Hide + Seek Coffee: A New Coffee Shop in Oak Bay

If you are a visitor to Oak Bay village, you may have noticed the papered window in one of the empty stores in the historic Bell Block. In a clean, simple frame lay a hint of what is now Hide + Seek Coffee: “To let work take over our lives is folly. There are too many important things that need time, such as friends, family, hobbies and rest.”

FrontThe quote by Carl Honore perfectly describes the feeling that Hide + Seek transcribes. The space is open and bright, but it’s the small details that bring the comfort and friendliness that one seeks in a café. From the custom built wooden bar to the sleek 70’s-esque furniture, and the colourful, playful art adorning the walls, it feels refreshing and cozy all at once.

Owners Jesse and Jamie Owens are calm and soft-spoken with warm smiles, sparkling eyes, and a passion for really good coffee. They focus on family and community in their business, and with two small children as inspiration, they have successfully created a space that caters to professionals and families alike. Tall two-person tables line the long and narrow room for those looking to hide out, while cozy sitting areas rest in the corners if you’d rather seek friends. The front window has a low bar with tiny stools, reserved solely for their little guests – wooden blocks included.

It all started while the couple was on their honeymoon almost ten years ago, they decided they loved being in coffee shops so much that all they really wanted was one of their own. At this time they frequented Caffe Fantastico, and Jesse soon went on to work for them for six years, spending almost half of that time as a roaster.

SeatingIn line with their dedication to coffee, the pair opted for a manual-lever espresso machine, which requires more skill and pulls out more flavour compounds from the beans. The resulting coffee is rich and viscous with toasty notes and little bitterness. The beans are from Fantastico, with the proprietary blend for drip, the Cause Way blend for espresso, and a weekly rotating blend for their sharing board – from 1:00-4:00 in the afternoons they offer pour-over, aeropress, or soft brew coffee-for-two, complete with a plate of cookies.

The Africano is rich, deep, and perfectly balanced, served on a small board with a glass of sparkling water to cleanse the palette. The house-made Pear and Apple ‘Poptart’ is light, flaky, and just sweet enough. Jamie used to be a baker and whips up goodies for the shop; Poptarts and Orange Cardamom Cake are on the menu for now, and chocolate chip cookies too if you’re lucky! You can also find Empire Donuts, and gluten-free cookies from Real Food Made Easy. For the savoury folks there is toast on Crust Bakery bread with toppings of honey, Gruyere, or avocado.

AfricanoAlthough they are in a village with five other coffee shops, they’re not worried about competition and instead like to focus on the community aspect. The Owens’ love café hopping, and as Jamie says, “I don’t feel like there could be too many coffee shops, because I need to go to all of them in one day!”

Hide + Seek has only been open since November 16th, but it seems like they have fit right into the village scene. The service is attentive, personal, and relaxed, all while there is a steady stream of people coming, staying, and going. As for what the future holds, the young family is taking it day-by-day for now, enjoying the excitement of their dream coming to fruition.

—By Laura Peterson


Hide + Seek Coffee

2207 Oak Bay Avenue, Victoria, BC V8R 1G4

Mon-Sat: 7:30 – 4:00, Sun: 9:00 – 2:00




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