For about six months, we’ve been reading raves from various Chowhound contributors about Cafe Veritas, the three-group Synesso machine, the coffee from 49th Parallel Roasters, the prowess of Anthony, the cafe’s celebrated barista. So, about two hours after getting off the train, we stopped in for coffee. This close to the holidays, we never assume any business is going to be open with regular hours.
Veritas is located in Old Montreal, 480 St. Laurent, near the corner of Notre Dame Ouest. It’s a cool, modern interior… probably not a space where I’d curl up with a coffee for a few hours to work on the computer, but it’s smart, with a clean and utilitarian layout.
Chuck ordered a cappuccino; I, an espresso. I’ll say first of all that Anthony was away on holiday, but my espresso was the best I’ve had in a very long time. The 49th Parallel blend they use has bright, fruity high notes, but it’s also rich and deep, no bitterness, perfect crema. Chuck was impressed by his cappuccino. The owner was really cool about explaining the benefits of the Synesso machine to my former barista boyfriend, and chatting about the business in general.
The cafe was to be open the next day and then close for the holidays, so we got there in the morning for our second Veritas experience and it was brilliant again. With a fully manual machine like the Synesso, you quickly “taste” each barista and how he or she pulls the shot. So my espresso the next day had a deeper, darker texture with few high notes, but it was still good, and variation is a part of the experience of coffee.
Veritas was my best espresso in Montreal. There’s a lot of bad coffee in Montreal, as is the case everywhere, but the city also has some really good coffee - Caffe in Gamba and Caffe Art Java, to name two. The arrival of Veritas, in June of 2007, raises the bar even higher.