Did you know that there are nearly 20 coffee roasters in Greater Victoria? From small single roasters just starting out to large multi-roasters that have been around for decades, this list combines a mixture of the bunch. If you are interested in coffee culture, supporting locally owned and operated businesses, or coffee roasting in general, read on dear friend to find out which local roaster to visit next!
Bows & Arrows Coffee Roasters
This popular, not-so-underground roaster, located on the corner of Bridge Street and Garbally Road, has certainly grown a cult following since opening its garage in 2012. Bows & Arrows is a self-proclaimed “collection of stray coffee professionals” trying to do right by their customers and vendors alike. If you have struggled to make it to the roasting location for whatever reason, you will be pleased to know that the new Torch Song cafe is now open on Government where you can peruse records while you await your maple Africano.
This coffee roaster will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year! Being one of the OG roasters in Victoria, you can see Caffe Fantastico’s operation in full swing at its Quadra Village location, enjoy the menu at the Parkside Hotel, or in Vic West with a water view. When asked what drove them to decide to become a roaster, the answer was simple: quality. They have been traveling directly to coffee origins since 2000 in order to commit to quality for the communities they serve to bolster coffee education, and build direct relationships. You can feel good knowing Caffe Fantastico uses a state-of-the-art Loring roaster that offers smokeless roasting and significantly reduces the energy required to roast coffee compared to others. Stop by and try an Americano with the signature Causeway Fantastico espresso blend that has been a staple for over 25 years. If you want something totally unique, opt in for a nitro brew, or if sustainability is key for you, try the Mason jar program. Hot tip: if you are craving some breakfast with your coffee, we highly recommend the breakfast sandwich!
Possibly the newest roaster on our list, Cassette Roastery has been operating low-key out of the Dolce Vita cafe on Yates Street for several months. Owner Tony Kwon started this specialty roaster and brand during the pandemic as a result of his passion for coffee culture. This ultra-micro roaster is zero-impact and ultra-cool. If you like your coffee with a side of hip-hop and chat, be sure to make this stop a top priority. Thanks to follower Beth for suggesting the Cubano.
Roastery: 911 Yates St.
This roaster has the biggest Instagram following and was highly recommended when we reached out to followers about their favourite roasters. This cafe-roastery started from humble beginnings 17 years ago on Discovery Street and has since grown to include three more cafes and a relocated roastery and training facility that played host to the 2020 Canadian National Barista Championships. Discovery’s commitment to coffee culture is evident through its participation in these types of events, its active memberships through the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), and collaborations with blends that benefit. We recommend you try the popular Discovery blend for your next latte or take a bag of the Rock Bay espresso blend home to try your own creation. You can find Discovery’s coffee across Canada at a number of multi-roaster cafes. If you are looking to elevate your cafe experience with some food, you will be remiss if you don’t try Yonni’s doughnut care of its sister bakery, which serves all the Discovery cafe locations.
Fernwood Coffee Company
This next roaster grew unconventionally when the current owners acquired the cafe/roastery (then on North Park Street) 16 years ago and fell in love with the process. Fernwood Coffee may be synonymous locally with the Parsonage Cafe. It is a community hub for North Park and Fernwood, as the name implies, and that community feel informs the sense of direction for the roastery. You will find their freshest coffee, like their Fernwood Blend, at the cafe or online, but you can also find it at most local grocery stores, at many other Vancouver Island cafes, and “fueling adventure at some of the most remote wilderness lodges in the area.”
Fix! Coffee Roasters
If you live in the Westshore, you will want to check out this roaster. Fix Coffee has been in operation for two and a half years, and although it does not have a dedicated storefront yet, its roastery is located in Esquimalt and fresh brews can be found at the Coffee Shack in Langford. Fix! is a small-batch roaster, which means it produces no more than 10-pound bags. Try the Upcoast Espresso blend or the Guatemala or Peru dark roasts. Check out Fix! online to see the latest seasonal single origin and to learn more about where to buy your next bag.
If you are out on the Peninsula, you will want to visit this hidden gem that just celebrated its 25th anniversary in the fall. Level Ground’s cafe and roastery are located off Keating X Road in the industrial area of Sean Heights with views of the Saanich Peninsula. This fair-trade, organic roastery was started to “alleviate poverty and address trade inequities between producers in developing countries and North American coffee consumers.” Its founding Columbia dark roast is the most popular blend, but if you are a decaf drinker, we recommend the decaf dark. You can pick up Level Ground beans in bulk at many grocers, including Costco, direct through the website, or better yet, stop by in person and try out the unique coffee-tasting flight to find the blend that’s just right for you!
Mile Zero Coffee Co.
The last roaster (in alphabetical order) on our list is Mile Zero Coffee Co. The roastery and coffee bar is located on Bridge Street, where you can see the single-roasting process firsthand. Mile Zero was started with a mission to “serve [e] the vibrant local market and community around us [with] the freshest specialty coffee available.” It uses only Arabica beans, and its small batch process means the beans are only roasted for orders placed to keep the coffee at maximum freshness. For up-to-date cafe hours, check out their Instagram page, and you can click on the post below to learn more about the famous latte.