Here’s the thing: Hamilton is absolutely brimming with excellent coffee spots, and curating a list of our 10 favourites was a near-impossible task.
Whether you like a no-nonsense, locally roasted cup of the good stuff or something more elaborate that’s hand-crafted with beans sourced from some of the most sought-after coffee regions in the world, there’s no shortage of strong picks in the Hammer where you can get your morning fix.
On our list, we tried to pull together a strong variety of spots while also covering a solid amount of geography, with great cafes and espresso bars from the east end to the west end and everywhere in between.
Though even our honourable mentions are more than deserving of your attention, here are the 10 most noteworthy coffee spots in Hamilton for 2023!
A Hamilton classic with lived-in bohemian vibes that are completely unpretentious, James North’s Mulberry Coffeehouse seems to always be bustling.
Baked goods, breakfast sandwiches, and other bites adorn a delicious and nutritious food menu, and Mulberry’s straightforward coffee menu makes good use of beans that are certified organic, fair trade, and even bird-friendly. It’s hard to imagine the James North strip without this iconic place.
East Hamilton is spoiled with terrific coffee thanks to Cannon Coffee.
A cozy spot on Ottawa Street North, Cannon Coffee sources excellent beans from high-level roasters across the country and around the world for its notable coffee program. If that weren’t enough, this spot also makes arguably the best waffles in the city, available in sweet and savoury varieties or even as the vessel for an indulgent breakfast sandwich.
Since it’s not tied to one of Hamilton’s busiest streets like James North or Locke, the wonderful Durand Coffee might sometimes gets overlooked; but you’ll thank yourself for remembering to stop by for a cup or two.
Not only does Durand Coffee whip up exceptional coffee, espresso, tea, and more, they also have some seriously friendly staff and – for those who also partake in a more night-friendly sort of beverage – Durand also plays host to one of the best curated bottle shops for craft beer, wine, and spirits in the city.
Phin Coffee Bar’s friendly, knowledgable owners are also the faces behind one of the best coffee programs in Hamilton.
This Westdale-based coffee shop has one of the most unique selections of coffee beans you’ll find sourced from small-batch roasters all over the world, and they use those beans to excellent effect in their lovingly crafted lattes, Americanos, cortados, and much more.
A tiny James North hot spot with indoor space for less than 20 guests at a time, The Saint James has a fevered popularity amongst the brunch crowd in Hamilton.
Yes, the brunch is beyond excellent: breakfast sandwiches, tartines, baked goods, and much more are universally worth trying. But don’t overlook the Saint James’ coffee, crafted using high quality beans and good technique by folks who know their way around an espresso machine.
Cyclist themed but absolutely not just for cyclists, Cafe Domestiique is an absolute gem in Downtown Dundas.
On top of well-crafted cocktails, small plates, baked goods, and more, Domestiique also sports an outstanding coffee program; their coffee is on the darker and more robust side of things, perfect for those who like a strong, full-bodied cup with complexity and a formidable kick.
The appropriately-named Smalls Coffee proves that, sometimes, great things come in tiny packages.
Located by the corner of James North and Cannon, Smalls Coffee is likely Hamilton’s smallest coffee shop, a large counter with an espresso machine and compact pastry case taking up the majority of real estate. There’s no seating in this grab-and-go spot, but don’t let that deter you from getting your hands on some of the best, most expertly crafted coffee the city has to offer.
Now with two local cafes – a flagship in Downtown Dundas and a newer spot on John Street South in the Corktown neighbourhood – Detour Cafe is easily one of the city’s best and most well-known spots for standout coffee and espresso.
Detour even roasts its own beans out of a facility in the east end of Hamilton, sourced thoughtfully from some of the best coffee regions in the world. Rounding things off with baked goods and a seasonally shifting menu of breakfast and lunch bites, Detour Cafe has earned every ounce of its enduring popularity.
If you haven’t been to this Korean-inspired cafe and bakery in the city’s International Village, what are you even doing with your life?
One For All’s approach to coffee is the very definition of meticulous, and they spare no expense by sourcing the best beans they can get their hands on from international small roasters of note like SEY Coffee in Brooklyn and Toronto’s Hatch Coffee Roasters.
If that weren’t enough, One For All also makes some of the best cookies in Hamilton: thick like a muffin top and available in rotating flavours like matcha, peanut butter cup, and Lotus biscoff.
Is this really a surprise? RELAY has spent the past bunch of years cementing itself as Hamilton’s quintessential coffee spot, known for roasting its own ethically sourced beans from regions like Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, and Guatemala.
Though RELAY sadly closed its flagship stand in the Hamilton Farmers’ Market, the coffee roaster still operates its spacious, bustling cafe in the heart of Downtown Hamilton on King William Street, and they’re also the resident cafe at the Staircase Theatre on Dundurn. RELAY Coffee feels very true to Hamilton: unpretentious and uncompromising.
Honourable Mentions: Ark + Anchor Espresso Bar, Rooney’s, Redchurch Cafe, Vintage Coffee Roasters, Ward IV, Steeltown Garage Co., Paisley Coffee, Synonym
What changes would you make to our list? Let us know in the comments!
Jessica19.01.2023 5:30 pm
All fantastic spots!! Glad to have so many local coffee gems
Richard Cunningham20.01.2023 5:08 am
You missed Emerald Coffee on Barton at Emerald. I’ve been to all of these (including your honourable mentions) except two, and Emerald Coffee is as good as any.
Brock20.01.2023 2:20 pm
What!? No Ward IV? Too bad. Definitely some good picks in there, but still. Ward IV is the best place to go for a coffee in the city.
Tanya21.01.2023 1:11 pm
Love Domestiique in Dundas! Good eats and the best coffee. You must go!
Patrick28.01.2023 6:18 am
Two other café so I really enjoy going to our Mezza caffé in the Lister block and Steeltown garage on Barton just east of James St., North.