Our City’s Coffee Culture – Exploring the ‘Third Wave’

You’ve got your latte… your Americano… your cold brew… your French press… but whichever blend you choose, there’s no denying that nothing gets the blood flowing like that first cup of joe in the morning.

And boy, do we love our coffee here in Canada! We may not have the proper climate to grow the beans, but we Canucks are some of the largest coffee consumers in the world, averaging 3 cups of java per person per day. That’s a lot of coffee!

The coffee/café culture in Canada has come a long way in the past decade. We’re enjoying the movement toward high-quality, directly traded, ethically sourced beans—the so-called Third Wave of coffee. A cup of coffee is no longer viewed as a bleary-eyed morning necessity, but as a luxury drink… and producers have taken note. The industry is moving away from mass-produced blends in favour of carefully selected and roasted beans.

Here in our fair city, we’re blessed to enjoy several independent roasters who are passionate about providing quality products to their customers.

Be sure to visit one or two, or all, of these special spots.

Fair Grounds Organic Café and Roastery

1106 Ogden Ave. Mississauga   |   905.990.6100
3785 Lake Shore Blvd. W. Etobicoke   |   416.251.2233

Fair Grounds Organic coffee was founded by Jeffrey Stinson in 2007, with an aim to provide organic and traceable coffee to the public. While carrying out research for another job, Stinson discovered the appalling and unethical financial circumstances that plague coffee growers in developing countries. With this knowledge, Stinson dedicated his time to sourcing fairly-traded coffee beans. He began roasting in a rented warehouse, spending weekends loading his car and selling his beans at local farmers markets, and then decided to open up a café of his own. Now, with two busy locations, Fair Grounds has turned into a full-time business.

Embarking on several trips a year, Jeffrey works carefully to open supply chains for coffee growers and has cultivated personal relationships across more than 15 farms in Columbia, Nicaragua, Brazil, Honduras, and Ethiopia.  He works closely with these growers and has seen first-hand how an honestly-traded product can provide sustainable living conditions and vastly improve the quality of life for the growers and their communities. He is involved in every aspect of the business, from sourcing to roasting to packaging, and it’s reflected in the quality of his coffee.

The warehouse roastery and café is located on Ogden Ave with daily homemade treats from the bakery café on Lakeshore Blvd.

Look Local Mississauga’s recommended brew: The Middleman

Back Road Coffee Roasters

133 Queen Street E. Mississauga   |   647.287.2727

Lifelong friends and motorcycle buffs Alex Desrochers and Michel Lafortune are coffee connoisseurs. It’s no wonder—after years of riding their bikes across Canada, they developed a road trip coffee stop tradition. Once they got back home, the idea of providing specialty, high-quality coffee to other travellers taking the “back roads” began to form. After completing a roasting course in the US, Desrochers and Lafortune opened their family-run business in Port Credit last year. Located in an out-of-the-way warehouse by the train tracks, Back Road Coffee, though unassuming, has firmly implanted itself into our community.

Comparing the individual notes in coffee to the intricate, complicated elements that comprise a gorgeous glass of wine, Alex explains that there are many of the same factors in coffee production: region, aroma, soil quality, ripeness, and growing conditions. Buying from reliable importers, the partners take time to sample and source quality beans before roasting.

Featuring rustic, industrial-chic décor, Back Road offers an intimate café in front with the roasters, coffee, and motorcycles in the back… plus a cozy patio outdoors. As they celebrate their hugely popular first year in business there’s talk of a second location—stay tuned!

Look Local Mississauga’s recommended brew: Vagabond Ways

Java Works Coffee Roasters

1080 Stacey Court Mississauga   |   905.624.3321

Java Works Coffee began in an Ossington apartment living room in 1968, when Spiros Athanasoulis began roasting his own coffee beans and selling them to local Toronto restaurants and cafés. Today, in their Mississauga warehouse, Athanasoulis’ original roaster is still on display. The business is flourishing but continues to operate with a family-run feeling. Tom Lambros, Spiros’ grandson, remembers coming into the warehouse as a child and now uses the same recipes and methods as his grandfather. 

Java Works roast and test small batches at their on-site lab, combining beans from different regions to create rich blends and ensure consistency before making larger batches in the warehouse. Now offering an organic and fair-trade coffee line called Mountain Gem alongside their signature Java Works blends, espressos, and flavoured coffees, there is no niche they haven’t explored. They continue to expand online while still maintaining the high-calibre delicious product that customers have come to expect.

Buy Java Works coffee wholesale through its website or warehouse, or find it at Winners and Home Sense.

Look Local Mississauga’s recommended brew: Java Works Metropolitan or Mountain Gem Hummingbird 

by Kristen Psihogios

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