Instagram instructed me to go to Café Plume and so I did. Actually, it was a few of you, loyal readers and instafollowers, who had mentioned it on one of my posts. Café Plume is located on some prime real estate, opposite Parc Jeanne Mance in the Plateau Mont Royal, a few steps from St-Urbain. As you can imagine, the place is packed all the time. On weekdays, it’s a serious laptop club but weekends are designated as laptop-free at Café Plume. It’s a growing trend amongst independent cafés to bring back the social aspect of having a coffee. Some cafes go so far as designate certain seating areas to be permanently laptop free or, sometimes, they don't have Wi-Fi at all.
First time I popped in, I was quite surprised to see 49th Parallel being served as I had heard that Plume has always served Verve coffee, since day 1. Unfortunately, the Verve shipment was late that week and Dave, owner at Plume, had to improvise and picked up some 49th. I decided that I should have the full Café Plume experience and come back when Verve was on deck. So I did but I still had the chance to appreciate its clean & simple design. The standout feature is the wall of magazines hanging like towels. For such a small space there is a surprising amount of seating. MacBook power users who pop their heads up almost synchronously at the slightest disturbance occupy most of it though which explains the need for the laptop free policy. Despite being packed, the café can still feel dead, especially when the music goes quiet, and that's just awkward. The plants interspersed throughout the shop, art from local artists and the candy red Marzocco inject a bit of well needed life.
When I did come back, I sat down with Dave and we had ourselves a nice long chat that began with coffee talk. Somehow, we veered off to talking about Jimmy Fallon's account of the SNL's 40th anniversary after-party (a must-see) passing by Quills, Dave's musical side project. Before we did veer off of the coffee course, he confirmed my initial guess that the P-L-U-M-E logo is in fact reminiscent of NYC subway lettering. Don't be looking for that logo though when walking down Mont-Royal. A feather logo atop a recently installed pole will be greeting you on the sidewalk. "Two different logos?" you ask. It may lead some to confusion but there's no need to be confused - both are official logos. Nonetheless, patrons have showed their appreciation or disgust even for the two logo branding. Now the sole owner of Café Plume, Dave is sticking to his guns and keeping it this way.
Verve is also here to stay despite not only the little snafu with the delayed shipment but also the crumbling Canadian dollar. Yup, Verve is an American roaster from California. This time, the Sermon bean was used for the espresso and it was tasty with some fruity notes that were rounded off with hints of dark chocolate. Somewhere between milky and full body, this Ethiopian, Columbian and Brazilian blend was quite on point. If you do get hungry, Plume offers various pastries from around town. They also serve a selection of sandwiches as well as a soup of the day. All of these should keep you full while you stare at your MacBook for hours on end.
If you're looking for a coffee shop to use as your office, you're in luck but if you're looking for a place where you can freely have a chat with an old or new friend than you should expect a few stares from meerkat like figures. All in all though, Cafe Plume is refreshing with its clean design and tasty coffee, as the first coffee shop to serve Verve Coffee in Montreal.
Oh wait, come back, I have one more thing to say. They use Fairmount Bagels. That's a blasphemy in my books. St-Viateur for the win.