Coming down the escalator of the Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, coffee is always my first thought — no more settling for double-doubles and meal hall coffees. If you're looking for your java fix this break, here are the 5 Ottawa cafés you need to visit in the West end during the holidays (I'm talking Insta-worthy atmosphere, espresso, and baked goodies galore).

1. Equator Coffee Westboro

Location: 412 Churchill Avenue

espresso, tea, coffee
Rachel Dickey

Equator Coffee Westboro has a strong history and reputation. It stems from Equator Coffee Roasters, a 12-year-old café and roaster in Almonte, Ontario with a cult-like following.

Just of the main strip of Westboro, this spot offers a posh vibe if you're looking to feel fancy. The all-white interior and marquis-style coffee sign draw everyone from hipsters, busy moms and businessmen all getting their morning fix.

Equator's retail beans, as well as the ones they brew in the shop, are locally roasted and prepared. With a long menu of classic espresso drinks and teas as well as a couple of fun additions (like the ice cream and espresso combination affogato), Equator is sure to fit any coffee drinkers' needs.

If you're looking for a snack or quick lunch, this spot is the place to be. With a rotating collection of fresh-made sandwiches and soups, as well as a variety of gluten-free/vegan treats, you'll be sure to find something to satisfy that sweet tooth.

2. Little Jo Berry's Coffee & Eats

Location: 1305 Wellington Street West

cake, tea, pizza, beer, coffee
Rachel Dickey

Little Jo Berry's is nestled in Wellington West, making it a great pit stop after a bite of sushi or for a recharge while shopping along the strip. New to the coffee scene, Lil' Jo's opened in 2015 and I've been obsessed ever since.

The baristas sling vegan lattes made with Little Victories Espresso (another Ottawa Coffee contributor worth noting) and your choice of soy, almond or coconut milk. The rotating assortment of cakes, pop tarts, twinkies, scones, and hand pies are delicious and you wouldn't know they're gluten free & vegan.
milk, chicken, egg, coffee
Rachel Dickey

In December, Jo is offering up all the holiday classics including eggnog lattes, a peppermint mocha, gingerbread cookies, tourtiere, and candy cane milkshakes.

Little Jo's is too cute, too good, and too tasty to pass up on. Pop in while you wander Wellington and you'll be hooked.

#SpoonTip: the lemon blueberry crumble bar literally made me cry once it was that good.

3. Blumenstudio

Location: 465 Parkdale Avenue

Blumenstudio is a florist workshop that just so happens to be slinging some quality espresso-based drinks. Located in the space between Wellington West and Hintonburg, it's worth the walk to experience this one of a kind coffee shop.

The barista and owners are beyond sweet and clearly love what they're doing in their cute little corner shop. I highly recommend an almond-milk cappuccino to warm your hands while you wander the shop and look at the adorable succulents and gorgeous floral arrangements.

4. Ministry of Coffee & Social Affairs

Location: 1013 Wellington Street West

Ministry in Hintonburg is the brand's second location in Ottawa, whose successful flagship is in Centretown. With a hipster, steampunk vibe, communal table and craft beer, this is a fab place to study, catch up with friends or people-watch in the eclectic Hintonburg neighbourhood.

Many people, myself included, are known to take up shop in the bustling Ministry environment. You'll be set for three delicious, square meals should you choose to do so. The morning's fresh baked pastries and smoothie bowls are replaced with crafty salads and sandwiches for lunch and dinner.

mocha, milk, espresso, cappuccino, coffee
Rachel Dickey

Ministry rotates what it's brewing from roasters around Canada including some of my favourite like Anchored from Dartmouth and Sam James in Toronto. If you find yourself in The 'Burg you absolutely have to pop in and get yourself a Nutella latte, you'll be hooked. 

Find out what picking Ministry as your shop of choice says about you.

5. Happy Goat Coffee Company

Location: 45 Laurel Street

Happy Goat is Ottawa's hidden gem. A bit off Hintonbrug's beaten path, its vintage chairs and garage-style door make for a great "I'm so hip sipping a latte at this dope coffee shop" Instagram post.

beer, coffee, tea
Rachel Dickey

If you're in the mood for something sweet and caffeinated Happy Goat has it all: maple lattes, a London fog with Froot Loops, eggnog lattes, and much more. Happy Goat is another local roaster that supports the Ottawa artisan movement — locally produced honey and maple syrup, Ottawa's own Culture Kombucha, and a ton of local beer and wine at night.

I could (and have) spend hours at Happy Goat, and it doesn't hurt that they supply the coffee to the best doughnut shop in town.

mocha, milk, cappuccino, espresso, coffee
Rachel Dickey

Next time you visit Canada's capital city (after you're done at Parliament Hill and skating on the canal) take a walk down Wellington Street West and grab a warm cuppa' at one of Ottawa's best cafes — you won't be disappointed.