I really wish Kitchener would be done with the construction soon.
Then again I probably won’t be around long enough to see it. I just wish I didn’t have to drive around the lot 3 times before figuring out the entrance, disorienting Paige in the process (sorry Paige!). Balzac’s Coffee Roasters (which I’ll just call Balzac’s from this point on) lives in the heart of the Tannery District in Kitchener, inside the old tannery building along with Communitech and the Google Kitchener office.
Balzac’s is probably why the guys at Google is doing so well.
Jokes aside, the atmosphere inside the shop is very similar to DVLB: one large Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II, one large table, some half-booth styled seats, some regular seats. Warm indoor lights, but less natural light. Paige doesn’t seem to mind though, as she’s plowing through her business review questions (As a side note, she says she likes this photo better than my other ones, what do you think?). I think she was more productive here than when she was at DVLB, but that’s probably not due to the coffee.
Right, you’re going to notice a lot of comparisons to DVLB in this post, and for good reason too: Balzac’s is what I would rate as a close second to DVLB.
Sadly, it’s only a close second.
That’s not to say it’s bad; quite the opposite in fact. I had ordered an Americano – as is tradition – and a mocha for Paige.
Their Americano is really good.
So good that I didn’t even think much about it. It’s not like the bold and expressive espresso from DVLB, this one is like your old friend. You’re drinking it, but you don’t realize how good it is until you actually think about it. I sipped on for for about 10 minutes before I wrote this: it just felt right.
But it lacks magic.
But I probably will go to DVLB more often than here, because I can’t reproduce what a La Marzocco is able to produce, but at Balzac’s, my pot comes pretty close to the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II. Although, I feel like that’s not a fair comparison, the two places are using different beans, different roasters. However, something about the espresso from DVLB just carries so much charm, I don’t know if it’s the aftertaste, I don’t know if it’s the texture, I don’t even know if it’s the temperature. Not to mention, DVLB is cheaper as well.
DVLB is just straight up better, and I haven’t even tried their whiskey yet.
I guess it’s a good thing that these two places are so far apart; as the old Chinese saying goes, “A mountain isn’t big enough for two tigers”; If DVLB and Balzac’s were next to each other, I’d imagine there would be a war between the hipsters.
I know I’m still going back to DVLB: cheaper, closer, better; It’s a simple choice for me, but for the people in Kitchener, go try them yourselves. Who knows, maybe you guys will like Balzac’s better.
Bonus selfie from Paige (Hi, Paige!), I don’t want to admit it, but she does take better photos of herself than I can.
That’s what I like to call “home-field advantage”.