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What do winters and mornings have in common? They are both much easier to navigate when you’re holding and sipping a hot and delicious espresso bevvy. Bring on those warm and fuzzies! We need them right now! Brrrr it’s -7 °C out there as I write this.

Coffee is an absolute must for me in the morn and it’s always a comfy addition to a winter stroll along Oliver’s beautiful International Hike and Bike Trail.

If you’re in Oliver this winter, or anytime for that matter, we’ve got five wonderful places to stop and pick up an espresso beverage and more depending on what else you’re looking for. These five unique places have a lot to offer!

Gems & Stems at Eastside:

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This bright and sunny café with its contrast of whites and florals immediately whisked me back to the days I used to ride my bike to the corner store and exchange pop bottles for an assortment of penny candy.

Gems & Stems at Eastside may not take your pop bottles but kids of all ages listen up! You can buy candy — even ice cream — here!

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You can also get a yummy espresso beverage. Get it to go or stay and relax inside this beautiful little shop. You may even make a new friend in Sushi, the little teacup poodle!

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As the name suggests, Gems & Stems at Eastside is also a floral and gem studio. It specializes in natural whimsical floral bouquets that showcase the beauty of each bloom. Check out their portfolio to see the beautiful bouquets they’ve made for events including weddings!

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It was nice to learn that Gems & Stems at Eastside is eco-conscious. They not only source their flowers locally but they “up-cycle” vessels, vases, and textiles to create their unique arrangements.

If you’re interested in working with flowers, you can take one of their workshops and learn how to make a terrarium, flower wand, or even a dream catcher!

Cock n’ Bull Cappuccino Shop:

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“If it is not homemade, it is not Cock n’ Bull,” a chalkboard inside this cozy café proudly boasts.

Cock n’ Bull Cappuccino Shop makes everything from scratch including an assortment of baked treats like cheese biscuits, blueberry cake, and muffins — a yummy addition to your creamy latte!

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You can also get a hearty breakfast here including Eggs Benny or a breakfast sandwich. They also serve lunch including homemade soups and sandwiches.

I had the breakfast sandwich, blueberry cake, cheese biscuit, and a latte here and I can vouch that they were all very delicious.

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Keep them in mind if you’re planning a South Okanagan event in the future. They also cater!

One thing that struck me right away about Cock & Bull Cappuccino Shop is how homey it is. Rudy and Gabriela Horky are partly responsible for that with their good homemade cooking and friendly service but this space is just so comfy!

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You can choose from various seating options from bright window tables to a comfy couch and armchair in the back corner. You can even choose from a stack of CDs if you’d like to listen to some music.

Big Al’s Bakery & Deli:

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Big Al’s Bakery & Deli has been around for 40 years. It is one of the Okanagan’s only ‘Baked from Scratch’ bakeries. Plus, it also doubles as a wonderful place to get an espresso beverage and even eat a full-on meal.

You’ll likely want to add a donut, baked treat, or even breakfast or lunch to your steaming latte if you’re hungry. It’s hard not to get hungry when the aroma of freshly baked bread and treats envelopes you.

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For breakfast, they serve a whole slew of delicious things like pancakes, bacon and eggs, and omelets, and for lunch, you can order favourites like a beef dip, burger, or grilled panini. There’s more too! Check out their menu.

While you’re here enjoying food and drink at the window bar, you can scan the store for baked goods and deli meat to take home with you.

This is also a great place to buy cakes for any occasion. The carrot cake is to-die-for!

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Oliver Eats:

If you haven’t yet checked out Oliver Eats, this place not only sells espresso beverages but it also operates as a really cool boutique grocery shop and deli.

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You can get a wide array of grocery goods here including fresh produce, cheeses, meat including deli meat, and fresh fish.

Heck, even stay for lunch while you’re at it. They’ve got fresh salads, hot soups, and delicious sandwiches. They cater too!

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How does the ‘smoked salmon croissant’ with arugula, cream cheese, capers, and red onion sound? Or the ‘triple deli ham’ or, if you’re vegetarian, the ‘almond hummus and smoked gouda’? My mouth is watering!

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Take it away for a picnic on one of Oliver’s many beautiful walking and hiking trails or relax and enjoy it outside on their spacious concrete patio at a wine-barrel table.

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Popolo Café:

Popolo Café serves local fare with French and Italian influences including freshly made pasta, gelato, and espresso beverages.

It’s a great place to socialize with bubble friends and family, or even by yourself with your laptop. I’ve sat here and worked in this space in the past. It’s quite perfect for this.

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The café is located at 522 Fairview Road inside a spacious old church.

Steeve Raye, the owner/chef, has done an amazing job of making it both country-stylish and comfortable for guests. Choose from various unique table settings. I can’t wait to see what he does with the place in summer with that massive deck space!

Popolo Café also serves delicious homemade pasta dishes, as well as soups, salads, and sandwiches. It’s licensed too so you can enjoy local wine and beer on tap with your delicious meal.

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Winter or summer, this place is a must-visit if you’re in the area.

Five Great Places to Visit

Next time you’re in Oliver having a caffeine craving, you’ve got a few unique options to get your fix — and more depending on what you need.

Stay in and enjoy the space or take your bevvy and get outside on the International Hike & Bike Trail. It’s a lovely pairing to go with a good cup of coffee!

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