“Adventure in life is good; consistency in coffee even better.” ― Justina Chen
Never underestimate the power of a great cup of coffee when travelling. Good enough just doesn’t make it. Thankfully for all you great coffee aficionados, the Third Wave Coffee movement is in full throttle in Quebec City! A movement where the coffee bean is considered an artisanal produce the same way one would consider wine or chocolate. It advocates a control over every step of the way, from plantation to roasting all the way to the quantity of water poured in a cup. Filter or espresso, here are my favourite places for a great cup of coffee in Québec City.
849 Rue Saint-Joseph Est, G1K 3C8
Saint-Henri makes the Wave proud and strong in Québec City. A coffee where slightly acidic, fruit-filled flavours remind my taste buds of warm summer vibes. Located in an entirely new building on the extreme east end of Saint-Joseph Street in Saint-Roch –a neighbourhood with many similarities to Saint-Henri’s original location- the café’s setting is reminiscent of some of the world’s most beautiful coffee houses. Its Swedish-like design is linear, clean and refined with wood as a core essence. The setting is ideal for a daily fix of natural floor-to-ceiling light in harmony with the coffee’s soothing melodies; an environment that casts bright, positive, trendy industrial vibes. Québec City’s only ”artisanal” donut offer is incorporated to the Saint-Henri café. Available fresh every day and in many decadent flavours like smores, lemon custard, blackberries and Boston cream. Free wifi.
Saint-Roch location: 235 St-Joseph Est, G1K 3B1
Limoilou Location: 1001 3e Ave, G1L 2X3
Nektar’s baristas are beautiful, beautiful people. Their smiles feel very welcoming, and the great attention to customer service makes Nektar stand out in Québec City. But, Nektar’s biggest asset remains its coffee. Settled in the heart of two very trendy neighbourhoods, Limoilou and Saint-Roch, the owners of Nektar collaborate with roasters who care greatly for high quality coffee beans. There, you’ll taste some of North-America’s favourite artisans of the third wave scene: Intellegencia, Metropolis, PT’s, 49th Parallel and my very favourite coffee in the world, George Howell’s. Every day, a different «grand cru» blend is offered; an opportunity to taste a cup without having to buy a bag. Nektar is also where you’ll find the best frozen lemonade in town, made with a hint of mint! Free wifi available at both locations.
25 Rue Couillard, G1R 3T3
Off the beaten paths and onto one of Quebec City’s most charming streets, Chez Temporel is hidden away in Old Quebec’s rue Couillard. This tiny neighbourhood café doesn’t sit more than 20 people and is considered by many locals as the most romantic place to enjoy, among many other delicacies, a café viennois. In summer, the tables set along the narrow sidewalk reminds me of Paris. If hunger strikes, jambon-beurre and croque-monsieur are a must. Do indulge in the carrot cake, it is one of the most tasty recipes in town. Free wifi.
1089 Ave. Cartier, G1R 2S6
As a student, I used to spend hours at café Krieghoff catching up on Virginia Wolf’s ethics of emancipation and Emerson’s concepts on Nature. Located in the heart of the posh Montcalm neighbourhood on Avenue Cartier, Krieghoff attracts intellectuals and poets of any ilk. The brick façade and dark wooden accents set an ideal tone for romantic conversation, especially during warm, rainy evenings. A beautiful street-facing terrace ideal for a café et croissant. Free wifi.
181 Rue Saint-Vallier Est, G1K 3P2
Set in an almost heritage-like brick & wood decor in Saint-Roch, Maelstrøm is Quebec City’s most ”hipsteriffic” coffee house. During daytime, a young crowd armed with top-of-the-line laptops occupy most of the territory. Only Pilot’s coffee from Toronto is served alongside homemade, health-centric snacks. I wish they served breakfast! Maelstrøm also makes the city’s favourite cold brew, nitrogen infused please. Take it to go in a beautiful apothecary-like bottle as a souvenir. At night, coffee-driven cocktails take over where sudden pretentious, and very condescending tattooed bartenders kill the daytime friendliness. Not my evening crowd, but definitely a great daytime coffee to go. Free wifi.
575 rue Saint-Jean, G1R 1P5
Rue Saint-Jean is among the most popular destinations to get acquainted with the Québec City lifestyle. It is one of Québec City’s oldest, liveliest streets. From the steep climb of Côte de la Montagne to the beautiful historic Faubourg Saint-Jean-Baptiste, great coffee is surprisingly hard to find along the way, Cantook. Known to locals as the former Brûlerie de café de Québec, Cantook is a perfect example of a local-favourite
where many coffee enthusiasts regularly flock. It is also where you’ll find the most affordable cappuccino in town. Free wifi.
840 Avenue Honoré Mercier, G1R 5N4
Ninkasi Honoré Mercier -not the Faubourg location- is the only 24 hour coffee house in Québec City. Serving only small-town Gaspé-roasted coffee beans, Ninkasi Honoré Mercier is where I always grab my #5amclub cappuccino. If you’re hungry, Ninkasi Honoré Mercier serves surprisingly great food 24 hours a day. My favourite: the generous chicken sesame wrap created by Benoit, Chef at iX pour Bistro in Limoilou. For kids -or children at heart- Ninkasi’s homemade rice crispy squares are hearty good. Free Wifi.