If you’re a coffee lover, you know that there’s nothing more refreshing on a hot day than a chilled coffee drink, whether that’s a classic smooth cold brew or a creative new iced latte. With restaurants and cafes opening back up, this is the perfect year to discover new coffee shops and their delectable seasonal offerings.
Tasting Victoria explored the entirety of the CRD to track down some fantastic options, from North Saanich to Colwood. So don’t let the pandemic get you down this summer; let a cool coffee perk you up instead!
Shatterbox Coffee, located downtown in the Victoria Public Market, conveys the spirit of an authentic Italian cafe, both in atmosphere and coffee.
Italian coffee roasters have a long history of being masters of the espresso blend, and Shatterbox is continuing that tradition here in Victoria. This isn’t the place for a unique and exotic single origin. Instead, come for a perfectly balanced brew that transports you straight to Northern Italy.
When it comes to cold drinks, Shatterbox has a full seasonal menu of Italian classics. To really let the flavour of the coffee shine, try something basic like an Iced American or Iced Latte. But if you want to try something a little more adventurous, check out the Miami Vice. This drink pairs cold brewed espresso, iced sparkling water, and vanilla syrup.
Hey Happy, also found downtown, is paradise for coffee nerds. Do you regularly find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of incredible local coffee roasters? Then Hey Happy is your happy place (no pun intended).
They source the best coffee from roasters in the Pacific Northwest and around the world, and brew each to impeccably high standards. And it’s not just the coffee; they give the same care and attention to all aspects of their drinks, sourcing the best dairy and making nut milks in house.
For caffeine fiends, this is a great spot to try a nitro cold brew. The nitrogen gas gives it a natural sweetness and rich creamy texture, just like Guiness beer. If you’re after something a little more mellow, try the always popular coconut milk iced latte.
If you’re not up for a visit to the downtown core, you still have plenty of options. There isn’t a neighbourhood in Victoria without a fantastic coffee shop. If you find yourself in Oak Bay, don’t skip Ottavio Italian Bakery & Deli. This is one of the city’s best spots to immerse yourself in all things Italy, espresso included.
Ottavio’s opened in 1997, and it’s a testament to its popularity that when its original founders were ready to move on, two local residents banded together to take over. True to their old-school Italian vibe, Ottavio’s uses Illy coffee, a traditional North Italian blend, for all their espresso drinks. You won’t be disappointed with an iced American on a hot day.
*Pro tip: * If you’re in the mood for a quick bite, try the Tasting Victoria favourite Lombardo sandwich, featuring gorgonzola, prosciutto, balsamic onion fig confit, pear, and slivered almonds on a housemade roll.
Sequoia Coffee has long been energizing visitors to the Royal BC Museum downtown, but it’s their new outpost in Colwood’s Royal Bay that brought them to Tasting Victoria’s attention. Opened in the challenging year that was 2020, the eye-catching cafe is constructed of shipping containers that have been perched atop a hillside with a stunning view over the Salish Sea.
Sequoia brews locally roasted 2% Jazz coffee using an Italian-made La Marzocco espresso machine, always a mark of a serious cafe. If you’re enjoying all the West Shore has to offer this summer, this is a fantastic spot for an easy iced latte to go.
Habit is a longtime local favourite with two popular locations downtown, in the Atrium and Chinatown. Their success is a result of two factors, training the best baristas and sourcing the best locally roasted coffees. They’ve recently partnered with Bows & Arrows, an emerging coffee roaster that has made big waves in recent years for their high-end specialty coffee.
On a hot day, don’t skip their fresh and flavourful Flash Brew iced coffee. In contrast with cold brew, Flash Brew coffee concentrate is brewed hot to extract more flavour, and then served over ice to flash chill it. If coffee isn’t your thing, be sure to check out their seasonal lemonade, served with or without a lavender infusion.
Established in 2007, Fernwood Coffee is a cultural hub of the hip and trendy Fernwood neighbourhood. They roast their own coffee and also run the popular Parsonage cafe, which serves one of the city’s best breakfast sandwiches.
Uniquely, Fernwood offers canned carbonated cold brew, perhaps the perfect choice for the Covid era. It’s the easiest way to bring a chilled brew to your favourite socially distanced picnic spot.
They have two flavours, either plain cold brew or cream soda. Both are crafted entirely in-house, starting from their award-winning espresso blend coffee. The carbonated cold brew is crisp and refreshing, with a gentle natural sweetness. The cream soda adds organic cane sugar and a touch of natural vanilla.
One of Victoria’s original small batch roasters, Discovery Coffee has been around a long time. And yet they continue to innovate and impress, with five locations now scattered around the CRD. In 2020, they were voted Victoria’s Coffee Roaster of the Year and Coffee Shop of the Year in the Th3rd Wave Coffee Awards.
It’s a wonderful spot for a classic cold brew or creamy nitro cold brew. But it’s an even better spot to try something unique and creative. This spring they’re offering a coconut chocolate cold brew, a salted honey iced latte, or a cherry yuzu cold brew.
In warm weather, the Level Ground Tasting Room, located in North Saanich, is a great stopping-off point for cyclists on the Lochside Trail or hikers exploring nearby ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean Provincial Park. Stop in for an iced latte to fuel your adventure.
Housed in the same facility as Level Ground’s coffee roastery, the Tasting Room is more than a simple cafe. It’s an opportunity to learn more about coffee tasting, coffee brewing, and the industry as a whole. The baristas are as skilled as they are knowledgeable.
To learn more about what makes Level Ground special, check out Tasting Victoria’s profile.
With the list, you’re ready for the ultimate peppy and refreshing summer on the Island. Have you tried any of these tasty treats? Did we miss your favourite? Let us know in the comments!