CRUM COFFEE BAR
Nestled in a corner unit of the Huntington Galleria at 4640 Calgary Trail NW, CRUM Coffee Bar is worth the drive for anyone on the north side, and might just become the local favourite for anyone on the south end. The café is expansive, filled with natural light, and cuts no corners when it comes to quality baked goods. The croissants aren’t just French-style — they’re imported from France directly and then baked fresh each morning. The owners, sisters Mila and Christine Gossain, also work closely with local bakery Food in the Nūd to make custom gluten-free, paleo, and vegan goodies. The café has several alternatives to dairy, including oat milk, and is one of the few places in the city where you can order a keto latte. The sisters have even devised their own version of a blended coffee beverage, coined the Freddo — but unlike most blended coffees, there’s no ice, just a lot of espresso, two per cent milk, and a tiny bit of sugar. While the Freddo is CRUM’s number one seller, their seasonal pumpkin loaf must be a close contender, given its truly exquisite texture and the perfect balance between moist and fluffy. CRUM uses Cherry Hill organic coffee from Kelowna, B.C. and beans from Roasti Coffee Co., which you may recognize from last month’s issue. CRUM is open Monday to Friday at 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Just off of Whyte Ave. at 8118 Gateway Boulevard sits a hidden little gem. Clair-i-tea is a very new tea house with a very interesting twist. Inside you will find a peaceful ambiance where anyone can drink tea, study or even have a wonderful conversation with those who frequent the place. The tea is fabulous, and is served in fancy teacups just like your grandma had. You’ll find walls filled with options and bags of your favourites ready for purchase to be taken home and steeped later. The menu options are great with gluten-free and vegan choices, and if I had to recommend something it would be the scones. Never have I had a scone with both jam and whipped cream, but I hardly think I could ever turn back. It is important to mention that the whipped cream was made by hand fresh as I waited, which shows the care and passion put into service and quality. The twist is that in this tea house you can get a number of services not normally offered elsewhere. On a board above the bathroom door are prices for tarot readings and other spiritual services that you can request. As well, there are some wonderful new age items for sale such as crystals, clothing, and of course, tarot cards. Whether you want a tarot reading, a quiet place to study or just a cup of tea you would be amiss if you didn’t visit this lovely establishment.
While we generally focus on independent coffee stores, a recent import from Taiwan has been exceptional enough to make an exception — and maybe some bad wordplay. Having just opened a location at 6183 Currents Drive in the Windermere neighbourhood, The Alley is already a popular place for those seeking high-quality and aesthetically unparalleled bubble tea. Among their most popular offerings are the trademarked Brown Sugar Deerioca series — Fever (a twist on classic milk tea), Matcha, and Puff (includes sweet custard pudding) — all of which feature a specially brewed, sweet tapioca topping. For those seeking a more traditional latte, The Alley has a number of teas which can be prepared warm as well as cold, with or without dairy. Newcomers to the bubble tea scene will benefit from the knowledge that one can specialize their order based on sweetness and ice preferences — when in doubt, regular sweet, less ice is always a safe choice. Though the buzz won’t be as strong as from a cup of coffee, most of the drinks available at The Alley have some level of caffeine to see you through an evening’s study session. The Alley is open from 11 a.m. weekdays and weekends, and generally closes at 10 p.m.