Some might say having five coffees in one night is excessive. After my adventure last Thursday, I’d have to agree. My night started out with a familiar feeling: the caffeine craving that demands to be satisfied before any real work can be done.
This craving was different, though. I wasn’t looking for the quick fix caffeine shot that any old Tim Horton’s double double would provide. I wanted something more. Something better.
I made a plan. Starting on campus and moving outwards, I would find that perfect cup of coffee within walking distance.
My first stop was Common Ground. This is my usual go-to spot on campus. Located up the stairs in the Queen’s Center, CoGro never fails to offer consistently great coffee and a laid-back atmosphere for getting some work done.
Whenever I have time to sit and sip on the house coffee blend with just a little cream, I know it’s going to be a good day. The coffee itself is smooth with a nice,mild flavour, and at $1.60 for a small, you won’t break your student budget.
I headed to Beamish-Munroe Hall (aka the ILC) for my second stop: another on-campus favourite of mine. The coffee as well as the environmentally friendly style makes the Tea Room unique, and another relaxing place to grab a cup.
The Tea Room is the first zero consumer waste coffee shop in Canada. Even the containers (except the plastic lids) are compostable, so don’t feel too guilty about immersing yourself in caffeine.
The coffee, priced $1.90 for a small, has a stronger, more bitter coffee flavor than the mild CoGro blend, but I’m definitely partial to strong brews and I know that the Tea Room always delivers.
At this point, I was definitely starting to perk up from the caffeine injections. I took a stroll off campus to 322 King Street, right across from Market Square, and walked into Coffeeco. With fair trade organic coffee and a pleasant, relaxing atmosphere, I knew I was in the right place.
Coffeeco is the perfect place to get away from the usual sights and sounds of the university while sipping on a latte with a book in hand. Instead of getting a regular coffee (priced $1.95 for a small), I decided to change it up and grab a cappuccino for $3.35.
The server behind the counter was friendly and even made some pretty fantastic coffee art for me. I almost didn’t want to drink the adorable teddy bear on top, but I’m that glad I did.
This cup of cappuccino was definitely one of the best I’ve ever had. Whenever I get a bit of free time for a walk down King Street, I’m heading back to Coffeeco.
Okay, three coffees down. At this point, I’m trying to pretend like I don’t have the coffee jitters and a serious need to sprint somewhere. It’s just a short walk from Coffeeco over to Sipps, at 33 Brock Street. Although the barista on duty was friendly and helpful, incredible customer service always steps this place up a notch.
I decided on a mocha latte for $3.95 instead of the small coffee for $1.86, and it was one of the best decisions I had made all night.
I find most mochas to be a little too sweet, with way more chocolate than coffee, but this one was an exception. Not overly sugary and, somehow, you can actually taste the quality coffee underneath the sugar. Pair the mocha with any of the fantastic desserts offered and you’ll have a little party.
At this point I know I’m overdoing it with the coffee, but I am on a mission. After working up an appetite from all the walking, I stop in at The Sleepless Goat (91 Princess Street) for a bite to eat and, you guessed it, another cup of coffee.
This café offers vegan and gluten free options all bound within a unique atmosphere. I ordered the koodoo noodles and a latte. The coffee was good, not too strong and just the right amount of steamed milk, but the real highlight of this place is the food. The next time I crave coffee and food in one sitting, I’ll be sure to go back.
Did I find the best cup of coffee in Kingston? All of these places have great coffee for different reasons with a unique kind of flair. Mission accomplished? Not just yet.
It’s impossible to choose just one, so I’ll have to keep sampling all of these local places until I can decide. Maybe just not all in one sitting next time.
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