Thursday, June 30, 2011

Features Bean: A3

Spotted: Senseappeal
Located: 96 Spadina Avenue (Spadina +Adelaide)
website, @senseappeal, 416-907-8524

Introducing the newest roast: A3
Composition: Ethiopian Sidamo - Ardi

Senseappeal is more of a retail laboratory for coffee experiments where they subject their customer base to their optimal roasting profiles. Taking a scientific approach to roasting, and finding the best roasting profile takes a lot of batches, but the Senseappeal team doesn't mind .

This latest edition takes the Sidamo - Ardi in its third incarnation, otherwise known as "roasting profile"

Machine: Della Corte (3 Group)
also on site: DC Pro (pictured above)

Verdict: Strawberries, with a muted chocolate presence.
Pulled in two single shots and serves on a plate - how cute, but more on the technical side - pulling two single shots as compared to pulling a double through a naked portafilter, is a more smooth and velvety shot, less chance for bubbling action.

What impresses me about this shop, is the constant rotation of seasonal blends, or Single Origin, BUT they house two 3 group machines - Definitely think this is the only location in town with 2 heavy duty workhorses.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Food for Thought: The Bellevue

Hump day - Wednesday - will feature a new section of restaurants.

The Bellevue
Address: 61A Bellevue Avenue (corner of Nassau and Bellevue)
Neighbourhood: Kensington Market
Meal: Brunch

Breakfast is the most essential meal of the day - but second to that is Brunch. Tucked in that time zone where you've clearly woke up later than the usual 7am, and drifted past your start time for conventional business hours. You've now creeped into the "sleeping in" time of 10am. Not quite feeling like a bowl of cereal as your appetite will not be sated. Too early for soup and sandwich, but the craving is ever so present.... Now what?. That's how I feel about brunch.The joyous meal, where Breakfast and Lunch foods come together. Quite happy with the fusion brunch culture in Toronto.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

DC: Filter Coffee House

Filter Coffee House
Address: 1726 20th Street NW
Neighbourhood: Adams Morgan

City: Washington, D.C.
website, @twitter, (202) 234-5837

Opening their (cellular) doors in March 2010 in fairly hip-n-happening neighbourhood of Washington called Adams Morgan. Located on the northwestern front of Washington, D.C. its' become a hub for bars, trendy shops, and amazing cafes. 
Case in point: Filter Coffee House.

The owner of Filter had a passion for coffee, and developed a great relationship with their roaster: Caffe Pronto. As the coffee industry changed, and his knowledge expanded he made the leap and invested his time and money into this thriving location. I guess we're quite spoiled in Toronto, with the boom of indie shop.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Ice Cream Madness has taken over Toronto....
Will need to post about espresso-based ice cream, gelato.. etc...

Keith O'Sullivan wins first Brewers Cup in Maastricht, NL. (Ben Jaminsky doesn't enjoy the cobble stone)

Old Article, but I found it was a great snapshot:
Coffee Review profile of Canadian Roasters (here)

SHORT post, but will be back fullforce this week

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chemex musings

Cloudy Saturday Morning..

Pulled out the Chemex, after much V60 love, thought I'd dust out this amazing brewing device.
It's featured in the MoMA...that's got to be something to say about its' design and function.

July is approaching, so not only will you see summer inspired, iced drinks..but getting back into my other toys. (Blush- sheeply slides away)

Brewed: kochere, yirgacheffe.
Roasted: Caffe Pronto
A couple more cups and I'm out of this delicious honey lemon, black tea, crisp coffee.

No recipe, as I'm still searching for the right ratios for this limited coffee...but I will need to experiment on my next bag.
Any suggestions out there for either a new balanced blend, or a SO that is WOW'ing you right now?

Comment below, or shoot me an email:

Posting more NYC love, and an impromptu EA completed last week. I loved the un-planned adventures.....
Canada long weekend will mean restful times at the lake, but maybe ill sneak back early to do a EA/ Coffee crawl....thoughts?

Happy Espresso Adventures!
For more information check out:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fun Friday; sunshine

In the light of World Brewers Cup and the official kick off to Summer, I've decided to post up a photo of the cold brew that I did last week on those hot, humid days.
Used my V60 Hario set... Yes, I went that route...and used Andy from Caffe Pronto's Brewers Cup competition beans.
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Kochere

Recipe Ratio:
1oz ground beans
8 oz. Hot water
5oz. Of Ice
Brewed the regular way of pre-infusion, and pour-over method....
Verdict; refreshingly cool black tea- sweetness of honey lemon drops, with crisp chocolate mouthfeel.
What a great way to enjoy my afternoon.
Feeling like hitting a cafe this weekend? Here are my top choices to experience Cold brew or Ice drinks.
1) Cold Brew Crafted on Ossington
2) Iced Americano at Mercury Espresso
3) Toddy over at Lit on College
4) Iced Americano at Farenheight
Enjoy the weekend.
For more information check out:

Thursday, June 23, 2011

World Brewers Cup - Results

Having been watching the Top 6 Finalist online from LiveStream:

(Guys I almost called it on my first POST)

1st - Keith O'Sullivan (Ireland)
2nd -James Hoffman (UK)
3rd - Luca Costanzo (Aus)
4th Stefano Domatiotis (Greece)
7th - Tomasz Dziedzic (Poland)
6th - Miklos Gal (Hungary)

Watching Steve @hasbean be the HOST - has been quite a riot.
I'll through up video links when they appear. 
What I wicked competition.

World Brewers Cup

Guys and Gals,

Have you been following the Brewers Cup or Tasters Cup or Latte Art over in Maastricht, NL.
Hosted by the SCAE....

Remember: they are 6 hours ahead... from EST.
competitors (in no particular order)
James Hoffman (UK)
Keith O'Sullivan (Ireland)
Luca Costanzo (Aus)
Stefano Domatiotis (Greece)
Tomasz Dziedzic (Poland)
Miklos Gal (Hungary)

Watch the LIVE Stream here


1:00pm – 5:00pmWorld Cezve/Ibrik ChampionshipStage 2

12:00pm – 5:00pmCoffee in Good Spirits Finalists Practice TimeArt Bar

2:00pm – 5:00pmLatte Art Finalists Practice TimeBackstage 1

2:30pm – 5:00pmWorld Brewers Cup – FinalsStage 1

Friday, June 24

10:30am – 11:30amWorld Cup Tasters Championship – FinalsStage 2

12:00pm – 2:00pmWorld Latte Art Championship – FinalsStage 1

2:00pm – 4:00pmWorld Coffee in Good Spirits Championship – FinalsStage 1

4:00pmAwards CeremonyStage 1

6:30pm – 7:30pmWCE Committee/Wrap Up MeetingTBD

8:30pm – 2:00amSweet Fantasy Barista Party (ticketed event)Bonnefanten Museum/CafĂ© Ipanema

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jazz, Coffee, Patio: Sublime

The Sublime Cafe
Address: 219 Augusta
Neighbourhood: Kensington Market

Smack in the Market, ala Kensington, there is a spot that could describe the vibe that is ever so present.
Chill with a dash of art.
That would be my description of Sublime.
A bit of a front "porch" area doesn't really give away too much.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

NY: Counter Culture Coffee (Educational Centre) DC

Counter Culture Coffee - DC edition
Address: 1836 Columbia Road NW Suite 202
Neighbourhood: Adams Morgan
City: Washington, D.C.

North Carolina, Durham - WHADDUP!
The epic-centre for transparency within the micro-roasting community brings our US trip to Counter Culture - DC training centre.

1995 - Statrt of CCC
2011 - 9 Training Centres in the USA. (LARGE!)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Features Bean: Kenyan Kangunu

LIMITED... might even be GONE, but get there QUICK

Spotted: Mercury Espresso Bar
Roasters: George Howell/ Terrior

Details for Terrior: (here)

Country: Kenya
Farm: Kangunu Mill
Altitude: 5600 ft
Varietals: Bourbon SL 28 and SL 34
Harvest: 2009
Rainfall: Low to moderate
Production Method: WashedBittersweet Chocolate | Raisins | Blackberry | Black Currant | Plums


Monday Morning Manic Muffins

This will be my warp-up "from the weekend, and if you missed any news from the previous week" section for all things coffee.

I must admit, I used to go to Manic Coffee every Monday morning - post run. Where we'd catch up from the weekend and start our weeks off with a good rundown/layout of events ahead.
Manic became our "go-to" spot in the neighbourhood - a meeting place where we'd bump into friends more often than not.
But that ritual has not happened since last year.

Here's my tribute to one of the best morning combos in the city:
the buttery moist lushish Berry Muffin paired with Americano (BlackCat - Intelligenstia style).

What you missed from last week:
  • Discussion about COLD BREW/JAPANESE style brewing: (here) (twitter discussion)
  • Grumpy opens up 4th location in Lower East Side (pictures)
  • Handsome Roasters (3 former Intelli employee.. you know them) FIRST roasts (via Oliver)
  • Just a bunch of big names in NYC last Thursday (NBD)
  • July 5/6 - Can. Central Barista Champs need volunteers (email) more bodies need!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Home Brew: Kochere (Ethiopian Yirgacheffe)


Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Kochere District
Roasters: Caffe Pronto
Located: Annapolis, MD

Method: V60
Weight: 29g/350g
Brew: 32s/4:01s

Verdict: Black Tea with soft lemon flavours. Bright and refreshing mouthfeel - almost like eating a spring of mint, but with great aromatic flavours filling your nostrils. It was definitely delicious. I'll have to brew this as a Cold Brew and/or Chemex and report back.

On my recent trip to NYC, I made a detour over to visit Sammy from Keffa Coffee. We met in Toronto during Detour/DH/Keffa Coffee event featuring Ethiopian Coffee. The full write-up is happening, the NHL playoffs have been keeping me occupied.

On our last stop of our Espresso Adventure in the MD, DC area was to Caffe Pronto. You might have heard the name if you were following the SCAA.
Andy Sprenger took home the US Brewers Cup - and will be competing with the likes of James Hoffman from Sqaure Mile in Masschrict, NL. I've personally been to Masschrict for their marathon last year, and it's the vacation destination of the Netherlands. With it's spot located in the southern most region of the Netherlands, the charm of cobble stone roads and the friendly dutch will be a great experience for the event.

Sammy provides the green beans for Caffe Pronto and has quickly developed a great relationship with other preeminent roasters in the US and Canada. PTs, Counter Culture, Social Coffee and Detour to name a few. He's a great guy - so when he insisted that we visit Andy - there was no argument on my part. (to be cont...)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Common

The Common
Address: 1071 College Street
Neighbourhood: Little Portugual
They don't need a webiste.

The Common has been a spot that I've been recommended on good word from West-enders - and they live by their cafe. With the many neighbourhoods starting to embrace redevelopment/change or new businesses popping up and trying to charm locals. The Common is part nieghbourhood hangout, social hub, and conversation start. The Decor is very simple, with no menu - so if you weren't familiar with any espresso based drinks - you'd have to ask the semi-friendly barista... Otherwise talk about intimidating. It's not just this location, but cafe culture and independent cafes have this intimidation factor to them - even though they're all super welcoming. Not only do you need to be confident in what you order, but also have to be comfortable in these tight shops. Many friends have felt stand-offish when joining me on Espresso Adventures... but they're okay when they go with myself.... What's your thoughts?
Finally able to actually document the location as we made the Saturday mid-day post ride refuel worth the efforts of doing the hills along bloor. There's something to be said about bikes and coffee shops. JetFuel, Dark Horse, Starbucks (ahem)....
Maybe bikers need a little pick-me-up....

There was wooden church pews located inside the cafe - and small tables that you can share - if you dont mind sitting with people studying away with their cue cards, or brushing up against the post park going moms. It's the community spot. But dont expect your drinks to be pushed out in 2 minutes - the baristas take pride in their craft - even if it takes slightly longer than other locations to get your drink out.
They usually offer a medium or dark roast for espresso - and pour in the hot water for your americanos - up to your specifications.
Prices are quite cheap - and it's so laid back, that you feel at home (instantly)

Friday, June 17, 2011

First Experience: b Espresso Bar

b Espresso Bar
Address: 65 Dundas Street East
              Located within the BOND Hotel
Neighbourhood: Downtown (Central)

b espresso bar has three location within the confines of Toronto. Starting their first shop next to George Restaurant on Queen St. East (near Church), it's customer base has really grown. Opening up two other locations - inside Bond Hotel, and RCM lobby seems like a good idea to change my outlook on automated hotel coffee.

b espresso bar - where the "b" stands for barsita, makes me wonder whether it's serving another purpose...filling a void in venues where traditionally coffee isn't prepared by a dedicated barista and flavours are quite lacking.

Downtown hotels - cater to visitors/tourists that have come to explore the city. What better way than to showcase classic Italian-style roasted coffees from local Classic Gourmet. Allowing guests to curb the big chain annoyance within hotels.

The Basics:
Machine: Faema E61
Grinder: Maikong
Beans: Custom Blend
Roasters: Rufino Espresso
Located: Concord, ON
Veridct: Smooth shot - with nice rounded body. Hints of chicory and a smokey taste. Chocolate throughout, and not high on the acidity level.

Pretty good for downtown Toronto. Should you visit the location on Queen - it's a different feel from the bond hotel lobby.
Plus you get to see inside of George's Restaurant... I always want to spend that extra little time to peer into their kitchen...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fahrenheit Coffee

Fahrenheit Coffee
Address: 248 The Esplanade
Neighbourhood: The Esplanade
website, @FarenheitTO

Opening the new space on May 1st - Sameer Mohammed and the COAG team use this space as a forefront to Toronto's indie coffee scene. If you're not familiar with Sameer's work, look no further than the early months of Sense Appeal, and last years Central Canadiain Regional Barista Championships (finishing 2nd) and moving onto the Canadian Barista Champs last fall.
His craftsmanship and attention is at the forefront of this shop.
Having noticed that his presence was lost from Sense Appeal - I went a knocking to see what he was up to, and I soon found out about the new space and the next project: Fahrenheit Coffee.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

BLD Restaurant

Address: 36 Toronto Street
Neighbourhood: Downtown (Financial District)

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner - not cafe.

While serving decent food near the financial district, located on the street level of Millichamps Building circa 1874, home of the original Excelsior Insurance Company. Famous Architect, Edward James Lennox designed the exterior fitting for a transforming Toronto during the booming times of the late 1800s. Historical in all context, it's a popular opposite to the interior of BLD.

Machine: Saeco
Beans: Dark Italian roast from Cafe Madeline
Verdict: High Acidity - typical of Stale Beans
Please PASS, 
 KEEP CALM, and Definitely CARRY ON.

What you will find: the space within the restaurant is well designed.
Modern Sleek.
Projector: classic films, and great artwork.
Too bad the food is okay, the coffee could be better.... 
and there is heavy competition for that Bay Street Buck

Hump Day Question: Aesthetics or Quality?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

NY: Van Leeuwen Ice Cream

Vanleeuwen Ice Cream
Address: 632 Manhattan Avenue (Bedford/Nassau)
Neighbourhood: Greenpoint, Brooklyn
Address: 81 Bergen Street
Neighbourhood: Boerum Hill, Brooklyn

website, @vlaic,

NYC is such a charmer with cafes being cafes, but they also know how to use space, and in a creative way. Food Trucks are a large part of Urban culture and we're glad to see Food Trucks come to Toronto this July (#FoodTruckEats) Good food on the go, makes a huge difference in the lives of native NewYorkers.
Spotted on Bedford Street were many Mexican/Taco food trucks, slinging out not the usual suspects of Chinese food (we see around Robarts), but freshly grilled and served straight up good eats.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday Morning Manic Muffins

Monday Morning Manic Muffins

This will be my warp-up from the past week to highlight news and comments for all things coffee.

I must admit, I used to go to Manic Coffee every Monday morning - post run. Where we'd catch up from the weekend and start our weeks off with a good rundown/layout of events ahead.
Manic became our "go-to" spot in the neighbourhood - a meeting place where we'd bump into friends more often than not.
But that ritual has not happened since last year, and i find myself on assignment around the city.... Mondays are a mental shake-up for me, where I adjust my week and prioritize projects.... to help me with this, I use the morning to review what I did over the previous week. Successes, disappointments, improvements... and outlooks.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Crema: Danforth (open for business)

New Player in the Eastside of the Don.
Crema (Danforth)
Address: 508 Danforth Avenue
Neighbourhood: The Danforth
website, @cremacoffee, FB

Geoff and the Crema team have been hard at work transforming the former sweets and bakery shop.The burgeoning boom of the Danforth has seen some action in recent months.
With Dolce Gelato, and Pizzeria Libretto coming soon - West-end favourites are trying to convince the granola/soul loving/big carrot buying  families - that they know food and food well.

Case in point, Crema Coffee Co. We thought we were going to see the third location inside of the Freshii on Spadina, but I guess that neighbourhood will have to wait, seeing as Dark Horse 2, SenseAppeal, Jimmy's Coffee were in high saturation. Just a little bit longer expected opening for 140 Spadina Avenue.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Fun Friday: Camera Lens Mugs

Camera fanatics, and coffee lovers should pay attention:

Buy the The Camera Lens Mug at the Photojojo Store!

This Mug was brought to my attention from @ending_start ...
Great way to recycle those broke lens that always get dropped/shattered.

If you get one - let me know!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Bulldog Cafe
Address: 789 Granby Avenue
Neighbourhood: The Village

Tucked away on Granby, it's not hard to see why locals try to hide this cafe, keeping it their little secret. It's good, and they know it.
Owner Stuart Ross started this spot when the convenience store posted their "for lease" sign, and this is how the village came to know its' coffee. Just a block away from Yonge Street, and around the corner from neighbourhood charmer's a local institution that attracts more and more followers.
Tight for space, as the narrow shop allows for 4 tables, and a bar that's almost 3/4 of the shop it houses an old school refurbished Manual Machine. Far and few of these - but definitely catches your eye upon entering the shop.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Featured Espresso: El Roble Espresso (Terrior)

Spotted: Mercury Espresso Bar
Address: 943 Queen Street East
Neighbourhood: Leslieville

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

NY: Blue Bottle Manual

Blue Bottle Williamsburg
Address: 150 Berry Street (N.6th and Berry)
Neighboruhood: Williamsburg

Borough Brooklyn, New York 
website, @bluebottlenyc (718) 387-4160

 Since breaking into the neighbourhood in 2010, the West coast staple brings a la minute grinding to each cup. Personalized care goes into every cup - but what impresses coffee geeks alike is the offering of coffee week to week.
Seasonal single-origins are available through drip and espresso on the re-mastered 1950 Faema Urania - one of the few manual machines within NYC.
The Vibe within the cafe is excitement, and curosity. As my friends have requested to visit this location - I take the opportunity to have something other than mainstay Hayes Valley Espresso Blend.

Monday, June 6, 2011

2011 World Barista Championship: Winner

This is obviously a late post,

Here's the final results start from 2011 WBC.


2nd Pete Licata, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (659.5)
3rd Matt Perger, AUSTRALIA (659)
4th Javier Garcia, SPAIN (631.5)
5th Miki Suzuki, JAPAN (629.5)
6th John Gordon, UNITED KINGDOM (613.5)

 Everyone should watch the video above of newly crowned WBC Alejandro Mendez:

First time that a coffee producing country (excluding USA) has won the title.

Great performance by all 6 Finalist. Top notch in Bogota:

First Experience: Broadview Espresso

Broadview Espresso
Address: 817 Broadview Avenue
Neighbourhood: Danforth (north)

Former location of an Adult Video and Mags store - it's transformed into a more subdued local hangout that you do not have to hide your face in fear of oschertization. Upon entering the location it's renovation were so stark and transformative. You wouldn't have imagined that the windows that allow in the bright sun were once papered up - and could turn into a cafe within this cozy neighbourhood.
How's the neighbourhood handling the influx of cafe/ hangout/ meeting spots.... Quite well I, given that Crema will be opening it's doors on The Danforth in a couple of days -- Broadview Espresso holds it's own.
Seriving coffees from Concord, ON - Classic Gourmet and Rufino line - keeps them on their toes, while creating a homey feel.
The cafe has great bar-window action, that wraps around the front, and scattered with small tables - great idea to pop in on a sunday afternoon.

The Basics:
Machine: 2 group Elektra Classic
Grinder: Mazzar
Beans: Rufino Espresso
Composition: Serveral Countries
Roasted: Rufino
Loacted: Concord, Ontario

Verdict: This double shot was pulled longer than my taste preference - not as tight as Domestique. Body was there but tasted almost ashy and surprisingly brighter than I remember. Almost served like a very small americano, quite possibly extraction time was longer than nomal.

This spaces is greater purpose as a neighbourhood joint, where runners or bikers in their spandex can cap off a workout with a couple of 'spro and enjoy it at one of the two outdoor "patio" tables.
Is it worth the walk north of Broadview ... I'll let you decide.