Update: The Just Us! Cafe in Halifax has just become a penny-free zone! Read more.
Original post: July 27, 2007
Whatever happened to the original Tequila Bookworm locale? Well, it’s been replaced with Just Us! Coffee Roasters Co-op – Canada’s first Fair Trade coffee roaster believing in “people and the planet before profits”. Justly, the cafe only sells products (Coffees, Teas, Sugar and Chocolates) which are 100% certified Fair Trade and Organic. When you walk in, you are reminded of Tequila Bookworm’s old layout, only now everything is shiny, brand new and more airy. The square tables in the front are filled with patrons enjoying some java after work, the music is new age, and the staff behind the counter are young, hip…and novice. After learning that their chocolates are created (handcrafted) in their own chocolate factory in the town of Hantsport, in Nova Scotia, I knew I had to give one a try. The Midnight Mint, is a 42g, $2.99 organic, dark, smooth, melt-on-your-fingers slab of chocolately goodness with a hint of peppermint. In other words, ’twas rather delectable. Not only do they have chocolate, coffee, tea and sugar, Just Us! serves salads, sandwiches, soups, martinis and other specialty drinks, not to mention baked goods created in their own bakery. Naturally, I had to try the brownie. The vegan brownie came highly acclaimed over the regular brownie by the girl behind the counter. Oh, were we ever disappointed! Lovely as it was to look at, its spongey texture was more akin to cake than brownie and the taste more suited to those who prefer their desserts on the low end of sweetness (and to those who like ARM & HAMMER® Baking Soda). Word on the street is that Just Us! serves the best espresso in town. I, unfortunately, cannot attest to this, for when it comes to coffee, I am most certainly a lightweight, and won’t even bother to deny it. I will have to return to Just Us! with my seasoned-espresso-drinker friend to find out how great the coffee really is. Teas, on the other hand, I can appreciate. The lemon honey tea was absolutely delicious…it had a wonderful scent to go with the soft, sweet flavour. The ‘chai’ was very good…not like some other teas where it’s mostly all strong spice. They don’t carry lactose-free milk, but they do carry Harmony Organic milks in whole, skim and half & half, with soy behind the counter. I was suprised to see that they serve dairy-free cappuccinos as well (made with soy milk). What’s lacking in Just Us! for now is that personality that the aged, lived-in coffee houses have, but I think in a few years it’ll be a great joint for those who really do care where their java comes from.