Perhaps one of the best things that I love about Toronto, is the large number of local artisan coffee shops, which guarantees a new coffee shop to try on almost every visit!
I would love to write a separate post for each one of them, but I guess I’m just too lazy. So instead, I thought I should put all my Toronto coffee experiences in one post. It took me a while to gather photos from my old laptop and hard drive, but it was fun.
You may notice some differences in the quality of the photos and that is because the photos are at least from three different cameras.
1. Green Grind Cafe – Little Italy
I think this goes back to 5 years ago :)
2. B Espresso Bar – Queen East
We first tried B espresso bar 4 years ago I guess. This photo is from that time. But we also tried the branch on bloor (UoT) in Fall 2010.
3. Niche Coffee & Tea Company- Queen West
This was back in Nov 2008 ! I recall that clearly because it was my birthday .. hehee
4. White Squirrel - West Queen West
Perhaps this photo goes back to three years ago. White Squirrel is right across of Trinity Bellwoods Park. I love walking in West Queen West, it is a very calm area. It’s also referred to as Art & design district, with lots of art shops. Actually, White Squirrel is just four-minute walk from Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA).
5. Mercury Espresso Bar - Queen East (Leslieville, Studio District)
This was back in July 2010. It was a Tuesday too! I remember this clearly, because we skipped school to attend The Central Regional Barista Championship and Coffee Expo which was held in St. Lawrence Market/ We arrived there at 10am, exactly at the time of the opening, but.. there was no one, and the doors were locked, and then we saw a poster on it saying that the expo is Wednesday. So we missed it that year (actually till now it never worked out for us to attend it :( ). So, we decided to just walk on Queen East and we ended up in Mercury. Honestly, that was a really good ending, and another good starting for our day!
6. Jimmy’s Coffee -Kensington market
We first tried Jimmy’s in summer 2011. It was a tiny coffee shop located in King West at that time. It is now located in Kensington market. The current coffee shop is way more spacious and with a big, nice patio. We got the chance to try this a month ago.
7. Little Nicky’s Coffee - Queen west
This was back in Fall 2011. We actually posted a photo of their chairs before. Beside the tasty-beautiful espresso drinks, little nicky’s serves freshly fried mini-donuts!
8. Soma Chocolate -Distillery District / King West
Who doesn’t like chocolate? … Dark chocolate… yum!!
I tried Soma chocolate many times, especially when we’re in Distillery district! I tried their hot chocolate, their cappuccino, and their famous Bicerin, or the “Drink of Gods”!
9. The Dark Horse - Spadina
Dark Horse is very handy, located in the heart of downtown it has been a good place to meet friends and have some good espresso shots. I love the atmosphere of Dark horse on Spadina, especially that corner with blue chairs next to that bright window. I had many hours of good chats there.
10. Lavish & Squalor - Queen West
Where you would least expect it! You can have espresso from a Fashion boutique on Queen! Pretty exciting to be drinking coffee while some people are shopping for clothes :D
11. Sense Appeal – Spadina
In 2011 we tried Sense Appeal, it is a tiny coffee-shop with windows overlooking the busy Spadina. Would love to be there now.
12. R² – Queen West
Being engineering students, the first thing that excited us about R² is the name, we were trying to figure out whether the owners were current/X engineering/science students. I guess we didn’t, maybe because the tasty and beautiful latte art distracted us ;)
13. Atelier Cafe Lounge – King West
Maybe one of the main problems when you’re a group of three or more, is to find a local coffee shop in the heart of downtown with enough space that won’t make you feel you’re taking over the whole shop. Atelier Cafe Lounge is a good choice for that. With comfy couches around the place.
14. The Black Canary – Sherbourne X King East
Black Canary opened in 2012. The same location was Bisogno espresso before, which we tried as well. Black canary has another location in Dundas square, I haven’t tried that yet, but I think it is really handy in such a place, where it is really difficult to get authentic espresso drinks.
15. CSI Coffee Pub – Bathurst X Bloor
This is another spacious option in downtown Toronto (and perhaps the most spacious from those I tried so far).
16. Seven Grams - Yorkville
We tried Seven Grams twice, once in Christmas 2011 and once about a month ago. It is a very neat place on Avenue Road. It is a triplex cafe, with classy orange decoration.
17. Bulldog - Garden District
We tried Bulldog last summer on a weekend we spent in Toronto. We spent the night in a Hotel across Ryerson campus. Bulldog is very accessible from there, so we had our morning coffee in it. It is just four minute walk from Ryerson campus. Besides the good coffee, a bulldog was sitting outside :D i don’t know if it was just a coincidence or it’s for the cafe owner.
18. Ezra Pound – Dupont
This photo goes back to at least 2 years. It is a cellphone photo, the reason was I forgot my camera at home. Ezra Pound is really nice coffee shop on Dupont. We tried it after a long walk that continued up to Cosa Loma, the view from Cosa Loma was really nice.
19. Thor – King west (Fashion district)
This photo goes back to 2 years ago (I lost most of the photos of that time). Thor has beautiful interior. Although it is in the busy Fashion district, it has a relaxing atmosphere. With comfy patio chairs, it’s a perfect spot to have a cup of coffee and relax.
20. Lit Espresso Bar - Roncesvalles Village
We first tried Lit Espresso Bar on 24th June 2012. I memorize the date, because it was just one day after my phd comprehensive exam, hehe, so that day is really clear in my head :D
Lit is great, and beside the good coffee they do beautiful latte art as you can see. Come to think of it, it’s been exactly one year since my exam. mmmm .. ok never mind, lets go back to cafe’s
21. Krepesz - Kengsington market
Last summer I went to Krepesz with my friends. Beside good coffee, it serves “Kürtőskalács“, also known as Chimney cake, which is a Hungarian pastry baked on a tapered cylindrical spit over an open fire. Pretty interesting method of baking cake, isn’t it! I tried Chimney cake for the first time there and I liked it.
22. Manual Labour Coffee Truck – spotted on King West in Nuit Blanche
It was 29th of September last year, my first Nuit Blanche in Toronto. Although a bit disappointing as we couldn’t enjoy the installations that were covered by the large crowd, seeing Manual Labour Coffee Truck on King West by the end of the night really made the difference, hehehe.
I loved it, just looking at the barista hand-crafting my drink inside the truck was a joy.
23. The Common - Bloor West
Trying The common was a coincidence. We were walking from far west of bloor towards downtown, when we spotted a shop that looks like a neat coffee shop! Although we had another cafe in mind to try, we changed plan and just stepped in The Common. Good choice!
24. Crafted by Te aro – Ossington Avenue
Te Aro or (pilot) is a coffee roaster that has two cafe’s one on Queen East and another on Ossington Avenue. We tried the one on Ossington about a month ago. very neat! I would like to try the bigger cafe on Queen east.
25. Pamenar – Kensington Market
We first tried Pamenar more than a year ago, however those photos are less than a month old. Pamenar is one of my favorite coffee shops in Kensington Market. They also have a very nice patio in the back.
26. Rooster - King East
Rooster’s original shop is in East china town, I wrote about it earlier, here. Early this May, Rooster opened on King East, it is really a nice place. Beside the good coffee, I enjoy their unique decoration.
27. Voodoo Child - Little italy
Trying Voodoo Child was a coincidence. We were heading towards a restaurant for lunch when we spotted it. So we decided to have our after-lunch coffee there. This was around a week ago. I ordered a cappuccino, but then saw a customer having a macchiato (or a voodoo child), i really liked their presentation. Next time, I would sure order a macchiato.
28. Dineen Coffee Co. – Yonge X Richmond st
This is one of our latest coffee experience in Toronto. I can say that Dineen is different. The decoration, the staff uniform, the atmosphere, even the location! There are not much independent coffee shops that are 4 minute walk from Eaton center. I’m glad good local coffee shops are opening in that area.
29. De Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters – Uptown Yonge
De Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters is one of the newest Toronto coffee shops. The name is after Francisco de Melo Palheta, the man responsible for the introduction of coffee growing in Brazil and Portugal. Besides the tasty macchiato I had, i enjoyed the beautifully decorated walls and ceiling. I love those umbrellas!
Here’s a map of the coffee shops I tried and covered in this post: click to view the map
Looking back at my coffee experiences in Toronto during the past +5 years, makes me want to plan my next trip to Toronto. This is just a sample of what Toronto coffee looks like. There is much more to explore!