featuresBy contributor Shaleeta Harper

Features_Cafereview1With cracked and polished concrete floors, and live-edge honey maple slabs for tables, The Buzz Coffee House is a unique space with warm industrial design. Exposed pipes hang local art- work and act as room dividers. Tucked away in the back, an elevated section with a bookshelf, fireplace, piano, and grandfather clock creates the feeling of a tiny rustic home for anyone looking to curl up and read. Rust and honey orange walls are hung with decorative wool rugs in reds and creams while burlap coffee sacks hang sparingly, their blue and green hues picked up by the potted trees dotting the room. The music is gentle indie-pop rock and jazz, and the air smells of warm cedar and cinnamon.

The atmosphere at The Buzz is different from other cafés I’ve visited recently, catering a little more to professionals, with a boardroom available for meetings. Many students also fill the room, immersed in notebooks and laptops, lost in the end-of-semester crunch. This is a place for relaxed study and light conversation rather than a raucous gathering with friends.

The food and drink isn’t expensive, and there’s free unlimited WiFi. Large windows framing Mount Benson let the sun stream in, which makes deadlines feel a little less ominous and helps keep the homework blues at bay.

The Buzz serves local coffee companies like Moja Coffee (North Vancouver) and Galileo Coffee Roasters (Britannia Beach). The mocha is affordable and offers a different flavour, bordering on the bitter side with hints of ginger- bread spices. The latté art transcends the simple leaf design and becomes a work of art. But I’m not up to the caffeine. My leg is dancing and my heart is racing, and I’ve barely made a dent in the drink.

The food prices are also reasonable: a tall open-faced tuna melt with thick slices of tomato on a bed of spinach is $5, and a large piece of home-made carrot cake is only $3.85. Gluten-free options are also available.

The Buzz moved to this location in the hospital area just off Bowen Rd. on Dufferin Cres. under two years ago and the reception has

been excellent. Every table is filled and the baristas move quickly, steaming cups flying in every direction. Between the homey décor, warm atmosphere, and affordable prices, The Buzz is one of central Nanaimo’s perfect study spots.

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