Hamilton certainly doesn’t lack good coffee. In the downtown core and neighbouring communities, you can practically find a café on every corner. People are moving further away from the big brand names of the 1960s like Folders and Nescafe, and trading in their Starbucks and Tim Hortons in exchange for independent, small roasters of the third-wave coffee movement.
Today’s third wave coffee culture is flying high with an ethical and progressive movement towards better control over the process of sourcing, testing, roasting, and brewing. Untraceable coffee is no longer acceptable practice and mass-produced over-roasted beans are being cast aside in favour of high-quality, small batch specialty coffee.
There are a variety of third-wave roasters in the city, each creating their own unique blends and flavours of beans – and bringing their own flair to the classic drink.
RELAY Coffee Roasters
Roastery – 75 Lancing Drive, Unit E, Hamilton,
Café / Drinks – Hamilton Farmers Market or 590 Concession Street, Hamilton
Founded in 2008 as Red Hill Coffee Trade, owners Jason and Rachel have committed themselves to roasting fair trade certified and certified organic coffee from a variety of origins. In 2011 they found themselves opening their first coffee bar in the Hamilton Farmers Market, and in 2013 expanded to their second coffee bar on Concession Street in Hamilton. Each of their locations serve custom blends that have been grown and harvested sustainably in small batches with skill and care. Their knowledgeable team makes the experience of trying a new blend or an old favourite, an excellent one.
Detour Coffee Roasters
Roastery – 2-2234 Harold Road, Burlington
Café – 41 King Street West, Dundas, Detourcoffee.com
Detour Café has been a mainstay in the Dundas community for several years, starting with their roastery in 2009. Their innovative breakfast and lunch dishes, paired with eye-catching shopfront and delicious coffee blends, have made them somewhat of a community hub these days. Though they have made some changes in the restaurant over the years, such as the renovations and recent addition of Dear Grain Breads, their mission to help people enjoy coffee as more than just “mindless morning fuel” remains unchanged. They source the highest quality green coffees they can find, and roast them fresh to order. The Detour team is always happy to discuss blend options and help you find the best coffee for you – along with the best way to brew it!
Vintage Coffee Roasters
977 King Street East, Hamilton
Located on King Street just east of the core, Vintage Coffee Roasters believes in making good coffee accessible to everyone. With fresh roasted coffee created each week, the Vintage Coffee team “develops unique roasting profiles for all of their coffees to highlight unique flavour characteristics.” The variety of blend options come with flavour notes from blackberry and raspberry to hazelnut, smoky, and caramel – there is sure to be a coffee that anyone would enjoy. Pair that with their cozy little cafe, and you have a recipe for success! They also retail their brewing equipment to be sure you can enjoy the proper Vintage Coffee experience at home.
103 Vine Street, Hamilton
Though Coffeecology comes without a storefront in the city, their fairtrade organic blends are available in many restaurants and cafés across the city, such as Mustard Seed Co-op, Dundurn Market, The Blend Smoothies Evolved, and more! Their mission is to create a business that is a source of good in the world, affecting positive change in some of the poorest regions, and at the same time promoting great coffee. If you plan to order online in the Hamilton area, expect your order to come by bike. The jars that the beans arrive in can be returned and refilled with a fresh batch of beans – so you can feel good about your purchase with Coffeecology.
BY HEATHER PETER