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In Search Of A Great Cup Of Coffee @Bridgehead

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I’m awake and I just need that 1 perfect cup of coffee to get my day started.

Coffee. It’s what gets my day started. When I’m home in Vancouver I know exactly where to go when I need a shot of caffeine but not here in Ottawa. It’s my first time here so the hunt begins. After all I’m here for 30 Days In Ottawa so I’m going to need a lot of coffee to get me through the trip.

Marc before coffee

Yup that’s what happens when I haven’t had my first cup of coffee yet.

My first morning waking up in Ottawa I was in the downtown area as I had spent a great night at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier. The closest coffee shop that wasn’t a Starbucks, Tim Hortons or Second Cup (for the record not my kind of coffee) is Planet Coffee. Located in one of the little hidden secret courtyards in the ByWard Market it was a little hard to find at first but it was definitely worth it.

Planet Coffee

A great selection of baked goods and a fairly decent Americano means that right off the start I’ve found a place that can supply my caffeine needs.

My search was about to get a turbo boost though. I met CBC journalist Laurie Fagan who did a small recorded interview with me on the streets in front of Parliament. I was asked about my thoughts on the food scene here in Ottawa. The street interview turned into an invite to appear on CBC Radio’s Ottawa Morning show Robyn Bresnahan. It’s only the most listened to radio program in the Ottawa area! On air I threw out a challenge to all those listening that I was hunting for Ottawa’s best coffee. My twitter feed exploded!

Here’s the interview

Armed with recommendations my hunt for the perfect cup of coffee truly begins. Lucky for me Planet Coffee got quite a few thumbs up.

Also a fan favourite was Bluebird Coffee on Dalhousie St near the ByWard Market.

Bluebird Coffee

Bluebird Coffee Espresso machine

Another very respectable Americano was made for me. I’ve now got two decent choices for my daily caffeine fix, but they aren’t the perfect cup just yet.

The overwhelming recommendation for the best coffee in Ottawa though had to be for Bridgehead. With over 15 locations in town they certainly would be easy for me to find when I have a coffee craving.


I started at the Fairmont and Wellington location in Hintonburgh. Close to where I’m now staying and easy parking. I had only just ordered my drink when I got a tweet from the folks at Bridgehead to come visit them at their roastery for a tour. How could I say no to that?

Bridgehead Preston Location

Before I start the tour though I need to taste my Americano. Ah, yes I’ve found heaven, my search is over. Great crema and lots of bold espresso flavour just the way I like it. Now on with the tour. If you visit the Preston St location the roastery is fully open to view from the actual cafe.

Green coffee beans

into the roaster they go

coffee roaster

What was really cool was what happened next, Randy treated me to a cupping experience. This is the process that the coffee buyers and brewers go through when selecting beans to purchase and also when they create blends for sale. Imagine a similar process for making wine and beer. It’s part science and art.

Here’s the step by step experience.

We start with ground coffee

Smelling the coffee grounds

adding water to the coffee grounds

smelling the aroma of brewed coffee

Last but not least of course was the tasting. FUN!

Not only did I find my perfect cup of coffee in Ottawa but I also got a lesson on how good coffee is made from the bean to brewing. All in all I’d say a pretty successful hunt!

Randy from Bridgehead

Huge thanks to everyone that tweeted and emailed me with their suggestions along with all the great coffee shops I visited. I’m sure if you live or have visited Ottawa you might have your own opinions on the best coffee. Speak up. I’m only a 1/3 of the way through the trip so perhaps I might find another hidden gem to add to the list of places I can get my caffeine fix.

30 Days In Ottawa would not be possible without the support from a little bean that makes the world a happy and bright place. Thank you coffee Smile

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About Author

Marc Smith is a former event planner turned vagabond adventurer. He loves strong Americano's, great wine, cold beer and zip lining over tree tops. Formerly of Vancouver, most of Marc's time when not travelling is in Canada's largest city, Toronto. Follow along on his nomad adventures and discover places to stay, things to do and where to eat & drink as he explores the world one city and region at a time.

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