Summer is finally here, which means we can now enjoy our basil plants, go for long bromantic walks and stop for a refreshing cold coffee. Yes, summer is by far our favourite season but it does come with its disadvantages. For one, many of us will need to prepare for a never ending onslaught of social events, such as children’s birthday parties, baptisms, engagement ceremonies and weddings. Our wallets will be depleted come November, only to be destroyed again by the Holiday Season. Luckily, coffee is a cheap habit. This might be the reason why so many Montrealers can’t seem to shake their addiction to caffeine. Costing an average of 4$ or less, a cup of coffee is cheaper than a pack of cigarettes and provides its beneficiary with an immediate feeling of euphoria. Just a few days ago, we were frantically searching for a coffee watering hole, when we accidentally stumbled into Cafellini. Call it what you will, but this discovery was clearly not a coincidence – it was a message from the caffeine Gods.
Cafellini currently has three locations, the most recent having opened in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, just a stone throw away from Plaza St-Hubert. Not many people know this, but St-Hubert Street used to be one of the key districts in the city. The Plaza was a commercial hot spot where people could meet, eat, shop and experience the best in cultural activities. With the advent of fast fashion and larger commercial chains, the Street has seen a major decline in recent years. Today, the 400+ merchants operating in the Plaza are able to rely on the support of the Plaza St-Hubert SDC, a non profit organization whose mission is to promote the development of St-Hubert Street. As a result of these efforts, small businesses such as Cafellini have been sprouting up all over the area.
At first glance, Cafellini’s modern and clean exterior creates a striking contrast with its surrounding neighborhood. It’s like a white box in the middle of a bustling urban center. Large windows surround the facade of the building letting in a gratuitous amount of Vitamin D. The interior decor is minimal, trendy and plays on the cafes luminosity. The tables, chairs and shelving units are very simple and clean cut. A bright orange espresso machine is set on the barista counter providing a pop of colour and warmth. This warmth is carried over into the staff’s demeanour, who welcomes you with a smile.
With such a modern and trendy aesthetic, one would assume that Cafellini serves third wave coffee. However, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that their coffee is an exclusive Italian blend prepared for them by Barista. The mild roast was a perfect juste milieu – strong enough to satisfy the traditionalist, while moderate enough not to scare away clients who might favor a fruitier aftertaste. Cafellini also offers a small selection of all-Vegan baked goods from a local bakery. We opted for a gluten-free coconut macaroon and a maple cake. To be honest, neither of us are big fans of coconut or maple but we were pretty impressed with the flavour and consistency of both desserts and we would definitely order them again.
As we sat there people watching, the contrast couldn’t be more evident. Cafellini is a breath of fresh air in a neighborhood that is in need of change and innovation. Its sharp decor, vegan products and high quality coffee are all a sign that the demographics of the area are slowly shifting back to what they used to be. So, next time you are looking for a caffeine fix, we encourage you to “accidentally” wander in. You might be pleasantly surprised.
David and Joey