This town sure loves its Coffee – (part 1)!

One of my favorite things to do when I arrive in a new city is to get coffee.  Not “multi-million dollar food-chain” coffee, but “local, independently owned coffee shop” coffee.  I’ve found that visiting an Independent coffee shops gives you a hint of what the community has to offer. There are no less than a dozen in Moncton. So after moving here, one of the first places I visited was the popular Café Codiac.

Coffee beans ready for roastng.

Coffee beans ready for roastng.

My first impression was how spacious it was, with lots of room for everyone for a variety of clientele. The café has ample seating and big bright windows that exude a warm and friendly vibe. They day I visited the shop was filled with seniors, moms with strollers, students with iPads and local business people.

And then there was the smell. With coffee beans roasted right on site, the aroma was intoxicating.

 

Owner Cayley Montague was kind enough to give me some insight about his shop and Moncton’s coffee culture. “Monctonians love their coffee.” he says. And at his shop, “the darker the better”.  The popular Codiac Black Blend is the cafe’s most requested offering.

Café Codiac prides itself on roasting its beans onsite so customers are sure to get the freshest cup possible.

“On Tuesdays, visitors can chat with the roast master to learn about the coffee and find out what we’re roasting for the week,” says Montague. “Coffee is a very perishable item and within three weeks you begin to lose half of the flavour no matter what packaging you use. We want to make sure every cup is fresh.”

Every Tuesday this roaster is working away!

Every Tuesday this roaster is working away!

The decaf coffee is one of my favorites from the Café. Robust and fresh, it tastes fantastic and, being decaf, I can drink it without guilt as an afternoon treat.

Café Codiac is an extension of the Down East Coffee Company, one of New Brunswick’s pre-eminent coffee roasters. Headquartered in nearby Notre Dame, Down East has been roasting beans for 20 years, and providing quality coffee to shops and restaurants across the province. Down East has also had a long-time presence at the year-round Moncton Farmers’ Market.IMG-20150925-00445

If you want a little snack to go with your drink, the shop’s food menu offers wholesome, additive-free baked goods, smoothies, and fresh-daily soups and sandwiches – all made from products supplied by local vendors.

“It’s really important to us to support the local market. We are a small independent company and we want to support the other businesses in our community,” says Montague. “For our soups, we buy our meat fresh at the local Farmers’ Market. We buy local produce, as well as breads and baked goods from the Market.”

If you are not a coffee drinker, check out the great selection of teas.

If you are not a coffee drinker, check out the great selection of teas.

Another unique feature of Café Codiac – its one-of-a-kind drive-thru service. Like the shop itself, the drive-thru is a unique experience. Drivers pull up to the window and ring a doorbell.

This service is Moncton’s first and only independent drive-thru.  It’s probably also the friendliest as drivers are face-to-face with a real person when they give their orders.

“Our drive-thru definitely offers a little more of a human or personal touch than what’s out there,” he says.

And it’s that personal touch that keep customers, like me, coming back.

Café Codiac

Corner of St. George Street and Mount Royal Blvd.

www.downeastcoffee.ca

Stay tuned here and I’ll post more coffee shop adventures in the future.

It Must be Spring – Moncton’s Fabulous Frye Festival is On!

Frye

For a week each spring, writers, poets and essayists converge on Moncton to participate in the Frye Festival. Named after celebrated literary theorist and Moncton resident Northrop Frye, the Festival is Canada’s only bilingual international literary happening. It is also the largest event of its kind in Atlantic Canada and it attracts some of the country’s most respected authors.  This year 60 authors from around the world are helping to feed our imaginations. Whether you are a child with picture books or an accomplished reader, there is something for everyone  – kidsfest, writers’ workshops, book clubs, authors in conversation, readings, youth programs and plenty of evening activities.

Up close and Personal 

Yesterday, I volunteered to assist at a children’s book reading. It’s so wonderful to see how up close and personal you can get with the authors at the Frye. The relaxed maritime atmosphere allows for that. The kids were delighted to engage with authors Anne-Marie Sirois and Edith Bourget as they told their stories in that animated way that children can bring out in adults.  They were rock stars to these little ones.

Edith Bourget had fun with her audience of  three to five year olds.

Edith Bourget had fun with her audience of three to five year olds.

Anne-Marie Sirois sharing her fabulous storyboards with the kids

Anne-Marie Sirois sharing her fabulous storyboards with the kids

Big kids also have the opportunity to meet their literary heroes. Over the years, the Frye has attracted some notable names, including Margaret Atwood, Ross King, Jane Urquhart, Ian Hamilton and Emma Donoghue. “Meet the Authors” sessions are hosted throughout the week giving book-loving visitors plenty of opportunity to engage with their favorite writers.

Another highlight for me was hearing investigative journalist Jacques Poitras talk about his researching and writing of the book Irving vs Irving. In addition to having incredible political and economic influence in New Brunswick, the billionaire Irvings have achieved an almost mythical status here. It’s no surprise it was standing room only to hear him speak.

It was a full house when investigative journalist Jacques Poitras  spoke about his best-selling book

It was a full house when investigative journalist Jacques Poitras spoke about his best-selling book Irving vs Irving.

This is the 16th Annual Frye Festival. And although it’s my first time here, I am starting my own springtime tradition. As the snow slowly melts away and the blooms sprout from the ground, I will head to the Frye, one of Canada’s best festivals, and feed my imagination.