Sunday, July 31, 2011

DC: M.E. Swing

M.E. Swing
Address:1702 G Street NorthWest (17th and G)
Neighbourhood: Downtown Washington
website, @twitter, (202) 898-7899

Going through my one-day DC area Espresso Adventure, I realized I missed a location. After driving from Filter Coffee, we made our way to M.E. Swing (Iconic coffee house near the White House), where the history is captured in the wall hangings. Apologizes for misleading you on the group.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fun Friday; Long weekend styles

Celebrating 14th FINA Aquatics Championship in Shanghai, CHN... I reminisce about my time in SoCal last year, where we were up close and personal taking in the Pan Pacific Swim Championship

When I think of the upcoming Civic Holiday/Simcoe Day - it means 3 day weekend.
Middle of the summer, and almost an end to amazing weather. Le Sigh.
Throwing up a picture of my trip to the West Coast and SF.

Blue Bottle - Kiosk
Address: 315 Linden Street
Neighbourhood: Hayes Valley
website, @twitter, Tel:


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Featured Bean: Bisogno (Archive)

Bisogno Espresso Bar
Address: 61 Sherbourne Street
Neighbourhood: Lower Sherborune/ St. Lawrence Market
website, @twitter, Tel 416-301-7633

Recently going through some coffee archives and noticed that I did not post up my experience with Detour's Santa Clara. Realizing it's not available for purchase, it's still good to throw my thoughts about my experience over at Bisogno.
Always a line-up (pre 9AM) for drinks, it's not surprising that the condo dwellers have made it their morning ritual to descend here. If you notice the location - this was taken when there was still snow.
Experienced this SO espresso sometime in March.
Am I hinting that I want winter - heck NO. I'm enjoying this heat wave! Bring on the California Sun!
More Sun, More Sunscreen, More bronzing power!
Machine: La Marzocco GB5
Grinder: Mazzer Robur
Beans: Santa Clara, Guatemala

Composition: Single Origin
Roasters: Detour Coffee Roasters

Located: Dundas/Burlington, ON

Verdict: Sweet fleshy barlett pear notes, with traditional cocoa.

Can't wait until next crop!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Food for Thought: Drake Hotel

Drake Hotel
Address: 1150 Queen Street West
Neighbourhood: West Queen West
website, @thedrakehotel, Tel: (416) 531-5042

The Drake hotel is a hotbed for culture, arts and entertainment. With ample spaces to entertain guests, lounge to musical acts and wine and dine at all hours; it might be one of THE places to check in Toronto. Queen West'r apparently love to sleep-in, and they love their brunch. Why wouldn't Chef Anthony and "the Drake"culinary team create a Brunch menu fitting to satisfy our internationally inclined and locally focused approach to comfort food.

Hungry Sundays and a 30 minute drive over the bridge greets us with a heavy presence of "cool" - hipsters included.

The Basics:
Beans: Drake Hotel blend
Roasters: Fresh Coffee Network
Located: Toronto, ON

Machine and Grinder were not visible from our seating area - and the server was uncertain, and didn't come back with an answer.

Verdict: hints of cherry with cocoa and dashes of cinnamon. Earthy/herbal tones round out the mouthfeel. After the 3rd sip, flavours become flat. That's alright.
Brewed coffee: smelled like burnt tires - a heavy body. needed additives to spruce up the mix.

FOOD: Lumberjack! 3 Eggs - O/E, Crispy bacon, pancakes. Thanks Drake for filling me up. Wish I gotten a photo of the chicken and waffles (southern style) but Drake does food right.

Missing out on Brunch: Go and visit their smoke house next to the general store. Drake is taking up the block and killing it wherever they go. Will we see something in the East end? probably not. That's why we travel.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

DC: Peregrine Espresso

Peregrine Espresso
Address: 660 Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast
Neighbourhood: Capitol Hill
website, @twitter, (202) 629-4381

Coming to an end to the DC tour meant we would end up at Peregrine. Opening in 2008 (former spot of another Murky Coffee location) is located in the pristine neighbourhood in Capitol Hill where the streets were unbelievably clean. Eerie to a point that I felt as if I was in Singapore. THAT CLEAN! Sammy made sure we got a chance to make it before heading to Cafe Pronto.

Monday, July 25, 2011

M^4: Pleasent surprises

MONDAY MORNING MANIC MUFFINS! (just in case you were wondering what M^4 meant)

Hope everyone cooled down with the heat wave. For some it was a shock to their system with upward of 100F/40C temperatures - similar to the insides of a kitchen... but it's now cooled down.
At least we have seasons here.

Wrap up of what was making coffee headlines this week:
  • Randy Hogg from Bridgehead takes the ERBC over in good old QC
  • reporting of an event on Aug 4th: Cafe Grumpy in Park Slope.
    (Art from Origin) ART SHOW and COFFEE, fused together? #ifonlyIwasinNYC
  • Video of Coffee Common's First public event in London - Prufrock

  • Coffee Common at Prufrock from Coffee Common on Vimeo.
  • Looks like good times!
  • Got in 5 different coffee from Fratello in Calgary, this week will be cuppings and tastings.
More adventures prior to the long weekend - Civic styles!

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    Chill with ERBC; and more beans?

    Eastern Regional Barista Competition is happening this weekend in Quebec City.
    Thinking of live streaming? Here is the link:
    Drink your Iced Mocha and watch the stream to cool off this weekend.
    Enjoy! I know Ill be having a relaxing weekend playing with some coffees that just came in from Calgary.
    Prairie Regional Barista Competition happening August 5-6 at Fratello.
    Enjoy the weekend, maybe go out on an espresso adventure!
    For more information check out:

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    Fun Friday: Weekend getaways

    Northeastern coast is experiencing some melting temperatures as of lately.
    Highs of 38C/100F, but with Humidex we're reaching 48C+, 118F+. INSANELY HOT HOT HOT!
    This is what it must feel like in the deserts, or India/Africa.

    Here's a nice way to say: Enjoy your weekend.
    I'll be parked near a pool or lake (haven't decided), and drinking some Iced Americano/ Cold Brews.
    Cranking up the Air Con Unit and being a hermit during peak sun times.

    How will you be beating the heat?
    (after the jump, find out more information about exciting coffees ahead)

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Cool OFF with ICED Drinks: T.A.N. Coffee

    T.A.N Coffee - Baldwin Village
    Address: 39 Baldwin Avenue
    Neighbourhood: Baldwin Village
    website @tancoffeeTO, Tel: 647-352-8550

    Do you have a weekly meeting with your friends?
    Sort of like when the cast of friends would meet up at  Central Perk?
    How do you keep in touch with them.... over coffee and patios.
    We decided to keep it central enough that we'd have the best of both worlds. Quiet and quaint enough to relax on a patio but close enough to the bustle of the heavy traffic.

    On a day like today - with the thermometer reaching 38 degrees celsius - for my American friends - that's 100F
    (COOL yourself off!)

    Ordered a SHORT ICED Americano. (I'd say slightly watered down double espresso with a bit of ICE)

    The Basics
    Machine: Nuova Simonelli
    Grinder: Mazzer Robur
    Beans: Current Espresso Blend
    Composition: 65% El Salvador COE, 35% Coloumbian COE
    Roasters: T.A.N. Coffee
    Located: 992 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON

    On this visit, we were able to chat about the Toronto Coffee scene and met one of the roasters for T.A.N. Thanks Justin for giving us a run down of your coffee menu, and espresso blending philosphy. Looks like the next blend is going to be good.
    Want to know what that's about? Go check them out.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Food for Thought: Gayley's Cafe

    Gayley's Cafe
    Address:1424 College Street West
    Neighbourhood: Little Portugal
    website, @twitter, Tel: (416) 538-3443

    Visiting the West is usually a task that I often enjoy - part of the exploration of food, friends and good times. Part of the food for thought will chronicle the joys of espresso through establishment more recognized as restaurants.

    Continuing down this road is Gayley's. Neighbourhood charmer that fits about 8 small tables - but comfortable enough to enjoy your meal. Nice bay window to view passer-bys and take in the sunlight. A counter full of goodness in baked format, and a wall with 10 different coffee beans available for purchase.
    Freshly prepared meals is what drives their menu.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    DC: Chinatown Coffee Company

    Chinatown Coffee Company
    Address: 475 H Street Northwest
    Neighbourhood: Chinatown
    website, @twitter, (202) 559-7656

    Driving through downtown Washington was a throw back into the fusion of American architecture and modern design. Not only were the office buildings relics of the 1950/60s, but the streets felt like freeways. Letters and numbered streets makes it easy to navigate.
    As we rolled along with traffic, the typical archway into Chinatown signalled our arrival

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    M^4: Summer scortcher.

    This past week saw discussion about the following topics:

    Friday, July 15, 2011

    Fun Friday: going to Te Aro's Cupping

    How will I spend today, as a kick off to the summer weather?

    at Te Aro (Queen and Pape) for their weekly Friday Coffee Cupping.
    Starting at 1230pm.
    Don't be late.
    New coffees

    SOoooo, news articles will probably be about Harry Potter's latest release, but Ill spare you the end result.... As you'll have read the multiple review about whether to go out and watch it....

    Do it to keep the series alive, and to see the trio-one-last-time.

    Come down and introduce yourself, maybe we can chat a bit about coffee.
    For more information check out:

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Seven Grams

    Seven Grams Espresso Bar
    Address: 131 Avenue Road
    Neighbourhood: Yorkville
    website, @twitter, 647-351-1317

    Watching the Yorkville area transform into a cafe cultured location seems unwarranted. This is definitely an area where you'd love the clientele if you could attract them to stay. Seven Gram has re-designed the space on Avenue into a coffee haven, mobile office space, and third-party meeting hub (consisting of a plethora of tables in the lower level).
    Using the entire building, the high ceilings create a spacious surrounding as you enter into the shop. Beautiful designed decor would be an understatement. They have clearly put a lot of thought into the details, not sparing anything from the logo to clean aesthetics.  it's everything that Yorkville embraces. Details, details, details - especially coffee.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    Food for Thought: Bar Centrale

    Terroni's Bar Centrale
    Address: 1095 Yonge Street
    Neighbourhood: Rosedale/Summerhill
    website, @terrioni, 416-504-1992

    Terroni is an Italian restaurant, focusing on quality dishes. They have several restaurants/ bars under their umbrella with 5 locations in Toronto and 1 in LA it's a mini chain in our books.
    This newest location, is where you want to go for small plates recommended for sharing - similar to tapas style. Not only has the brand embodied some Italian-Canadian nuances, but inside the atmosphere feels like a train station hangout spot. Which is a good thing, as it's located in the neighbourhood of the historic Summerhill Station. It's philosophy is creating a space where the focus is on the enjoyment of flavours - whether it be in food, drink or company. This is a location where, the more the merrier. Make no mistake - they don't take reservations, but you can get a table if you show up at the right time.(more after the jump)

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Coffee belt

    NY adventures will have to wait til next week! Or this afternoon.

    Question: What are you really enjoying right now?

    SO, blends! Espro?

    What if we in NA could cultivate greenhouse coffee beans?
    Is this even possible?

    Let me know in the comments.
    For more information check out:

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    M^4: July 11th, 2011

    News wrap-up from the previous week if you weren't aware, there was some great stuff happening.

    • Canadian Central Regional Barista Champion + Coffee Expo (July 5th - 6th)
    • Geoff Woodley crowned as regional champion. Full Results here
    • TEDGlobal happening in Scotland this week Coffee Common is there
    • Crafted by Te Aro turned One this past Saturday.
    More exciting news coming up soon, about special events - showcasing Roasters from around!

    I challenge everyone to keep a Coffee Journal for the 5 days, I'll show my notes on Friday. On Saturday I'll include what other readers choose to note/not note for the work week. A totally coffee geek fest, but loving why and what we do it for.
    The sweet sweet caffeine.


      Saturday, July 9, 2011

      Alice in a Haze: Wunderland

      Wunderland Art Gallery and Espresso
      Address: 1905 Queen Street West
      Neighbourhood: The Beaches (or officially "The Beach")
      website, 416-698-4634

      Summer is here, and it's a lot easier to motivate yourself to go out in the early brisk mornings for the jog around the block. Since the spring months, I noticed the newly painted house near Woodbine and Queen, but never gave it more than a quick glance.
      "Wunderland".... with the Cheshire Cat eyes - seemed magical, with cobble front courtyard. It seemed like a new store front/ art gallery for the beaches.
      On an evening run recently I noticed it was actually an espresso bar, but how could I just stop in for an espresso and continue the run - well, I could have but that just seemed - cafe faux-pas.
      (read after the jump of my non-sweaty experience)

      Friday, July 8, 2011

      Fun Friday: #YesEqual

      If you weren't aware, or over at

      Here is the post, Aaron Blanco response. #YesEqual.
      The website asked for support on this matter, and they got some awesome twitter action.

      Post Barista Competition yesterday - meant a trip to Fahrenheit's Sameers:
      while there, it was a coffeegeekin moment, and this video was shared from Matt (Manic Coffee). Josh (Level Ground), Cliff (Bridgehead), and got to chat with Elizabeth (COAG). Great way to spend a Thursday afternoon.

      ENJOY THE VIDEO... (sometimes this is me - going into the shop... -_-!!)

      Thursday, July 7, 2011

      Feautred Beans: Detour Kenya Ndimaini

      Spotted: CCBC 2011
      Roasters: Detour Coffee Roasters
      Beans: Ndimaini (Auction Lot)
      Origin: Kenya
      **ONLY available for the next 1.5months**

      Verdict: Juicy crisp (just out of the fridge firm) orange, with that currant/raisin taste that's refreshing. A classic Kenyan that was super clean and hit the nose with aromatic pleasures.

      **Wonder how this will taste in a Chemex brewer or Aeropress**

      Roasters Notes: Mandrain, and Black Currant.
      SL28 and SL34
      1700-1950 M

      Loving K's Custom built  Brew Bar, the simple design sitting on top of the reclaimed wooden bar - fits in with Detours vision. The Brew Bar was outfitted with the Kone filters and V60s.

      Geoff (Lead Roaster) placed 1st in the Central Regional Barista Championship
      Kaelin (Owner/Roaster/Mastermind) placed second in the first Central Regional Tasters Cup.

      Wednesday, July 6, 2011

      2011 CCRC: Day 2 Report

      Barista Champion has been crowned. It was a tight race, with 10 points separting the top 2.
      Full Results:

      1. Geoff Woodley - Detour Coffee Roasters (Detour: SO Guatamelan Finca El Limonar)
                                                                    Milk chocolate, Raspberries
      2. Sameer Mohamed -  Fahrenheit Coffee (Te Aro: SO Kenyan Kandara)
      3. Tyler Mastantuano - Te Aro (TeAro Brazil Fazenda Delarisse)
      4. Alex Castellani - LIT Espresso (Stumptown - SO Ethiopian Duromina)
                                 Red fruit and intensely floral aromatics open the floodgates for a dynamic coffee filled                               with raspberry and Asian pear flavors with a smooth, buttery finish like a macadamia.
      5. Matt Songberg - Independent (Social - Ethiopian Sidamo Ardi)
      6. Kate Fraser -     Cafe Pyrus  (Reunion Island - Cannonball - Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, Peru, Columbian)
       **Great to see 5 out fo the 6 finalist using local GTA roasters**

      Tasters Cup:
      Laura Perry from Bridgehead (Ottawa, ON) stole the show, laying it down against Kaelin from Detour Coffee and Matt from Manic.

      Quick post, with more details to come.
      Thank you to everyone that helped to pull off the expo. Great 2 days of Coffee, competition and great conversations.

      For more information check out:

      CCBC: Day 1 Report

      2011 Central Regional Barista Compeition and Coffee Expo

      (just happened that Alex was on stage with his Sig drink: Red Eye- during my brief visit)
      (Full list of finalist after the jump)

      Tuesday, July 5, 2011

      Results: CCBC (Prelims)

      Rough notes from CCBC (Please excuse incorrect information)

      10AM      Tyler from Te Aro Roasted (Brazilian Direct Trade)
                                  signature drink: Siphon + caramel + espresso (in a long shot glass)
      10:45AM Sameer from Fahrenheit (SO Kenyan Kandaru) Roasted for 14 minutes.
                      First sip: Bright, 2nd sip: Citrus Sweetness.
                      Sig Drink: extracts, Espro, Whipped cream, cherries
      11:15AM Juilian from Jimmy's Coffee
                      Sig Drink: Espresso Martini Orange zest chocolate cream reduction (cf Aussie candy called Jacker)
      11:40AM Richardfrom Good Neighbour Cafe (BlackCat: Brazil and Panama)
                      Sig Drink: Caramle Gelato, Jamican Ginger beer, and Matcha + espro
      12:10PM : Richard
                     Sig Drink/espro looked interesting ; Over ice and an icecream sandwich?
      12:40PM    Matthew  - Independent      (Ethiopian )
      1:00 PM: David from Wunderland (Rufino Iconti/Superbar)
      1:30PM: Alex from LIT ( Ethiopian Farm)
                    Sig Drink: Red Eye two different roasts)
      2PM: Katrina
      2:30PM: Thomas
      3:15PM: Chris from Te Aro (Panama, and Sidamo - Elevens?)
                    Sig Drink: Sparkling Iced Americano
      3:35pm Robert from Dark Horse
      4:10PM Thomas from Cafe Pamenar
      4:30PM Brad Sig drink but definitely has some syringe action happening

      I wasn't able to view the rest..... =(
      5PM Onwards: Cynthia, Dale-Jay 
                              Geoff.. from Detour

      This is definitely an incomplete list, will update tonight

      LIVE: CCBC 2011

      Looks like the Central Canadian Barista Championship and the kick off to the Regional competitions are underway to help to crown our national barista champ on Oct 3, 2011 - in Vancouver.

      Located: St. Lawrence Market
      Time: Today 9-5, tomorrow 9-5pm.

      LIVE Streaming available through ustream

      Get in on the action!
      ***shhhh: Barista Party at 8pm over at Merchants***

      Hope to see some of you around this afternoon.

      NY: Cafe Grumpy (Park Slope)

      Cafe Grumpy
      Address: 383 7th Avenue
      Neighbourhood: Park Slope
      Borough: Brooklyn
      website, @cafegrumpy, 718-499-4409

       A visit over to Prospect Park, meant that I'd be able to see what's happening at the narrow location of Cafe Grumpy in Park Slope. Literally less than 10 minute walk from the lushish greenery, I was treated to a hand poured cup using a Kone Chemex Filter made by Coava Coffee. As I approached the exterior of the unassuming location, I spotted a couple sitting on the bench outside, enjoying their Iced Drinks. It's been quite the swelter in NYC with temperatures reaching 27+ degree range (80ishF), but the rain has also made the days not so enjoyable.

      Monday, July 4, 2011

      M^4: July 4th edition

      Spotted: Manic Coffee
      Beans: Black Cat
      Comp: Brazil and Panama
      Roasters: Intelligentsia
      Located: Chi-town, Illinois

      Happy USA day, (Independence/ non monarchy/ 4th of July - Fireworks)

      Let's run down some articles that were making waves:

      1) CCBC: July 5-6 at St. Lawrence Market
      2) Brown Coffee Co. (NY state laws legalized Marriage between same-sexed partners)
      The twitter comments comparing natural law versus human laws....
      3) Guatemala COE being cupped for auctioning... (Via James Hoffman
      4) TED Global announces roasters for the July meeting in Scotland. Coffee Common is there;
      Hasbean, St.Ali, Square Mile, Taf, Ecco, Gimmie, Koppi, Waterloo Tea.

      Happy Espresso Adventures
      For more information check out:

      Saturday, July 2, 2011

      Featured Espresso: Diablo

      Spotted: Fahrenheit Coffee
      Address: 248 The Esplanade
      Neighbourhood: The Esplanade
      website, @FahrenheitTO

      Leading up to the CCBC made we think of some compeitiors from last year. First person that popped into my head was Sameer. Had a pleasant ride to his shop, and was seriously hoping to get some Diablo action. To my luck; Diablo was in the hopper; score!

      Beans: Diablo
                Brazil Farenda Delariasse, Columbia Huila Finca La Triuna
      Also:  Kenya Kandara and Ethiopian Sidamo
      Roasted: Te Aro
      Located: Leslieville, Toronto, ON

      Friday, July 1, 2011

      Central Canadian Barista Championships (CCBC) + Coffee Expo

      Attention local Coffee heads, geeks, and fans

      Central Canadian Barista Competition & Coffee Expo 2011 is descending upon us in Toronto.

      Tuesday July 5th and Wednesday July 6th we'll see 20 Barista compete for the coveted title of Regional Champ, along with one of 5 spots at the National Comps held in YVR (Vancouver) Oct 2-3rd.

      What you'll need to know about the two-day event.
      Location: 92 Front Street East
                       St. Lawrence Market - North building

      TUESDAY July 5th - 9AM
      Barista Competition (20) - 9-5/6PM (competition schedule to be posted Monday)
      Latte Art preliminary round - 10-12 and 2-4pm
      Cup Tasters preliminary rounds throughout the day
      Barista Party at Merchants of Green Coffee - 8pm

      WEDNESDAY July 6th - 9AM
      Barista Competition - Finals - 11-3pm (top 6 competitors)
      Latte Art Milk and Soy Final Rounds between 2 and 4
      Cup Tasters Final Rounds between 2 and 4
      Announcement of winners 3:30(ish)

      Barista Competition:
      Each competitor must prepare and serve 12 separate espresso beverages: 4 espressos, 4 cappuccinos, and 4 "signature" drinks of their own creation. Competitors have only fifteen minutes to prepare all twelve drinks and are judged by a distinguished panel of local food and coffee experts.  The judges will assess various elements of the competitors performance, including station cleanliness, taste, beverage presentation, technical skills and total impression.

      Cup Tasters Championship:
      A showcase of a coffee cupper’s ability to demonstrate their speed, skill and accuracy in distinguishing the taste differences in specialty coffees.

      Each round consists of 3 competitors racing against each other and the clock (8 minutes)
      8 triangle set (3 cups) are placed in front of 3 (head-to-head) competitors.
      In each triangle, two cups are identical, one is different. 
      Using skills of smell, taste, memory and concentration, the competitor will try to identify the odd cup out in the triangles, in the shortest time possible. After eight minutes, the round stops and the competitor discovers how many correct done by lifting their selections to reveal whether or not it has a mark on the bottom of the cup.

      12 competitors compete in 4 heats (3 competitor s per heat)
      Top 3 competitors advance to the final round on Wednesday. 
      Competitor with the most correct selection in the least amount of time wins.

      More information:
      Coffees SponsorAll Coffee Roasters, We would love to get your support for the event.  This is a great event to feature your coffee and your company.   The sponsorship cost is $150 plus two coffees for the competition, 8lb of each coffee.   Please also provide the information and tasting note for your coffee submitted. For sponsorship please contact or  416-848-0718 x91 with your name, phone number, and company

      If you wish to volunteer e-mail:

      Hope to see you at the Expo