The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Mar 09, 2020 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

One of our favorite towns, Stratford, Ontario, is also a coffee shop lover’s dream. Why? Well, not only for the many options available, but also for the love and care each coffee shop puts into their brew. There are also 2 (!!!) roasters in the area (yay!).

We tasted them ALL on a recent visit (buzz, buzz), and have put together the complete guide to Stratford Coffee Shops. 

The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

What we came to realize was that this town is many things: a foodie’s paradise, an art-lover’s joy, (of course) a theatre geek’s home away from home, a meanderer’s happy place, a shopper’s treasure trove...and a coffee lover’s dream. 

Note: A surprise to me was that this town LOVES their dark roast coffees! If you prefer a light roast, I’ve noted the two coffee shops that offer it, in their respective sections. 

Alley Cat Cafe

The newest coffee shop in town, Alley Cat is located in the downtown triangle, across from City Hall. If you love cats, you can pay a little extra to support cat rescue, and head into the petting room. When we were there, it was a busy time and so many people were loving those cats!

Alley Cat Cafe. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops
The room with the cats!

Vibe: chill, quiet, simple, good for studying or meeting a friend.

Look: cool-toned, modern, minimal.

Alley Cat Cafe. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Wifi: free with password

Beans: Baden Coffee.

Tea: sourced from Pluck Tea, Toronto.

Cups: To go cups, ceramic mugs

Beverages: The coffees are premade and in pump pots. The specialty here is actually tea! 

Alley Cat Cafe. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Taste: Whatever you order, get a cookie with it...they are delicious.

Quirks: Besides the lovely cats, and cat themed decor, there is a menu of homemade dishes, including sandwiches, wraps, soup, breakfast items, waffles, and more.

Alley Cat Cafe. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Parking: Street parking

Find: 1 Market Place, Stratford N5A 1A4
alleycatcafe.ca/our-cafe

Balzac's

Perhaps Ontario’s most famous coffee shop! You go for the coffee and atmosphere, and end up taking posters, coasters, and ALL THE ART home with you. 

Balzac's. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

But did you know that Balzac’s STARTED in Stratford, in 1996? Yep. This beloved coffee shop is a favorite for locals and visitors alike. 

Vibe: Friendly, busy, curt, filled with locals.

Look: Vintage-Modern, comfortable, cool-toned, clean.

Balzac's. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Wifi: free 

Beans: Their own. The Guatemalan Antigua is a pale/light roast, and highly recommended.

Cups: Ceramic/glass

Balzac's. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Beverages: Balzac's features a regular espresso menu, other beverages (brewed coffee, tea, hot chocolate, chai latte, Parisian mist, golden latte, and a matcha latte), as well as a special seasonal menu. When we visited, the Winter Menu included a Cafe Nordique, Oat Milk Cookie Latte, Toasted Almond Latte, Caramel Apple Cider, and a Salted Caramel Latte.

Taste: Be sure to ask about sweetness for the specialty/seasonal drinks. I was able to dial mine down a bit, and enjoyed an extraordinary crafted beverage.

Note: Balzac’s is also the coffee offered at the Festival Theatre. SO: You can get your deliciousness before the play!

Balzac's. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Quirks: seasonal menus! Also, fantastic gear. 

Parking: Street parking

Find: 149 Ontario Street, Stratford N5A 3H1
(also: 7 Toronto locations, as well as Niagara-on-the-lake, Port Dalhousie/St. Catherine’s, Guelph, Kingston, and Kitchener)
https://www.balzacs.com/locations/stratford/

Coffee Culture

This Canadian chain (in Ontario and Manitoba) is more of a meal place with coffee and smoothies, but because they are open late, it is a handy place to go after a show! 

Coffee Culture. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Vibe: Warm, crowded, hipster, Panera.

Look: Very College student, with a hobbit house feel.

Coffee Culture. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Wifi: free

Beans: Their own

Cups: To go cups

Coffee Culture. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Beverages: Brewed coffee; fresh-pulled espresso, cappuccinos, lattes; hot chocolate; iced teas; smoothies, chillers; 'ccinos and chococcinos.

Taste: Darker roasted than I would have liked.

Quirks: Later hours than most of the coffee shops in town. 

Parking: Street parking

Find: 69 Downie St
https://www.coffeeculturecafe.com/

Edison’s Cafe Bar

Named thusly because famed inventor Thomas Edison once lived upstairs, this coffee shop is located in a beautiful, narrow space that is packed with extreme deliciousness. In warmer weather, there are a few tables and chairs outside (yay!).

Edison’s Cafe Bar. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops
Photo: Edison's

Vibe: Upbeat, clever.

Look: Clean, cute, fresh, hip, interesting.

Edison’s Cafe Bar. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Wifi: Not available

Beans: Brother’s small batch coffee roasters out of Oakville, Ontario; the ‘notorious’ blend for all of the espresso-based coffees, and the medium roast ‘dawn patrol’ for the brewed. The tea blends are sourced from local tea sommelier Karen Hartwick, of Tea Leaves.

Cups: Ceramic/glass

Beverages: Craft drinks, including Espresso, Cappuccino, Flat White, Cortado, Latte, Mocha, Mexican Mocha; drip coffee, hot chocolate, and a SLEW of fantastic tea options.

Edison’s Cafe Bar. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Taste: Delicious! The Mexican mocha was incredible.

Quirks: With a focus on plant-based menu items and with baked goods that are grain, dairy, and refined sugar-free, this is the healthiest coffee shop in town. My favorite is the Red Currant Lemon Loaf…YUM!

Edison’s Cafe Bar. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Parking: Street parking

Find: 46 Ontario Street
https://www.facebook.com/EdisonsCafeBar/

The Hub Marketplace/Deli

We stumbled onto this marketplace when we were absolutely hungry but had no time for a full, sit-down meal. There is a huge marketplace here, full of prepared foods (GET the sausage roll. You’ll thank me), as well as baked goods, and, you guessed it, coffee drinks!

The Hub Marketplace/Deli. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops
Photo: The Hub

Vibe: Friendly, big, welcoming, hip.

Look: Clean, open, enticing, specialty market.

The Hub Marketplace/Deli. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Wifi: Not sure.

Beans: Special blend from To Bean (see below)

Cups: Ceramic/glass, to go

Beverages: Craft drinks, including Latte, Mocha, Flat White, Hit & Run,  Hot Chocolate, Genmaicha Matcha, Stratford Earl Grey, hot chocolate, teas, and brewed coffee

The Hub Marketplace/Deli. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops
Photo: The Hub

Taste: Delicious! 

Quirks: I love that you can get a full meal to eat (from hot items, like my favorite sausage roll, to gorgeous salads), alongside your coffee, or fresh-baked goods. Sometimes I want more food than a muffin or croissant.

That sausage roll! The Hub Marketplace/Deli. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

The Hub Marketplace/Deli. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops
Photo: The Hub

Parking: Street parking

The Hub Marketplace/Deli. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Find: 31 Market Place
https://www.27marketplace.com/fine-foods-market/

The Livery Yard

With a light-filled corner space, clean colors and lines, FIREPLACE, and friendly staff, this is a welcoming coffee shop. Even more, it’s located in a renovated historic livery stable! How cool is that?

 The Livery Yard. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Vibe: Cool, Modern.

Look: Minimal, chill, hangout place.

 The Livery Yard. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Wifi: free

Beans: Toronto-based Rufino Roasters

Cups: Ceramic/glass

 The Livery Yard. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Beverages: Craft drinks, including Espresso, Cortado, Macchiato, Americano, Cappuccino, Latte; brewed coffee, teas, chai latte, cold brew, iced teas, and...wait for it...AFFOGATO. Yes.

Taste: Delicious! Mostly dark roast available.

Quirks: Lovely menu to go with, if you’re hungry. AND: that fireplace, though! Also: Dog treats and fresh water in a dish outside the door.

 The Livery Yard. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Parking: Street parking

Find: 104 Downie Street
https://www.instagram.com/theliveryyard/

Revel

This is almost a hipster’s paradise, except that it is a local’s paradise...you can tell the moment you walk in. There is a piano, a deck (with blankets for cooler days), table seating, couches, and more. It’s artsy, has gorgeous dark colored walls, and a slew of options (including baked goods).

Revel. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops
Basket of blankets by the door to the deck

Part of the Stratford Chocolate Trail.

Vibe: Classic, Hipster, Interesting, cozy.

Look: Warm, artistic, inclusive.

Revel. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops
Community table

Wifi: free

Beans: Signature blends, sourced from direct trade coffee roasted weekly by Las Chicas del Cafe and transcend coffee + roastery

Cups: Ceramic/glass

Beverages: Traditional hand-crafted coffee beverages (espresso, Americano, French press, cappuccino, cortado, latte, mocha, choco sol mocha), pourovers, blends, and plenty of alternative, non-coffee drinks (tea, chai and matcha lattes, London fog, hot chocolate, steamers).

Revel. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Taste: Delicious. My cortado was incredible.

Quirks: Delicious pastries, both sweet and savory, baked using organic and local products (Perth County).

Revel. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Note: Cash and debit card only. 

Parking: Street parking

Revel. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Find: 37 Market Place
revelstratford.ca

Snapping Turtle 

This lovely, homey coffee roaster is well worth driving 20 minutes west of Stratford. It’s located right downtown in this fantastic small town, and honestly? You won’t want to leave. It’s family-run, and has plenty fantastic fresh-roasted coffee beans, K cups, and coffee merchandise for sale. Note: you'll need to brew this delicious coffee at home.

Vibe: Adorable, welcoming, hipster.

Look: Harry Potter, warm, come sit a while.

 Snapping Turtle. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Wifi: free 

Beans: Freshly roasted on-site!! Ask owner Emily Lagace about it! I guarantee you’ll fall deep into conversation and not want to leave. That’s a theme, with this shop.

 Snapping Turtle. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Quirks: If you love Harry Potter, there’s another reason you will never want to leave this shop. 

 Snapping Turtle. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

 Snapping Turtle. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Parking: Street parking

Find: 145 Queen St. E., St. Mary’s
https://www.snappingturtlecoffee.com/

To Bean or Not to Bean - Stratford's Coffee Roasting Company

We first heard about To Bean while chatting with a regular at the Sunday slow food market. Intrigued, we looked up their hours, and made space in our schedule to go visit. This is not a coffee shop, per se, because they only offer to go coffee, but you can also purchase beans, and see the roastery through the windows. 

To Bean or Not to Bean - Stratford's Coffee Roasting Company. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Part of the Stratford Chocolate Trail.

Vibe: Coffee roaster in the house!

To Bean or Not to Bean - Stratford's Coffee Roasting Company. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Look: Semi-industrial, welcoming

Wifi: n/a

Beans: Freshly roasted on site. To Bean is one of the only roasters/coffee shops in town to offer a light roast (THANK YOU). They also roast beans for many local restaurants and coffee shops.

To Bean or Not to Bean - Stratford's Coffee Roasting Company. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Cups: To go cup

Beverages: Premade, in pump pots.

Taste: Delicious, both in our to go cup, and with the beans we bought to take home.

To Bean or Not to Bean - Stratford's Coffee Roasting Company. From The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

Quirks: The owners are so interesting, and LOVE talking coffee. Also: check out their cds at the counter...their band is amazing! 

Love these beans? A plethora of local restaurants serve them!

Parking: Free parking lot out front

Find: At the Saturday Farmer’s Market and the Sunday Slow Food Market 

Storefront & to go coffee: 285 Lorne Ave. East Unit #8
https://stratfordcoffee.com/

 

Pin for later:
The Complete Guide to Stratford Coffee Shops

 

 

All photos courtesy and copyright Wandering Educators, except where noted.

 

 

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