Toronto – $25 – 30 coffee shops
Montreal –$22 –18 coffee shops
Ottawa – $14 – 12 coffee shops
Montreal and Ottawa’s program is currently underway and runs into the fall, perfect time to hop on a bike and get around the cities you claim to know well; Toronto’s should start again later in the summer so check out the participating café closest to you.
Why Go Indie?
We all claim to know the neighbourhood that we live in, but knowing the cafés in your neighbourhood is a very important part of that. As neighbourhoods develop and commerce starts to develop coffee shops are one of the first things to start popping up. The owners are usually invested in their community and try to create more than just a space to serve coffee, but also a space where other community members can engage with one another. There are always different groups of people sitting around, socializing, doing work on their computers or even having out of office work meetings. Not to mention who doesn’t like flirting with cute hipster baristas.
I sit at Pourquoi Pas Espresso Bar in Montreal at least four or five times a week and do school work or surf the web. There are other regulars who come in every day or so, sit and work, chat with workers and friends and talk about things going on in the neighbourhood. I think I come here as often as I do for one simple reason: THE COFFEE. You may not know that much about what beans you prefer or how you like your milk done, but what you can experience at an Indie coffee shop is baristas who actually know the differences and will tailor drinks to your desires. I know that I like smoky Brazilian over peachy Ethiopian beans served with slightly drier than normal milk, and at an indie café I’ve almost never been disappointed. (Wish I could say the same for Bucky’s and Second Yuck)
I don’t mean to slam on chain coffee shops because you do always know what you’re going to get, but you can’t underestimate the value of great independent cafés that often also serve amazing food. Local businesses build communities and it’s important that we as consumers support them as best as we can because hey, we live in these communities and want to make the best of them. They tailor themselves to their community as best they can. There’s a reason why many of the cafés in Montreal’s Mile-End neighbourhood such as Le Cagibi and Resonance have vegan food options and start serving beer in the evening. My personal favourite cafés in Montreal are Pourquoi Pas, Névé, Le Cagibi, Resonance, Kafein, and Olympia.
Get yourself an Indie Coffee Passport for your city, hop on a bike and get to know the different quirks of each unique area in your city. I will repeat this, but I can’t be the only person who finds a man making coffee sexy.