Coffee. It starts many people’s day. If you live in a big city or a suburb, it’s easy to find on the way to work. In rural Cape Breton, however, that good cuppa joe is much more elusive. There is no Tim’s on every corner, no Dunkin’ and for sure, no Starbucks. So far, I’ve identified four places with good coffee on the west side of the island. One is 10 miles NE, another is 11 miles south, a third is 30 miles north, but my new favorite coffee vendor is 25 miles south of us in Mabou. So, how far would YOU go for a really good cup of coffee?
After the Mull in Mabou, a local eatery, closed recently, world-renowned fiddler Andrea Beaton was touring in the states with Troy MacGillivray, bemoaning the lack of fun little coffee shops along Route 19 at home. She joked about buying the recently closed Mull and opening a coffee shop – but it started to become real in her mind. She’d already bought a used commercial espresso machine and a few years back had been researching tiny houses. Turns out that was perfect for selling coffee, so she modified a tiny house design for an 8×5 foot trailer and had a contractor build it to her specifications. “Make something like this,” she asked, “and he did…. the rest is what you see!”
Beaton’s Delight Espresso popped up last year next to the Red Shoe Pub in Mabou when Andrea returned to the island from Montréal with her family and bought the house where her grandfather had lived, right next door to the legendary Red Shoe. Seasonal, of course, like many services here, Beaton’s Delight provides (and I would expect no less) world-class coffee and certainly the best cafe mocha I’ve had anywhere and I’m an American coffee snob. The maple latte looked enticing but it will have to wait till next time.
Yes, I love the Dancing Goat in Northeast Margaree and they remain my favorite lunch place and I always order their cafe mocha latte when I go there. I am a loyal Goat lover and I had and enjoyed their latte earlier this week but I have to say, Beaton’s Delight edges them out just a bit with a richer, deeper, more chocolatey mouth feel. Try the mocha latte at both and decide for yourself!
The whole time we were there, the line kept forming and Andrea had already run out of mini cinnamon buns, “minnie cinnies,” a specialty. I think everyone in Mabou can smell it on the air, like when I come downstairs and Bob’s made coffee. The smell of good joe lures them to her stand – old, young, in-between. Hot, cold, sweet, straight up, fancy, whatever flavor, they all want their coffee. Two young guys wait, jonesing for their espresso hits, while my latte is almost gone. The line never stopped, so I couldn’t grab a photo of Andrea. I ponder the wisdom of a refill while I wonder how many of her customers know her music.
Andrea Beaton is a truly amazing fiddler from Cape Breton who blew me away the first time I saw her perform. I loved her music but even more, I loved her style. She made me laugh. Years later, I was lucky enough to play music with her. It’s pure joy playing with others who give their all, nothing held back. Andrea is one of those people. That same sense of commitment is evident in what she’s done with Beaton’s Delight Espresso. I can only guess what the mini cinnies taste like because they sold out. But I know Andrea and only the best will do. Guess I will have that refill!