September is here, and it’s back to school season. Not only are students returning to campus, of which Montreal has many, including McGill and Concordia in the downtown vicinity, but many employees are also back at work after summer holidays. Waking up early again may be a bit of a shock to the system, so you’ll need coffee for getting back into your routine. And not just any coffee, good coffee. These options in Montreal are guaranteed to give you the caffeine boost and morning snacks you need to fuel you until lunch, if not keep you going all day long.
With multiple locations in Mile Ex, the Plateau, and of course, on campus, Dispatch is a reliable bet to re-up on caffeine any time, any day. They roast all of their own beans, which you can also buy to take home, for days when you want to stay in and save money. If you are treating yourself though, you can’t leave without getting a homemade Oreo, and maybe a salad for lunch to balance everything out.
Located right across the street from McGill’s downtown campus, Humble Lion is a favourite among students and professors alike. They make a mean latte (not to mention an extra mean maple latte) and always offer a selection of portable sweet and savoury treats that are the perfect way start your day. Scones, croissants, and even pecan butter tarts are all on the menu.
Not technically located anywhere near downtown, Café Olimpico deserves a mention given that it is located in the Mile End, one of the most populous residential neighbourhoods in all of North America. So if you’re already playing hooky, or need to caffeinate between leaving home and making your way to campus, Olimpico is the place to go. Their old-school Italian espresso is strong, so if you weren’t fully awake before drinking it, you undoubtedly will be afterwards.
Known for their fun latté art (a cute teddy bear atop your matcha latté makes even the worst sleep-deprived morning better), Melk is perfect for both beverages and treats. Unlike many coffee shops, they do all of their baked goods in house, rather than outsourcing to Montreal bakeries like Hof Kelsten or Guillame (which also make great products, we might add). Muffins, cookies, scones, you name it, they have them in spades!
Having coined themselves Montreal’s “secret coffee lair”, this spot is actually conveniently located in the McGill metro station. So whether you’re travelling downtown for school or for work, you can get off the train and promptly grab yourself a coffee to go. They’ve also got pastries like cookies and cannoli to ensure you can get your sugar fix too.
Proclaiming to have the “world’s worst coffee”, Pigeon Espresso Bar unsurprisingly offers exactly the opposite. Their menu is short and simple, but features some pretty great coffee beans, like those from Montreal’s own Kittel. They also have both cold brew and kombucha on tap if you prefer chilled beverages to kickstart your day. Oh, and don’t forget to grab some chocolate babka to munch on. If you’re looking for a less sweet and more filling option, they also do oatmeal for breakfast.
This new-ish space on Sherbrooke does double duty as a café and a workspace, so you may just want to order your java to stay in and work from the office for the day. Plus, its breakfast menu is so much more than your standard pastry counter. Choose from the breakfast sandwich (on a St. Viateur bagel naturally) or housemade granola with apple compote and fresh fruit. Sandwiches are also available throughout the day.
The only thing better than a coffee shop is a coffee shop that doubles as a bar. You can pop into Kafein in the morning for a coffee and a panini, and then stop in again at the end of the work day for a cocktail or two. Located right on Bishop street, it’s close to both McGill and Concordia, so it’s a convenient student spot too.