Top 10 List: Best “But First, Coffee” Stops on the Island

This Top 10 Tuesday, we’re listing our favourite “but first, coffee” stops on the Island!  Regardless of the adventure, we pretty much always grab a coffee first and these places never disappoint with their delicious caffeinated beverages!

  1. Fernwood Coffee & Parsonage Cafe, Victoria, BC
  2. Mad Rona’s, Gabriola, BC
  3. The Wandering Moose Cafe, Cumberland, BC 
  4. The Buzz Coffee House, Nanaimo, BC
  5. Mugz Coffee & Tea House, Port McNeill, BC
  6. Pacific Brimm, Parksville, BC
  7. The Garage, Duncan, BC
  8. Cafe Aroma, Quadra Island, BC
  9. Rhodos Coffee & Bistro, Courtenay, BC
  10. In the Beantime, Ladysmith, BC

From the various types of beans to the variety of flavours to the fun atmospheres of each shop, these coffee houses will help you kick off your day the right way!  To learn more about why this is our Top 10 list, read on below!

Fernwood Coffee & Parsonage Cafe, Victoria, BC

Fav drink: Latte, sometimes with vanilla but always with impressive coffee art!

This shop recently moved into its new location right in the heart of the Fernwood community (directly across from the Fernwood Inn, another fav featured on our Top 10 Best Island Pubs List!).  The coffee here is amazing and the food is all local and hand-made.  Fernwood Coffee beans are all I brew at home (props to the West Coast Trail Blend, it’s the best!) and I don’t visit Victoria without stopping in here.

Mad Rona’s Coffee Bar, Gabriola, BC

Fav drink: A bold and delicious Americano (with a bit of cream).

A few minutes after getting off the ferry on Gabriola, you’ll find Mad Rona’s Coffee Bar.  Featuring Drumroaster Coffee (roasted in Cobble Hill and delivered fresh each week), Mad Rona’s Coffee Bar is usually busy and has great snacks and treats that pair perfectly with their coffees.

The Wandering Moose Cafe, Cumberland, BC

Fav drink: The affogatos (made with gelato) win every time!

In the little community of Cumberland, this cafe is one of a kind!  Once a post office & Customs office, the vault here is now the pantry, storing flours and such for the delicious food and treats made fresh here each day.  The coffee is from Royston Roasting Company and the affogatos here are worth going back for time and time again!

The Buzz Coffee House, Nanaimo, BC

Fav drink: Caramel Macchiato with caramel sauce (not syrup)

Featuring Moja Coffee (from North Vancouver) and offering a variety of light meals and tasty treats, the Buzz Coffee House is a unique and special coffee house in mid-Nanaimo.  It’s a popular place for study groups, yogi meet-ups, business coffee meetings, and casual coffee dates, so you’ll see lots of activity here and you’ll be treated to delicious drinks. It’s a quick detour off the Parkway Highway 19 at the Northfield Exit and offers something for everyone!

Mugz Coffee & Tea House, Port McNeill, BC

Fav drink: Red Symphony, half sweet

Work used to take me to Port McNeill more frequently and I grew to love Mugz for a lunch on the go or for a moment of calm in a busy week.  Mugz is usually both my first stop and last stop when I’m in the area so I can have more than one Red Symphony!  They have a great menu and their other beverages stack up well against the Red Symphony, so you really can’t make a bad choice.

Pacific Brimm, Parksville, BC

Fav drink: Mocha latte because the chocolate is divine! (but Rina says to try  the Italian Cream Soda too; it’s basically all she orders!)

The Brimm has been a favourite stop of mine since the days I used to work in Parksville.  The drinks are always delicious and feature Spirit Bear Coffee. They offer fantastic breakfast and lunch menus, as well as many baked treats and sweet desserts.  Over the years, the variety of scones here has been endless!

The Garage, Duncan, BC

Fav drink: A classic Cappuccino

In the heart of Duncan, The Garage is always busy, always fun, and always has an interesting menu which changes daily.  It offers so much variety, including gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and other allergy-friendly options.  As well, the cafe focuses on local, organic ingredients were possible.  The cafe serves Peaks Coffee and has a little shop where you can buy local-made preserves and fresh-baked treats and breads to take home with you.

Cafe Aroma, Quadra Island, BC

Fav drink: Cafe au Lait

Serving Aroma Coffees, this cafe is my first stop every time I visit Quadra Island.  I just love to grab breakfast and coffee here and perhaps take a cookie for the road!  A big bonus here is that this cafe is now open 7 days/week and their Sunday Bennies are delicious.

Rhodos Coffee & Bistro, Courtenay, BC

Fav drink: English Rose Fog (similar to a London Fog, but with rose flavour instead of vanilla)

The drinks here are unique and there’s a great variety.  Right on the edge of downtown in Courtenay, Cafe Rhodos has a full menu, a great sit-in restaurant area, and a great selection of treats and to-go options.  I’ll often grab a coffee here before wandering the shops downtown.

In the Beantime, Ladysmith, BC

Fav drink: Red Espresso Latte with honey stirred in.

Ladysmith is one of the most charming places on Vancouver Island and 1st Avenue is the main gem.  On a sunny day in Ladysmith, I will go grab a coffee from In The Beantime (and maybe a snack!), where the menu is extensive, both for drinks and food and then head to Transfer Beach to play or to Holland Creek for a hike.

So… Did we get it right?  Did your favourite coffee place make the list or do you know of another place that should have made the list?  Comment below to let us know!

Have you seen our other Top 10 Lists?  Click HERE to see if you agree with our lists on the Best Markets, Best Pubs, and Best Spas!


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