We just booked an Alitalia flight to Milan for December, enabling Catherine, Oliver and I to reprise my visit last year to Colletta.
This means that it’s coming up to a full year since I began life as a highfalutin coffee drinker. Over the year I’ve documented 15 places in Charlottetown that serve cappuccino, and there have been a few more since; here’s a brief update on each:
- Beanz — Since the L’affaire Voldemort in May I’ve only been back once; before then I’d settled into a routine of stopping in 2 to 3 mornings a week. I’d rate the cappuccino 6 out of 10; the service and the bagels elevated the experience into worthwhileness.
- Timothy’s — Still in flux since their recent move from Kent to University, Timothy’s has won the bulk of my morning coffee business over the year. Their coffee isn’t to-die-for, but it’s adequate, and they make an awesome bagel with Swiss cheese and tomato, and Michelle is the best coffee server in town.
- Mavor’s — Haven’t been there in months. Never got a taste for the coffee, and somehow its underground location never registers on my radar, even though it’s effectively next door to my house.
- Bo’s To Go — Was the coffee place in the Atlantic Technology Centre, but it’s since be rebranded the “Hard Drive Café” and they ditched the espresso machine, so it’s out of contention.
- Linda’s Coffee Shop — I always enjoyed the coffee at Linda’s, and the service was always tops, but its location — in the opposite direction from my office — and the lack of breakfast foods that meet my non-egg-eating tastes mean I’ve only been back a couple of times since winter.
- Brett at the Market — With only a few exceptions I’ve had one of Brett’s coffees every Saturday morning this year, with two months of Wednesday visits in the summer to boot. Probably my favourite mix of quality coffee and atmosphere; staff are the most energetic in the city.
- Cora’s — One coffee was all it took to drive me away forever.
- Delta Prince Edward — Ditto.
- The Charlottetown Hotel — They never had cappuccino, so I’ve not returned.
- The Marketplace Café — RIP, alas. I miss it.
- Great Canadian Bagel — No, no, a thousand times no. Although I do appreciate the fact they sponsor the School Breakfast program.
- Catherine Miller — Catherine still makes the best coffee in town. I have yet to master the intricacies of her Gaggia, and when I try to make coffee for myself I’m inevitably disappointed.
- Casa Mia — An unexpected gift to the city, and, hands-down, the best beans in Charlottetown. Casa Mia appeared from nowhere on Queen Street, and I’d move all my morning coffee business there if only they opened earlier than 9:00 a.m. Their service is still spotty — they get overwhelmed easily — but oh my is their coffee ever good.
- The Island Grind — I went once, had a good coffee, went again and they were out of food, which pushed me over the edge and I haven’t been back.
- Kickstart — The coffee part of the Urban Eatery. They serve Illy coffee, have an excellent fruit salad and some good pastries. There are two major strikes against them, however, as a morning coffee stop: the atmosphere of the Muzak-filled food court is dreadful, and they only serve coffee in “to go” cups, which I cannot bear.
- Café Diem — Closed for the winter, alas. Staff problems of years gone by were eliminated this year, and the incremental renovations made each winter have turned the space into a very pleasant place to spend time, especially on cool summer mornings. Eating so many of their chocolatines probably took a few months off my life. And I always enjoyed the coffee.
These days if you’re looking for me between 8:30 a.m. at 9:00 a.m. you’re most likely to find me at Timothy’s; if a freak delay means I seek coffee after 9, then you’ll see me at Casa Mia.
I too like what I make at home with my Gaggia better than what I get at most cafes. It suggests to me that most places are using poor practices—like using stale grounds or cheap coffee or not keeping their machines clean and calibrated.