CAFE REVIEW: The Coffee Exchange

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

CAFE REVIEW: The Coffee Exchange

266 Ouellette Avenue
Windsor, ON N9A 1A5
(519) 971-7424


Monday - Thursday 7am - 11pm
Friday 7am - Midnight
Saturday 8am - Midnight
Sunday 8:30am - 11pm




                       Quality of Food: 2/5
                        Service: 2/5
                        Originality: 3/5
                        Atmosphere: 3.5/5

I had visited The Coffee Exchange at its old location, during my University of Windsor days. While I was overseas, they moved across the street and closer to the River on 266 Ouellette Avenue. The new location has a really nice feel to it, the bare brick walls give it a real rustic feel. The atmosphere has changed from what used to be a casual lounging cafe to a more urban cafe catering to a business and student crowd. While the new location and feeling of the cafe more than excited me, their service and coffee selection definitely reminded me that I was back in Windsor. 

While I was overseas, the cafe's location wasn't the only thing that changed. My palate for quality coffee has as well. 

Upon walking up to the bar, I was interested in trying some single-origin coffee. The cashier was more than eager to offer up the coffee of the day, which was a Costa Rican. I asked about other single-origin coffees and she pointed out the sign for their "Brew Bar" which offered up three additional single origin coffees which sounded a bit more up my alley. I asked for an Americano (or Long Black for my Aussies and Kiwi readers) brewed with the organic Peruvian Cenfrocafe Co-operative coffee beans. Much to my surprise, I was told it couldn't be done by a cashier who looked less than impressed with me by this point.

The "Brew Bar" selections are apparently drip-coffee only. HIGHLY DISAPPOINTING. I was really after a stronger cup of espresso. All that needed to be done was to grind the whole beans with an espresso grind rather than drip grind and extract two shots of espresso into a cup of hot water. It takes far less than the 5-minute mandatory waiting time for the "Brew Bar" selection too. Regardless, I took a seat with my friend Adam on the patio and anxiously awaited my cup of java. After about 5 minutes, my coffee comes out in a large paper cup, no lid. Others sitting around me got ceramic cups, but I got to settle for a Starbucks-like paper cup.

The coffee itself is roasted by 49th Parallel. While not certified Fair-Trade, a sign in the cafe boasts how the roasters source the coffee directly from the farmers paying a rate much higher than the fair-trade rate for coffee. Could very well be true, but hard to confirm without being certified.

In terms of flavour, despite it being a highly watered down North American drip-style coffee the flavour was still detectable. It was very smooth, low acidity, with flavours of plum and sour cherry present. Aroma wasn't as fragrant as I would have expected.

As I finished my cup, I was curious as to what kinds of coffee were in the large glass jars (being sold wholesale). If my experience thus far didn't reassure me of my return to North America, the labels on the jars definitely did: "Creme Brulee, Banana Nut, Vanilla, Hazelnut...." Not an indication as to what kind of coffee beans, but not to worry, it doesn't really matter when it is all artificially-flavoured anyways (sarcasm).

Overall, coffee was decent; selection very limited; environment was nice; but the service was enough for me to think twice about stopping in for a coffee when I'm in the area.


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