What’s Brewing at Shaughnessy Cafe? Why “Third Wave” is the way to go
By Cheyenne Skurczak
As the weight of midterms becomes heavier and the amount of sleep the average
Dawson student receives lessens, the reliance on an alternative form of energy grows
stronger. Coffee being the extra burst we all need, we’re left with the question: where to go?
The answer sits on the corner street of Lambert-Closse and De Maisonneuve:
Shaughnessy Café. The quaint, independent cafe opened two and a half years ago and is easily
recognizable due to its large windows, previewing the many plants sitting inside, the bustling
conversation between customers and baristas, and the eye-catching tiled counter.
Owner François “Frank” Letendre-Joachim wants Shaughnessy Café to be known for
three things : “The quality of products we serve, our friendly service, and the vibe you get
when you walk in the shop”. When Shaughnessy first opened in October of 2016, Frank would
regularly wave to those walking by the shop glancing inside in curiosity of what had popped up on the street corner, inviting them to try out the coffee. Now students, teachers, and workers
gather for coffee and baked goods in what has become recognized as the best neighborhood
coffee shop in Shaughnessy village.
Shaughnessy serves both filter coffee and espresso. The beans used are from Fernwood
Coffee Company, a Vancouver based roaster focusing on direct trade specialty coffee. They
hand crafts their roasts, developing taste notes such as milk chocolate and caramel to those
with hints of pink lemonade and stone fruit. When it comes to what milk to add to your
macchiato, cappuccino, latte, etc (you name it), Shaughnessy offers a variety of options like
almond, oat, coconut, and soy milk, making it a location that is extremely vegan-friendly.
While Dawson may offer coffee of its own, Shaughnessy goes further and also aims to
solve a problem that is regularly brushed under the rug: waste. “Waste is an obvious issue and
we strive to get ahead of the problem, of course,” claims Frank.
When walking through Dawson hallways, this is easily noticeable: our garbages are so
filled with coffee cups, they are always toppling out of the garbage’s openings. Dawson’s
recycling and compost bins have clear arrows pointing to the garbage, claiming that all coffee
cups should be thrown out due to their incapacity of being recycled.
Shaughnessy aims to have people understand that coffee cups are not recyclable and
that even compostable cups can’t be composted since our city doesn’t have the proper systems
in place. In order to find a solution to this huge problem, amongst other initiatives, they offer
$0.25 off your drink when you take away in a reusable cup. They have also prioritized the use
of metal straws.
“We make sure to reuse as much as we can and waste as little possible here,” Frank
explains. “Coffee shops are a very cost sensitive businesses and since waste costs money, it
just makes sense for us to try and produce as little as possible. For instance, if you want to go
for a walk with your cup, just take a ceramic one and bring it back; no point in wasting a cup
for a walk around the block!’’
While there are many sceptics who may claim that reducing the amount of coffee cups
that go in our garbages won’t make a difference, according to studies by CRC Research, the
average Canadian produces approximately 2.7kg of garbage per day. As a country, we produce
31 million tonnes a year. Canada thus becomes the country that produces the most garbage per
capita in the world. Saddest of all, we only happen to recycle 30% of recyclable materials.
Knowing this, it becomes clear that making a difference truly is possible through small
changes in our daily routine. One of those changes could easily be taking the short two minute
walk to Shaughnessy. Furthermore, by supporting an independent cafe as opposed to chains,
you are fully aware of where your money is going as the business is local.
When asked why Dawson students should choose Shaughnessy, Frank answered that
“We have great coffee, laid back vibes, and great playlists in case you don’t want to do your
homework anymore! Basically, we’re your spot for breaks, study sessions, meetings, cancelled
classes, and weekend hangouts!”. If coffee is not your drink of choice, Shaughnessy also offers
tea, fresh-pressed orange juice, smoothies, and lemonade in the summertime. To top it off,
Shaughnessy is also offering readers of The Plant filter coffee and a croissant for $5 if you are
to come to the cafe with your copy of newspaper.
Why am I the reputable person to offer this insight? After having spent nearly my
entire second semester at Shaughnessy, finding it to be the perfect place to sit back and do
homework, I became one of their baristas. Having worked at Shaughnessy for six months now,
I have noticed the effort that goes into limiting waste and offering customers the warmest
service possible. At my past jobs, I was mistaken in believing that large amounts of waste were
a regular part of any working environment. Shaughnessy, on the other hand, has proved to me
that it is extremely possible to create a wonderful business all while being aware of our planet.
Next time you’re pondering how to achieve the energy boost you so direly need, the
decision as to where to go comes easy. Be it to grab a coffee to go before class or to have the
perfect place to catch up on work with friends, Shaughnessy is the delicious difference that
really can go a long way.