Photo: Alex Kinsella for CommunitechSleepless in Waterloo Region: Tech community thrives on great coffee shops Alex Kinsella July 29, 2015 Columns, Ecosystem, Tech About Town Hello, Tech About Town readers! Kayleigh is on holiday for the next two weeks. She kindly asked me to fill in for her while she enjoys some much deserved rest and relaxation. When I asked about topics, Kayleigh said to write about whatever came to mind, so I headed out to grab a coffee and think of ideas. We’ve got a plethora of coffee joints to choose from – and that’s when I had the idea to ask around to find out where the tech companies of Waterloo Region get their sweet, delicious, high-octane coffee; the coffee that powers the engines of innovation here in our backyards. To be fair, my sample group was mainly startups around downtown Kitchener — and there are a lot of coffee shops here. We are lucky to have companies spread throughout the region, and that has inspired me to head down to Cambridge and back up to Waterloo to try out some new places. Downtown Kitchener is known for its large cluster of coffee shops. Walking your way downtown, you’ll first find Balzac’s Coffee Roasters inside the Tannery – home to Communitech, Google, and D2L. You’ll be sure to run into someone you know while waiting in line. Next on the path is PURE Juice Bar + Kitchen at 305 King St. W. PURE offers fresh-pressed juices, healthy salads, and some of the best drip-brewed coffee in town. Head down Gaukel Street off King and you’ll find Kava Bean Coffee at 24 Gaukel St. – great coffee and all-day breakfasts. Continuing down Charles Street, and following the pink flamingos, you’ll find Cafe Pyrus at 16 Charles St. W. Cafe Pyrus has my favourite drink – the ‘spro shake. It’s a banana-and-almond-milk smoothie with chocolate and a shot of espresso. Turning back to King Street, you’ll come to Matter of Taste at 115 King St. W., known for both its amazingly beautiful lattes and its rotating list of drip-brewed coffees. This list is from a small sampling of downtown Kitchener tech working friends, and I apologize if your favourite wasn’t here. My editor reminded me of a few of those places – Darlene’s and Queen Street Commons on Queen Street; and The Yeti on Eby Street to name a few. Here are a few tips from some of my coffee-loving colleagues: Steve Deckert (Sweet Tooth): “For me: Matter of Taste. PURE is a close second, because it’s in the same building (as the Sweet Tooth office).” Jon Eby (FameBit): “Cafe Pyrus knows what flat white is and makes a good one.” Bernard Badjari (NetSuite Waterloo): “Coffee Culture. It’s a nice space to lounge.” Delaney Swanson (Overlap Associates): “Matter of Taste – espresso over ice for the summer.” Chris Plunkett (Communitech): “Matter of Taste and Pyrus are neck-and-neck for me. Purely coffee, would probably go Matter of Taste. DVLB (Death Valley’s Little Brother) is great.” Matt Gardner (Videostream): “Death Valley’s Little Brother (DVLB). They have an affogato.” Sam Lowe (bitHound): “The pretentious level just went out about 10 points and I love it.” Andy Woo (D2L): “All these places are so hip! Balzac’s and McCafé.” Matt Gardner (Videostream): “I thought we were going for fancy. Walmart has $3 packs of sugar-free Red Rain right now, so I bought like 10 of them. That’s a solid daily driver.” Mike Druker (Square): “Matter of Taste can totally do affogato. If the barista isn’t sure, just ask for a scoop of gelato, plus an espresso shot. Also, this is a good way to get it onto the menu. My answer is Monigram Coffee Roasters” (in downtown Cambridge). Chris Silivestru (bitHound): “Espresso-based is MoT, but I think Balzac’s has better brewed coffee. But I’m with Chris, DVLB is the best coffee in all of KW.” *** We’re heading into the long weekend – which means many people head out of town to cottage country. If you’re hanging around, I see and hear that . . . Words Worth Books and Honey Bake Shop have opened up Hughes Lane in Uptown Waterloo for Summer Party in Our Backyard!. From July 24 to Aug. 8, you’ll find an outdoor book market and an awesome patio to enjoy a coffee and cupcake . . . Have a craving for food-truck fare? Ambrosia Pastry is hosting Truck Eats Cool Treats on Roger Street on Thursday, July 30, from 5-8 p.m. . . . Did someone say folk music? The 23rd Annual Mill Race Festival of Traditional Folk Music runs this weekend in the downtown Galt area of Cambridge. Speaking of Cambridge, if you’ve always wanted to try bubble soccer, head down to the Cambridge Bubble Soccer Festival at Riverside Park on Monday, Aug. 3.