I did head on up to the place, and sure enough the shop was closed. I actually walked right by the shop because I was looking for some prominent signage. Almost reaching the end of that block and wondering if the two women had misdirected me, I stopped and asked a couple that was taking a smoke break if Habit really was on this street. They pointed it out to me… there it was, right across the street with a recessed entrance that had a really small, very nondescript wooden 2×4 plank for signage. I resolved to come back the next day before I had to catch the ferry back to Seattle later that afternoon.
So come Sunday late afternoon I found myself doing a mad dash to Habit and this time around, the place was open, thank goodness. There even was a small crowd of folks hanging outside the shop, drinking, smoking etc. I was a little sweaty from the fast paced walking I had done. I didn’t have too much time to fanny about and I had only about 15 minutes to spare before I was to catch the clipper back to Seattle… so I had to get down to business, chat with the barista to at the very least get the basics about them and their coffee.
The baristas were great. Even more so because they didn’t mind chatting and me taking pictures within the store. I also must say that everything others had told me about Habit was correct i.e. Habit Coffee serves great espresso. Their espresso blend was a fun, medium blend with great flavor. I liked the fact that they served me a nice strong latte and maybe that was because I ordered the double shot 8 oz latte and not the 12 oz which is my usual standard size.
The coffee beans they serve come from a Vancouver BC based roaster, Hines Public Market Coffee. Hines is actually located on Granville Island and they are big into organic and fair-trade coffees and all that. I don’t know too much about them but apparently they are a great roaster. I plan to find out if there’s any coffee shop in Seattle (or Portland) where I can actually sample more. According to this article, John Sanders, the owner of Hines and Shane Devereaux, are co owners of Habit Coffee
As we were chatting, I told them about the good things I had heard about their coffee and how I came up the day before but they were already closed. I also told asked them why it seemed that just about all the coffee shops in Victoria closed by 5 or 6. The barista told me that Habit was actually going to start staying open late… because there are those who still want their espresso after 6. I think this is great because eventually it will cause the other coffee shops to start opening up later… and that will be good for Victoria’s coffee culture. However, now as I am writing this article, I wonder if the only reason they were going to start staying open late is due to summer and the longer summer days? Maybe if you are reading this post and you live in Victoria, you can keep up updated?
I must say that Habit Coffee was probably my favorite spot of all the coffee shop I had tried in Victoria… in terms of the coffee. Artigiano came in a real close second. But I must say that in general, most of the baristas at the various coffee shops in Victoria were all really nice and friendly. This seems to be a Victorian trait though. Seattle is friendly, Victoria is genuinely friendlier and as the coffee culture continues to develop I think places like Habit Coffee are going to be in the forefront of a great thing in Victoria and I also love what they are doing to help develop the coffee culture in Kenya.