Victoria Coffee Shop Scene

Victoria has an interesting city, in that it actually has several culture clashes: not only does coffee have to win over the tea crowd, but the recent invasion of big-brand coffee has impacted the smaller community-based establishments.

The British heritage of Victoria has made the 4 o'clock "high tea" a long-standing tradition (in fact some places even have a dress code for tea). While the most famous place for tea is the Empress Hotel, there are many charming places (often in old cottages) around town and around the area serve great tea and biscuits. The centre of tea culture is Oak Bay, a charming waterfront municipality just to the east of Victoria.

Victoria has had a number of smaller coffee establishments around the community for many years. The city's seaside location made coffee a natural for an early morning warm-up beverage. Over the last decade a number of Italian-style cappuccino places has boomed, serving very tasty caffeine-based drinks. The coffee boom has led to the growth of chains, including Starbucks, which has managed to brand its version of quality coffee around the world. When Starbucks (which ha a significant employee ownership) moves into a neighbourhoods served by a smaller owner-managed shop, some conflict arises. In several instances though, across-the-street competition increased market awareness of coffee beverages and improved business for all concerned.

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