Are you a student on the downtown campus who’s tired of getting their coffee from big-chain corporations like Starbucks, Tim Horton’s, Second Cup or Van Houte? Do you want a new spot that has a cool vibe, good service and good coffee? Well, that’s not Pigeon Espresso Bar because they have the world’s worst coffee.
Not actually, though, that’s just their slogan: “World’s Worst Coffee” is seen plastered all around the tiny coffee shop located a few storefronts down from the corner of Bishop St. and De Maisonneuve Blvd. (diagonally across from the Hall building). Whether on merch – reusable coffee mugs, crewnecks, caps – or on little posters throughout, their slogan definitely radiates BDE. Their coffee is far from being the worst and has easily become one of my favourites.
From around April to October, I usually drink iced coffee. From then until March, I get regular, hot coffee. At Pigeon, I often get an iced latte and, since I like my drinks with a little sweetness, and Pigeon doesn’t have flavoured syrups, I add a little bit of agave (they also have honey available).
Other times, when I’ve felt adventurous and wanted to try out something new but didn’t know what, every barista I’ve engaged with has helped me out. Not only are they helpful but they’re kind and friendly with each customer that comes in. At one point a few trips ago, one particular barista asked a patron if they wanted “the usual.” Even though it’s a really simple thing, it says a lot about the employees if they remember people’s orders, especially in a very busy neighbourhood. For service, I give Pigeon 5/5.
Back to coffee: during the colder months, I order a regular brew and add some milk – they also have non-dairy options like soy, coconut, oat, and almond milk – and sugar (again, agave and honey are sweetener alternatives). Whatever I get, though, it never tastes burnt, watery or just downright gross; it’s always fresh, has that perfect brewed-coffee smell and feels “full” to your taste buds. I’d give their coffee a 4.5/5.
On a side note, Pigeon does also have some baked goods. Since I have celiac disease (I can’t eat gluten), I haven’t tried anything, but they always look so yummy and I often see other people buying them.
One thing about Pigeon is that, because it’s an independent shop, their prices are a little higher than a Starbucks coffee, which makes me give them 3.5/5.
Even as a small – literally tiny, with only about three feet from the counter to the windowed-wall – coffee shop, Pigeon has quite a few varieties of drinks, all of which can be seen on the menu, which is written on large mirrors on the left side of the shop. Hanging from the ceiling are plants, which gives the small shop a light feel and makes for the perfect Instagram shot. Once you’ve got your coffee, you can sit down on a stool by the ledge lining the windows or sit outside on the shaded patio and watch Bishop St. For ambiance, I give Pigeon a 5/5.