Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Food for Thought: Blake House

Blake House
Address: 449 Jarvis Street
Downtown/the Village
website, @twitter, Tel: (416) 975-1867

Nestled on the historic street of Jarvis, steps away from Yonge Street and the Village, shines one of the longest historic building first established 1891. Designed by Knox & Elliot, housed the second Premier of Ontario the Honourable Edward Blake. (For my American friends - it's equivalent to Governors)
With a Front Patio, and ample choices for Brunch I was glad to get back to my old stomping grounds.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

NY: Oslo

Oslo Coffee
Address: secret Roastery location
Neighbourhood: somewhere in Williamsburg
website, @twitter, Tel: 718 782 0332

These NY food laws are very meticulous and zoning is "unique", Red-Tape, loop-holes.... who knows. But the Guys from Oslo were kind enough to direct me to their off-site roasting location.

YEAH, out in the middle of industrial land - thanks guys (light-hearted jokes aside). They operate their Probat out of a small space, but it works for John and JR. It's taken me a while to finally post up their secret location, and the barista are very good at protecting their privacy. Not everyone can name drop and collect phone numbers right....

Monday, August 29, 2011

M^4: Niagara Falls

This Past Weekend was a lovely trip to Niagara Falls. No excuses, it's Monday.

Here's a list of some big news from last week:
  • Coffee Collective hosted the Western Regional Barista Championships:
    Results are the following.
    1. Morgan Allen, Fernwood Coffee (Victoria, BC)
    2. Lauren Thu, JJ Bean (Vancouver, BC)
    3. Matthieu Archambault
    4. Greg Hanycz, Caffe motivo (Kamloops, BC)
    5. Tristan Bacon, Moja Coffee (North Vancouver, BC)
    6. Daniel Houghton
    Congratulations to Fernwood for taking the Regional title!
  •  Oliver Strand released his map of LA for the NYT
  • Hurrican Irene effects cafe scene in NYC? kinda/not really... (check
  • Nordic Barista Cup 2011 was in Denmark, Copahagen.
    Below you'll find the 25 minute video of Stephen Vick's lecture:
    Preserving Green Coffee
  • NBC 2011 Talks - Stephen Vick: Preserving Green Coffee from Nordic Barista Cup on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

LA hopefuls

When Mr. Oliver Strand posted on twitter that he was going to LA, there was a flood of suggestions.
I've yet to check out the scene, but I'm sure I'll have to stay down there for at least a couple of weeks.

For now, I'll leave vicariously through his full report.
Wouldn't it be amazing to visit all of these cafes....

View Ristretto Los Angeles in a larger map

Maybe sooner than I think I'll jet-set to LA.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fun Friday: Cafe Funnies

Apparently the C train is the worst in NYC.
Toronto; There is no Worst line, it's just a general hooplah.... yeah I said it.

This is the J Train - don't be confused, it's not the worst line - Promise.

I'll leave you with this photo taken from Variety Cafe in Brooklyn.
"B*T$H, where's my macchiato"

Where is my drink?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Featured Bean: Dernaye, Amaro Gayo

First Wager of 2.0!
In early 2011 there was much buzz about 3 gentleman jumped ship from roasters Intelligentsia. What were they going to do? Where would they go...

Here: Handsome Coffee Roasters - based in LA.

Just missed out on their first wager - but no worries, when they had more spots open in July for the second round... I made the commitment.

Here is their first roast, an delightful Ethiopian that's sure to have all of us bet-takers licking our lips.
This is my style of coffee.

Machine: French Press
Grinder: Hario Slim
Beans: Dernaye, Amaro Gayo

Origin: Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
Roasters: Handsome Coffee Roasters

Located: LA

Specifications: Handsome Forty Wager

Verdict: Yummy - lemon pop, and rainbows! (grilled orange rinds - that creates a pleasant essence that reminded me of my favourite cookie growing up)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NY: Bakeri

150 Wythe Avenue
Neighbourhood: Williamsburg, Brooklyn

website, @twitter, Tel: 718.388.8037

Finding those local charms is fair from easy, not only do you need to have a good insight, but recommendations from trusted sources is key. Sure, one can look up top 10 cafes in Brooklyn, but Bakeri may not be included. It really should. Located on the outer limits of Williamsburg, past all the industrial warehouses, but still within a good walking distance from the Metro is this cafe.

Monday, August 22, 2011

M^4: New Renos

New Renos have been completed at Manic.
(stay tuned for updates and photos of the new space)

Matt and his team have worked very hard, and I've been a bad patron.
There will be photos up within the next week.
(Still working on the Fratello piece and the rest of the Grumpy and Handsome reviews)

For now, know that Espresso Adventures is working hard. Working on some exciting news that needs to be finalized within the next month. On top of the weekly entries, Summer time has been eating itself away, and its' almost FALL....

Enjoy the other blogrolls --> and drop me a line on Twitter for more quick updates.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sunshine, Sidewalks and Saturday Star

Sidewalk Chalk Art outside of Mercury Espresso.

Triple S; Sunshine, Sidewalks and the Saturday Star

Spotted earlier this week outside of Mercury Espresso bar. Had to snap this photo. The chalk art evoked memories of simple childhood time, where you go outside and draw your favourite hop-scotch path, or some epic drawing, trying to use all the colours in your bucket.... Comparable to the masters of art, and aspiring artists.

Going through my photos, this one stood out and inspires me to stop in today to enjoy their amazing Terroir Coffee and appreciate the flavours, atmosphere and a top-notch neighbourhood cafe!

How are you spending this weekend?

Innovation starts with Creative Thinkers!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fun Friday: Reusable Jars

As most of the Loyal readers know, I'm a huge fan of Te Aro Roasted.
Love that they re-purposed jars with handles to hold their cold drinks.
Re-purpose Coffee Sacks for donations to the local school (Morse Street P.S)
Re-Purpose old wood to serve as their high top table.
Re-purpose the old garage into Te Aro....

You get the picture...
So my fun friday/weekend project will be to take photos of items that were re-purposed, recycled, and throwing it back into our ecosystem and not for waste.

Why don't you join me and post a link to your image in the comments?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Featured Bean: Burundi Micro-Mill

Coffee: Burundi Kinyovu Micro Mill

Origin: Single
Varieties: Bourbons
Region: Northern Burundi
Elevation: 6200 feet
Processing: Fully Washed / Sun Dried on African Beds
Harvest Season: Early September – Late November

"Straight from Fratello's website"
The Cooperative: Burundi is often referred to as “The Heart of Africa”, and rightly so. The people of Burundi have an amazing spirit, and have fully embraced their raw talent for growing and harvesting coffee.  The Republic of Burundi has been independent since July 1st 1962, and is a small landlocked country just under 28,000 sq kilometres. Their population is around 8 million people, 50% of which is under the age of 14.  90% of population relies on farming as their main source of income, and coffee is by far the largest export.   Coffee Farming and production has quite literally saved many of their lives.

Machine: Hario V60 02
Grinder: Hario HandGrinder Slim
Beans: Burundi Kinyovu Micro Mill

Composition: Single Origin
Roasters: Fratello Coffee Roasters

Located: Calgary, AB

Price: $15.20/ 12oz. (3/4 lbs)
Specifications: 22g (brewed 330g) 35s Bloom, 2:50 brew

Verdict: wafts of aromatic sweet cardamom, cinnamon and citrus chocolate. Acidity is strong, but there is this sweetness that coats your mouth - similar to drinking organic unfiltered juice.

I'd suggest this to some who like bold chocolate but enjoys a bit of sweetness here and there.
MORE from FRATELLO in the upcoming weeks!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Food for Thought: OK^2

OK^2 Diner
Address: 1039 Queen Street East
Neighbourhood: Leslieville
website, @twitter, Tel:(416) 461-2988

My trusted brunch-mate called me up on a Saturday mid-morning craving for food. Already having been up for a couple of hours, completed my daily exercise and brewed a fresh cup of coffee I happily agreed to meet up.
Driving through Leslieville was easy picking for a brunch place, as the neighbourhood has evolved into the brunch mecca this side of the Don River.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

NY: Gimme! more BK

Do you ever go on vacation, but try to maintain your workout schedule?
We really tried while in NYC, but sometimes there is just too much excitement that we couldn't wake-up before the blistering heat wave. The photo above is pre-run with my BFF - gets dragged along to Espresso Adventures religiously and is subjected as a sounding board.. you have one of those friends that you can always count on.... So we dragged our butts out of our rented apartment and went out to explore Williamsburg, BK.

gimme! Coffee
Address: 495 Lormier Street
Neighbourhood: Williamsburg, BK
website, @twitter, Tel: (718) 388-7771

Acquainting yourself with the neighbourhood during your holidays is the best feeling of discovery. Stumbling upon the cafe you were searching for last trip is even bigger bonus. First it happened with Oslo then gimme! We designed our route that we would run up to Manhattan Avenue and loop back towards Lormier. We weren't going for distance, more about exploration. Found some good street art, boutique shops to visit later, and a "White Castle" restaurant. How amazing.
Vibrancy is an appropriate word for the transformation of this once predominately Hisidic Jewish, and Latin community.
Vintage shops, independent cafes, condos, restaurants, popping up like a well-maintained plant.

Monday, August 15, 2011

M^4: Oh boy!

Monday Morning Manic Muffins have been slightly bleak lately, but it's because there are bigger projects currently in the works.

Round up of what happened last week:
  • Found off of; Gorilla Coffee Litagation gets thrown out (here)
  • Friends over at have been killing it with a slew of posts since the launch of the on-line zine. Spot-light on Grumpy.
  • Otherwise, just new coffees coming out - NBD
Bringing new materials and exciting stuff happening in the next couple of months. Looking forward to some partnership, and sipping all the Handsome Coffee that I currently have, and to share with my buddies over at

Friday, August 12, 2011

Featured Bean: Gethumbwini (Kenya)

Cafe Grumpy
Address: 4 Locations
Neighbourhood: Chelesa, Parkslope, Greenpoint, LES
website, @cafegrumpy, Tel: 718.349.7623

Featured Bean:
Farm: Gethumbwini Estate
Origin: Thika, Central Province, Kenya
Varietals: SL-28 and SL-34 varieltals 
Process: Washed and slow fermentation.
Dried: Raised BedsAltitude:1800 masl in rich red volcanic soil

VERDICT: As you break rinds of a grapefruit, the citrus oils fill the surrounding air, weakening your knees, falling to the ground. As you take in another sip, it's this tea-like finish that coats your tongue, and is rounded out by a familiar dark chocolate, thick heavy syrup aromas hitting your nose.

From the Roasters:

Pineapple, white tea, red grapefruit; molasses.
Abundant wildlife is found on the Estate and the farm members are educated about the importance of preserving these species which include snakes, hares, owls, weaver birds, hawks and hippos. Employees and their families are provided with a number of benefits including full medical care and schooling.
“Blind Assessment: Deeply sweet and deeply pungent with round, complexly rich Kenya fruit: grapefruit, black currant, strawberry, supported by an undercurrent of fresh-cut fir. Ringing, resonant acidity, syrupy mouthfeel, flavor-saturated finish.
Who Should Drink It: Simply a superb coffee, as grand as it is balanced and inviting, as fine with milk as it is black.”
-Kenneth Davids, 
Coffee Review, June 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Food for Thought: Mitzi's Cafe and Gallery

Mitiz's Cafe and Gallery
Address: 100 Sorauren Avenue
Neighbourhood: Roncesvalles
website, @twitter, Tel: (416) 588-1234

Brunch staple for the neighbourhood is definitely Mitizi's. Having two location quite close to each other talks volume about their following - not really a cult, but a fav spot to hit that brunch craving. Snagging a spot is harder than lining up for Harry Potter 7.2 tickets - and you'll know by the size of the line that starts outside the door.
The patio - opened in warmer weather - sure can fit a few, but the inside is where magic happens.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

NY: Birch Coffee

Birch Coffee
Address: 5 East 27th Street
              inside of Gershwin Hotel
Neighbourhood: Flatiron District
Borough: Manhattan
website, @BirchCoffee,Tel: 212-686-1444

Busting back to the New York Scene we arrive here at a mid-town location; Birch Coffee. From the outside it seems like an eccentric facade, with a deep red painted on the exterior and horns sticking out - I seem to have been landed on someones dream-like state. It's the iconic style that helps to make this cafe stand out. Where else in Manhattan can you say that your cafe resides in a building that has horns sticking out? 
Situated in the main lobby of the hotel, sits Birch Coffee.
Cold Brew, many different espresso types, and a nook for reading, perched up on the next floor. More of a library.

Monday, August 8, 2011

M^4: Prairie Regional Barista Champs

Round up of M^4 from last week:
Short but sweet, as I've been away for a handful of days, expect less posts on the weekend, while I ram up testings, events and other fun local stuff to do.


    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Fun Friday: Fratello preview; Prarires

    This weekend, Fratello will be the host for the
    Prairie Regional Barsita Championship, happening August 6th.
    Live stream can be found here.

    Heavy competition from the Alberta region; with favourites from local roasters Phil &Sebastian throwing their own in-house competition to find their best competitor.
    I'll be keeping a watchful eye on the internet.

    Last week the boys over at Fratello Coffee Roasters sent me a large box of Coffee - thru Fedex. After trying to delivery twice (both times I was away on an espresso adventures) I finally went to the main depot to pick it up.
    Getting the coffees over only took about 2-3 business days, and the roast dates were clearly labelled on all 5 bags.

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    West-End: Cherry Bomb

    Cherry Bomb
    Address: 79 Roncesvalle Avenue
    Neighbourhood: Ronsecvalle
    website, @twitter, Tel: (416) 516-8212

    Cherry Bomb has been an institution - taking over the reigns of this coffee sampling mecca known as Ron-Cees. A quick stroll away from Queen W& High Park it's ideal for those that enjoy the outdoors and family-orientated spaces.  Locals might commute here on weekends to taken in this neighbourhood filled with Polish/Ukrainian bakeries and wholesome eateries.

    A fan favourite of mine - Cherry Bomb, with its' in-house bakery makes me stop in my tracks to drink a cup of coffee.
    Be sure to sit at the window and people watch the traffic, or construction of the century - revitalizing Ronsecvalles...
    (more after the jump)

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    Food for thought: Hibiscus

    Address: 238 Augusta Avenue

    Neighbourhood: Kensington Market

    website, @twitter, Tel: 416-364-6183

    Seriously.... it's not only vegans and gluten-free seekers that come to Hibiscus in the market, everyone enjoys the wholesome freshly prepared dishes that come from the back of the kitchen.
    In my travels around the city - Hibiscus throws down the best value for quality dishes. Personally, I have a good handful of close friends who swear by this cafe - mainly vegans, but it's not to say it's only for "vegans". Not only is it animal-cruelty free, but it's tapping into that new market to combat the gluten allergies - it's running rampant.
    (talking about coffee after the break)

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Roasters: Caffe Pronto

    Caffe Pronto
    Address: 90 Russell Street
    Located: Annapolis, MD
    website, @twitter

    Located in some industrial area to house their craft - coffee roasting, this bunch of coffee geeks makes you feel at home. As you drive up to their roastery, it's serene chills go through you - because you've reach the home of the 2011 National Brewers Cup champion Andy Sprenger.
    To make this visit more exciting, we'd get a personal tour of the grounds and a peek into their laboratory.....