Caffeinated: Getting your fix in the Comox Valley

Words by Bevin Clempson
Photo by Jenn Dykstra

The coffeehouse dates back to the Middle East, with origination suggested as early as the late 1400s, where they were primarily used as a place for political gatherings. An introduction to the coffeehouse in Europe can be traced as far back as the 1600s, with the first one located in London. As a popular place for conversation and commerce, they spread like wildfire and became an integral part of English society that provided a respectable, sober, alternative to pubs and taverns.

While today’s form of gathering information and exchanging ideas is often more technical than personal, walk through the door of any modern coffee shop and you will find people convening and creating over a good cup of coffee.

The Comox Valley is known for natural beauty, art, music, and endless opportunity for outdoor adventure. But, did you know that it’s overflowing with an abundance of locally owned and operated coffeehouses, cafés, and coffee shops? Those of us who find ourselves in the throes of needing a fix are lucky to have a selection of palatable places to enjoy while both working and socializing.

The Broken Spoke is where coffee and bike-lovers unite! Located in downtown Courtenay, this unique bike store and coffee shop is committed to serving only the best coffee and espresso beverages. They proudly serve Discovery Coffee along with a variety of snacks. Stopping here is always worth the time, even if bikes aren’t your thing.

Since 1999, Cardero’s Café has been serving up breakfast, lunch, and coffee from its cozy location on 5th Street. Reviewers rave about the service, freshly baked goods, and excellent espresso beverages. It’s also a great place to work remotely and catch up with friends.

Coffee Love Bug is a sassy little coffee spot located on Cumberland Road in Courtenay. Offering friendly staff, a great selection of espresso beverages, and a unique Volkswagen-inspired atmosphere, this is a great place to pop in and grab a coffee to go.

Dark Side Chocolates is a unique chocolate boutique located in the heart of historic Cumberland. This chocolate lover’s haven creates the best truffles and confections on Vancouver Island, along with a satisfying selection of decadent chocolate-infused espresso beverages using ethical beans from local coffee roasters, Rhodos.

Hot Chocolates has been proudly serving coffee and espresso-based beverages since 1986. Located in the heart of downtown Courtenay, this artisan chocolate shop has built a solid reputation around quality, freshness, and really great chocolate. Offering an extensive selection of scrumptious handcrafted chocolate products, from truffles to chocolate bars and everything in between, you always find what you’re looking for–plus a little more! Customers happily line up for Americano, cappuccino, fresh brew, or hot chocolate, along with breads, cakes, cookies, and scones from the infamous Cakebread Artisan Bakery, conveniently sharing the same space. With their doors open seven days a week, this local hot spot is always ready to provide a memorable and delicious experience.

Locally owned and operated since 1995, Komox Grind Espresso & Smoothie Bar provides an awesome atmosphere to sit back and enjoy organic, fair trade coffee beverages, heavenly smoothies, a variety of delicious desserts, and fresh sandwiches. Venturing out of Comox, check out Cumberland Grind Espresso & Smoothie Bar for the same amazing coffee products and service.

The latest installment of world-famous Milano Coffee is located over on Comox Avenue—lucky us! Easily accessible with ample parking, this quaint, welcoming Comox hot spot is serving up a serious cup of coffee and espresso beverages in an inviting atmosphere. Milano offers award-winning espresso blends alongside superior single origin drip coffee, artisan baked goods, and light meals seven days a week.

Mudsharks Coffee is a family owned and operated community coffee shop located in downtown Courtenay. With delightful home-made breakfast and lunch menu options, a hearty selection of organic fair trade coffee and tea beverages, and one of the best patios in the neighbourhood, Mudsharks is great place to socialize or simply sit back and relax.

Pizzeria Guerrilla is valley-renowned for its unbelievable Italian-style pizza, but did you know that it offers nitro coffee as a regular beverage? Truth. These guys are genius, and the only happening spot in our slice of paradise offering this trendy cold coffee beverage that’s smooth, cold, and creamy; and shares the same cascading effect as Guinness.

Red Tree Specialty Coffee is an artisan micro-roaster located on Rosewall Crescent in Tin Town. Passionate about the social and environmental consciousness of coffee, Red Tree is committed to serving nothing but thoughtfully crafted coffee, tea, and tasty treats—and tout some of the most amazing pottery pieces I’ve ever seen. Always a friendly experience, the café has abundant hand-crafted seating, wonderful artwork, and great music. They also host an assortment of community events.

Rhodos Coffee & Bistro has been locally owned and operated since 1997. Fair trade, organic coffee beans are roasted on site, and this downtown café provides a scandalously delicious breakfast and lunch menu.

The Royston Roasting Company roasts the finest of beans for wholesale and use in their specialty coffeehouse. Their fabulous little location on Highway 19A in Royston offers coffee training, roasting tours, and—of course—the café hosts a variety of specialty espresso beverages, as well as delectable breakfast and lunch menu items with gluten-free and vegan options. You can also find their beans brewed and sold at a selection of local businesses and across the Comox Valley.

Tarbell’s Deli & Espresso features rustic made-to-order delicious deli sandwiches, house-made soups, daily baked goods, and a fabulous line-up of espresso beverages, coffee, and tea. This licensed establishment is full of character, located in the Village of Cumberland’s historic downtown, and open six days a week.

Located minutes from Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Comox, The Wagon Caf’EH is home to the best breakfast sandwich you will ever bite into. Offering a selection of expertly-poured espresso beverages, freshly-brewed coffee, and a mouthwatering menu, only the smile of this café’s owner, John, tops your order.

Situated in a historic building in the heart of the Village of Cumberland, The Wandering Moose Café is a wonderful place to pull up a chair and stay a while. Offering a friendly atmosphere, an extensive breakfast and lunch menu, and a variety of coffee beverages, this family-owned café is a popular space for locals and visitors alike.

World Community sells fairly-traded organic coffee, tea, hot chocolate, chocolate, cocoa, and a variety of spices from their location on Rosewall Crescent in Tin Town. As a community of advocates they work to foster an awareness of the social, economic, and environmental consequences of human activity at local and global levels, and have been a leader of promoting the concept of fair trade in the Comox Valley for nearly three decades.

If you’re like me and need a cup of coffee—or three—to jump start your day, then you probably have a decent little addiction going on. No judgment here. I’m right there with you and fully encourage that you visit our charming cafés and coffeehouses as regularly as your habit permits.




Category: Volume 9