142 Charlton Avenue W
I love coffee. Since the day I picked up my first cup as a bleary sleep deprived second year medical student, I knew it was meant to be. We have had a rocky past, like the month I spent on Ob/Gyn drinking 8 cups a day to stay awake for deliveries. I like to think things are more settled now with just one morning cup and the occasional midday latte (or two). Lucky for me, Hamilton’s coffee scene has exploded in the last few years and there have been so many new places to try.
I have been coffee shop hopping the last few months as I study for my Royal College exams. When are the exams you ask? Not until May, but that doesn’t mean we all haven’t been studying* since August. It simultaneously feels like an infinite amount of time but at the same time not nearly enough time. The only thing that makes it slightly more bearable is having a delicious caffeinated beverage and sitting in the sunshine with people whose lives have not been blighted by choosing a career in medicine.
*Studying = carting around a million textbooks and binders and staring at them bleakly for 10 minutes before opening Facebook. You will then browse Facebook for 45 minutes looking at all your high school friends who have real lives, houses and children instead of an MD and unspeakable amounts of debt.
A fellow prisoner…resident… mentioned she had been studying at Durand, so I thought I would give it a try. I am very particular about where I spend my study time, so the first time I went with my husband to scope the place out. I have been there twice again since, so I feel pretty set about my feelings on the place now.
Located on a mostly residential street, Durand Coffee is easy to miss. Looks are deceiving though because once you walk in, you are greeted by a large space with plenty of seating. The lighting is perfect and there is a good mix of customers. If you are studying, just be aware it is pretty busy and they get a good number of parents with young children coming in. Regardless of what time I have gone it has always been busy, but you can usually still snag a table or comfy chair in the back area.
On my first two visits, I tried their almond milk latte. The next time I tried the matcha tea latte also with almond milk. I appreciate it’s hard to work with almond milk. It’s watery and can be annoying to work with, but such are the options for the lactose intolerant. It can be hard to find a good almond milk latte, but these were great. Creamy and beautiful to look at. The matcha tea latte which is a new feature was a definite highlight.
As much as I would like to give Durand Coffee a wholehearted 5 stars, there is something that holds me back. Although the service was ‘fine’ all three times I went, I did find the staff (same people working each time) a bit stand offish and not particularly friendly. They seemed much warmer with regulars, but this could just be the particular staff I encountered on my visits.