If you’re like me and you can’t go without a cup of coffee in the morning, chances are your taste buds are going to start craving the finer brews in life. And if you’re like me and occasionally you’re tired of having Tim Hortons and Starbucks as the only two major coffee options away from home, chances are you’re probably wondering if there are any other choices to find your usual pick-me-up.
Luckily, not only does Nanaimo have a huge selection of restaurants to choose from, but also its local coffee shop lineup has expanded these past few years. So, without further ado, allow me to introduce to you some of many unique little coffee shops for that caffeine fix you need when the big guys just won’t cut it.
#1: Perkins Coffee
Perkins is one of my favourite places to get a drink in downtown Nanaimo. Their dessert selection is excellent, varying from carrot cake cupcakes to homemade cookies. One of my favourite kinds includes the triple-chocolate chip cookie, using a Reese’s peanut butter cup as the center and featuring three different kinds of chocolate chunks throughout.
For those lacking a sweet tooth or trying to cut back on their sugar intake, there are also salads, soups, sandwiches, and many other homemade lunch items to nibble on. And of course, their coffee is super tasty!
#2: The Buzz Coffee House
I can safely say this: the Buzz Coffee House has the best coffee I have ever tasted outside of my own home in Nanaimo. I am not kidding. Located on Dufferin Crescent, just on the cusp of Bowen Road, these guys serve carrot cake that I swear is as good as any parent or grandparent is ever going to make.
I had the pleasure of personally trying their coffee when I was at this year’s annual Bite of Nanaimo; they were a featured booth, and I had not only one but two cups of their coffee in total (given I’m not an alcoholic, and wasn’t in the mood for tea that day, my options were limited in beverage choices that night).
My only regret is that their location, especially for those who don’t drive and rely on transit to get around, is a little bit too out of the way to become a regular customer at their shop. But some day I will drop in for a visit and drain their coffee pot dry! (Stomach permitting, of course.)
#3: Serious Coffee
While not nearly as small business-y as the rest of the coffee shops mentioned here, I do still appreciate this place being here in town, and it’s a BC-only located coffee shop to boot. For a while, there was one next door to Piper’s Lagoon Pub along Hammond Bay road and just up the street from Neck Point Park, and they served my favourite muffin there – the cranberry spice muffin. Raspberry herbal tea, London Fogs, and of course, their coffee, will always have me coming back.
Their menus vary from location to location, so not every menu item I just mentioned will be featured at that particular spot. I do know that downtown, where they are next door to the Nanaimo Museum on Commercial Street, they serve a great grilled cheese panini, and their barbecue chicken calzone is also good for a quick lunch if you forget to pack one by accident. Get it while served inside and it usually comes with salsa and sour cream.
#4: Mon Petit Choux
Another local coffee shop that’s on the fancier side, Mon Petit Choux is located just on the corner of Wharf and Commercial, across from Diana Krall Plaza. Their drinks, lunch menu, and desserts are all specially made with expert and extra attention to detail. While I do find at times their coffee is a little strong for my taste, those who are fans of dark roasts or gourmet style coffee drinks will find themselves perfectly at ease here.
This cute and cool little coffee shop is right on Front Street, right next to the parking lot complex that’s down the staircase next to the Bastion. They serve their own special blends of coffee beans and have an excellent hot chocolate recipe that is perfect for when it’s snowing out. The name enough is a great reason to drop by, and if you choose to sit outside you get a great view of the ocean and nearby islands. Just make sure to stop in at an ideal time for the best seating – it can get super cramped and busy there sometimes, especially during major events like the Bathtub Races!
These coffee shops are just a small taste of the unique and tasty alternatives to the typical fare offered in Nanaimo – if you have a favourite coffee shop or place to chat and catch up on good times, let us know and we will add it to this blog post. We love getting recommendations!
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Amazing Vancouver Island and a clickable link back to this page.