Best Coffee Shops Around…

Best Coffee Shops Around!

We have lots of local options for “coffee dates”, either as a way to catch up with friends, or for a business meeting with clients.  While there are lots of “chain” coffee shops in the area, it’s nicer to be able to support local owners – people just like you and me, who live and work in the area.  Owners who you will bump into at the grocery store, ore meet in the line-up at the bank, and see them at the soccer field with their kids (or grandkids!)

Below is a list of some of my favourite local coffee shops, that you absolutely must try!

Equator: Located just at the edge of Almonte, as you approach from Ottawa, Equator has turned into a growing concern.  They started out as a local “roaster” in 1998, sourcing fair-trade, organic beans through Cooperative Coffee, trading directly with the farmer cooperatives and eliminating much of the “middleman/red-tape”.  With more than 20 years in the business, they have experienced much change and growth, and recently completed a rehab project which doubled their space in Almonte to now include the café, the roastery and a coffee-lab for training purposes.

Their menu continues to grow as well – so you can expect to find a variety of blends being brewed, as well as specialty coffees, specialty teas, fresh baking from Baker Bob or Sweet-Cheeks Kitchen gluten-free treats.  The expansion included new food offerings such as pizza, wine and beer…  more than just a coffee shop!  They are still famous for their “Freakin Good” coffee…  which is one of my favourite blends.

They have expanded services to a shop in Westboro Village, at the NAC in 2018, and a coffee truck starting in 2019.  Even if you don’t live local, it’s well worth a weekend drive to experience Equator.

North Market Almonte: Looking for something a little more “main street”, then stop into North Market, literally in the middle of Mill Street in Almonte.  Amanda and Rick Herrara are an amazing couple who we have watched grow their business, and food offerings, over the last several years.  They started at the Almonte Farmers Market several years ago, providing delicious summer breakfasts and baking, and preserves, and have quickly outgrown their space in an artist cooperative to move into their own restaurant – North Market.  Open daily they offer breakfast and lunch meals, with plenty of home-baked treats and serve “Fluid Solar Coffee” roasted in near-by Clayton Village.  

Baker Bob:   Another local Almonte “fixture”, is Baker Bob’s bakery on Mill Street.  Baker Bob (Graff) has been serving up coffee and buns for more than 20 years to Almontonians.  Easy to spot with his striped canopy, and wooden sign, Baker Bob provides a small seating area for you to enjoy his own blend of Equator coffee “Baker Bob’s Blend”, with a variety of baked-on-site treats from date squares and peanut butter cookies, to chocolate croissants and danishes, to butter tarts – with and without raisins!  Bob is closed on Sundays, presumably to rest his “buns”.

Under Pressure Coffee House:  One of my favourite go-to spots in Carleton Place, located in the mall on Landsdowne Avenue in Carleton Place.  With a variety of coffee from lattes to americanos to cappuccinos, and specialty teas, the fresh-baked loaves and muffins and cookies will tempt your palate.  She also offers a daily soup, and delicious sandwiches made fresh on site, but I mostly go here for coffee meetings.  Owner, Cara, is happy to help you make a selection of the best baking of the day!

Gathering Grounds Café:  Formerly known as the Owl Café and located at 135 Bridge Street in Carleton Place, open 7 days a week, 8:30-4:30.  This is a social enterprise, providing employment for youth and adults with learning disabilities, where they can learn a skill and build confidence, while providing hot and iced coffees, teas, smoothies, juices, as well as chilli, soups and sandwiches.

So, the next time you need to meet a friend, or have a business meeting, think local and support one of our locally run businesses.  You won’t be disappointed.

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