Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Starbucks: 40 years

40 years in the Industry.
Had to post props to original Pike Place location in Seattle.
Birth of making coffee sexy, and without the mass appeal of *BUX maybe we wouldn't have the push for quality beans around the world...

What are your thoughts?
How did you celebrate 40 years in the business?
Did you go and try their Tribute blend?
(sheepishly I have - and it's not bad, it's just not my preference to have such dark, earthy tones.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wrap Up; LIT college 1st Anni

A great crowd of regulars, fans, friends and Family of LIT Espresso Bar came out in full force on Saturday night to celebrate the first year of business.

Monday, March 28, 2011

NY: Blue Bottle Coffee (Brooklyn)

Address: 160 Berry St
Neighbourhood: Williamsburg
Borough: Brooklyn, New York
Tel: (718) 534-5488‎

This West coast transplant found itself a new home in the depths of Williamsburg, nestling into a brick-based factory style loft on a seemingly ordinary residential street.  Blue Bottle has been a staple of the Bay area scene since 2002, taking it's simple desire of providing freshly roasted coffee to their neighbourhoods. Not far off from their quest to bring their knowledge to the East Coast almost a decade later. Can this transplant survive in cutthroat NYC?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Method: Siphon

Spotted: LIT Espresso Bar (College Street Location)
Address: 810 College Street

Having just celebrated their first birthday at the 810 College Street location, it seemed like forever, since I was here last. The truth is: I hadn't ventured to this location during store hours....

When they decided to open up later - until 8pm, now that Spring is upon us. har har har!

I needed to make a trek down to the College location for some Hairbender... as I'd been craving for that syrupy sweetness from Stumptown. I know, go local, but there's something about Stumptown that I was craving.

LIT recently tweaked their water pressure system to create a more consistent process, but Nicole managed to convince me to try Siphon over Chemex...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Only Cafe

The Only Cafe
Address: 972 Danforth Ave
Neighbourhood: the Danforth
Website; Tel: 416-463-7843

Shining some light for the East end. Many seem to think that beyond the Danforth there is a nothing; slightly true, but there is a love for these local establishments. Seeing as we just did the BWV, we had to represent the other side of the Bloor-Danforth line. Hopping off at Donlands Station, it reminded me of my time in Boston, Mass.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

V60; Grumpy Honduras

Surprise, surprise Toronto. SNOW!

No grumpiness here, just exctasy with this mornings brew. The start of the new season of roasting has gone off amazingly well, and most cafe have been brewing some incredible SO and Blends. This can only mean that everyone is benefitting from the source of these beans, acquiring knowledge through craftmanship.

We so easily forget who roasted, or where the source of the beans are located, or most importantly the farmers that work hard all-year round. Their craft of cultivating amazing beans by pouring blood, sweat and soil into highlighting the best quality that they can obtain from the fruit.

As we've now hit spring, this is a Thank You tribute to all farmers - not just coffee farmers.

Coffee: Lo Mejor de San Vicente ( Pena Blanca, Santa Barbara region), Honduras
Varietals: Pacas + Bourbon
Producer: Santos Alexi. Flor de la pena + moreno
Roaster: Cafe Grumpy (Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NYC)

Roasters note: fruited and sweet with hibscus, ripe red grapefruit and honey

Method: Hario V60 Pour over

Verdict: Sweetness, sweetness, sweetness. clean honey tones with a ringing bright sweet lime-like finish.
Nostrils: strong-tea

Overall: this microlot is definitely lush! Sweetness from the first sip, gets even better as the fresh brewed coffee starts to cool. The sweet, fully ripe ruby grapefruit starts to shine, and the pleasent after-taste lingers just enough that you wish you brewed a big quantity.

But with amazing crops this year, the talks of coffee prices on the rise may be generating a divide between great coffee, and creating a larger gap from the "bad, unwanted" coffee. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

LIT College: Birthday Celebration

It seems like March has been quite the month for Birthday Celebrations.

LIT on College had their official birthday a couple of weeks ago, but you know how those crazy kids have busy lives... they just need to celebrate it on a different day.

Saturday, March 26th - 7pm

810 College Street (close to Ossington)
STUMPTOWN will be providing some wicked coffee, and maybe candle light celebrations with EARTH day?
 Too bad I missed out on the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Adado....

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mercury Photos

 Happy Birthday! Five Years in Leslieville.
Creating the scene for Local Independent Cafes -
Mercruy Espresso Bar opened theirs doors on March 20, 2006 - it's been growing ever since.

Major Barista Jam on Saturday night filled the 400 sq ft. location to the brim, with local barista from the GTA. We had Detour, Social, Capital, LIT, TeAro, Crema, SJCB/CP, Terrior all in representation last night.
A great turn-out for the neighbourhood, and a great scene for Toronto to thrive off.
As a coffee geek, it was just a lot of love going around.
Great to see so many familar faces.
(more photos and details after the jump)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Birthdays all weekend.

Crema on Bloor (located inside of the Freshii is turning One.

$2 Sumatra Blue Batak Clovers all day + Cake from Circles and Squares.
Verdict: Sweet lemon essence, with a resounding earthy mouthfeel signature of sumatran coffee. But the finish becomes this smoky smooth sweet tobacco taste that coats your mouth and leaves an amazing after-taste.
Great way to celebrate their first anniversary.

Saturday/Sunday: MUTHAF@#%KIN’ FIVE YEARS at Mercury Espresso

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

First Experience: Coffee Tree

Address: 2412 Bloor Street West
              (Jane and Bloor)
Neighbourhood: BloorWestVillage
(416) 767-1077; website

Let's talk about the oldest Toronto Artisan Roastery: Coffee Tree. They've been roasting and procuring beans since 1988. With their very own on-site micro roaster, and a daily roasting schedule, it'd only make sense that they would source from the coffee producing belt.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mercury's 5th Birthday Bash

This upcoming weekend will mark one of my fav local coffee shops, Mercury Espresso Bar, 5th birthday.
The Weather looks like it'll cooperate! Hopefully no rain.
Address: 915 Queen St. East
Neighbourhood: Leslieville


SATURDAY MARCH 19TH - starting at 7pm
  • Olde-fashioned Barista showdown. (Latte Art)
  • Beer courtesy of  Mill Street 
  • Food from George Brown's Culinary School. 
  • Terroir/George Howell Coffee Co. donating amazing coffee.
  • BEST of all Toronto's first Manual Brew-Off!  
Local baristas will be bringing the coffee, the method and skills.
"Bring your friends as well.  Baristas or not.  We need to get as many people to see what an amazing community we have.  Great coffee is not just for us." - Matt and Doug  
There will be a silent auction throughout the night, as well as a donation jar set up for Coffee Kids.
Mercury will be raising money for this great organization throughout the entire weekend. 

So to recap, Beer, Coffee, Food, Coffee, Beer, Beer. Food, etc....


Free *Daily Brew in 12oz and 8oz sizes. *limit one per person* - GHHowell's Alchemy Blend
Local bands from staff, former staffs and addicts of MercuryHere's the line up(check the blog for more details)
12:00pm-12:30:Edison’s Torpedo,
12:30-1:00: Silver Speakers
1:00-1:30: Nolan, Ken & Aerin
1:30-2:00: The Bait & Switch
2:00-2:30: Stiff Toys,
2:30-3:00:  Suitcase Sam and His Spectacular Two-Man Band,
3:00-3:30: Black Walls,
3:30-4:00: Soup Kitchen Line Up,
4:00-4:30: Annelise Noronha,
4:30-5:00: Gay
5:00-5:30: The Bitters.
There will be cake, coffee and bands all day. 

I'll be popping in - so should you! Plus it's an excuse to explore Leslieville.

Monday, March 14, 2011

NY: Oslo (Williamsburg, BK)

Oslo Coffee Roasters
Address:133 Roebling St. (map)
Neighbourhood: Williamsburg
Borough: Brooklyn
(718) 782-0332 website

Inspired by  Norwegian culture, and their mythical gods, comes this neighborhood centred cafe. Massive over sized doors, and many wood themed accents invoke a Scandinavian inspired design. This is everything that Williamsburg stands for: Community, community, community!

Having just stepped into the cafe, the duo team of John and jd made my visit definitely worth wild. The smallest details made me appreciate what the neighbourhood has on its hands, quality coffee with a sense of belonging. They even designed swim caps for the local Masters Swim Club. A TRUE neighbourhood cafe. Roast local, serve local, be local!

Large offset communal tables in the front dispersed with a great array of magazines reflect the interest of their customers. Surfing, Design, Current Events, seemed pretty Hodge podge to me, but it's what the community embraces. Sounds like a meeting places of different minds, mentalities and interests.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Coffee Review: Cafe Grumpy's Brazilian Rodomunho! ♥

Beans: Rodomunho! ♥
Produced by: Cristiano Ottoni
Varietal of beans: Acaia, Catuai, Icatu, Mundo Novo
Region: Cerrado, Brazil
(more information)
Roasters: Cafe Grumpy
Located: Greenpoint, BK (Brooklyn) NYC

Friday, March 11, 2011

LIT Event: Coffee and Chocolate Pairing

LIT Espresso Bar on College held an amazing event tonight pairing artisan chocolate with Stumptown Coffee.

The concept of pairing two food types has worked, and as human nature it's evident that we enjoy creating culinary experiences that highlight complimentary flavours.
Tonight we were privy to the first ever event of its' kind.
LIT Coffee (Stumptown) paired with David Stubbe's Chocolate.

David Stubbe is the creator of Stubbe Chocolate a boutique shop 653 Dupont Street (near Christie)

"creating fresh according to the high standards of the Konditorei." Konditorei is the German word referring to a pâtisserie and confectionery shop.

He talks about cocoa beans being bought through distrubtors/brokers.. but the first three pairings were actually from origin meaning that they were bought straight from the farm.
Sourcing from Origins and creating that Direct-Trade is essentially what Stumptown wants to create. What a better way to display these two products than side-by-side.

Really what's not to love high caffeine, rich fats, sugar content that is heavenly.
Just like Wine and Cheese, Pizza and Soda, Steak and Potatoes, this was just finding components of coffee that would accentuate the flavour profile of the chocolate.

We started with less sweet - working our way up the sweetness totem pole, such that the sweetness didn't overpower our palette.

First pairing:
66% bittersweet Mexican (origin) w/ Ethiopian Yiragcheffe Adado
Choco: bittersweet dark!
Coffee: super clear profile with higher acidity.

Second pairing: Eburundi Bwayi w Tanzania 70 % origin.

The sharp Tanzania cuts through the mellowmellow bwayi.
Not sure how I feel about the coffee, but there was definitely character like a subtlemysterious  figure in the background, super great.

Third Pairing: Burundi Kinyovu w/ 72% Venezuela
Kinyovu made through Chemex process meant really fruity, and clean coffee paired with this rich dark chocolate that's just sweet enough, but NOT overpowering. Once paired together there was this dense mouth feel, similar to eating a chocolate cake. Amazing mouth feel

Fourth Pairing: Bolivia Buenvista organic w/ 72% Organic cocoa
Buenvista is probably one of the nuttier coffees I have had this year, it really compliments the 72% - as the sweetness doesn't overpower the chocolate too much. Great pairing done by Alex.

Fifth Pairing: Coloumbia Los Cauchos w/ semi sweet 56% cocoa with cocoa nibs
Los Cauchos, light and airy compliments the sweetest chocolate on display this evening. The nibs gave the tongue a different texture to explore resulting in a memory that will be spoken upon.

Not paired: Chili - chocolate was spicy, reminded me of the Mayan style chocolates found at SOMA.

My favourite mix and match pairing of the night: Burundi Kinyovu with the 72% Organic Cocoa. (Not one of the recommended, but it tasted like a DENSE Dutch Chocolate cake. Every sip just meant more yumminess!

Hoping that there are more of these pairing events in the future!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Featured: Addis Ketema

Mixed bag of weather (snow, slush, freezin rain, hail, flash cold, rain) these last couple of days has pushed me to get out earlier, and why not visit some local stomping grounds.

Spotted at Mercury Espresso Bar
Espresso: Addis Ketema
Region: Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
Roasters: George Howell

Verdict: Smooth brightness and a clean distinction of root/ginger spice pronounced on my tongue shining through the mellow pre-ripe peach (think texture as mouth feel)
Very different from when Mercury first received this roast.
Pleasantly, and unexpectedly had Matt pull the shots this AM.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Definitely caffinated, but unable to post for a while.
Will be back soon - have a ton of new locations and will continue the NY posts by weeks end.

Major developments in the works, but keep it locked on my twitter feed to find out what happening.
I usually am posting up photos of my whereabouts.

Such as: Where do I find an indie cafe that is open at 7/7:15am around the Yonge and Eglington area..
Report back later in the week to discuss.

Happy Birthday LIT College on your 1st anniversary!
Don't forget about the Coffee and Chocolate Pairing event happening on Thursday March 10th at 7pm.

Til the weekend!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Extra Extra: Cafe Grumpy delivery


3 bags of joy surprised me today!

Rodomunho - Brazil (Cerrado Region)
Micro lot Las Margarita Y Anexos - Guatemala (Amatitlan Region)
Lo Mejor De San Vicente - Honduras ( Pene Blanca, Santa Barbara Region)

This is 3 out of their current 6 selections being roasted on the Dietrich!

Check out their website for ordering and shipments!

As a side note; this package came within 3-5 business days even crossing the border.

Cafe grumpy does right!!!!!