Saturday, December 31, 2011

1: Mercury Espresso

 1. Mercury Espresso - GH/Mad Cap

Top location of the year goes to Mercury Espresso Bar.

Situated in Leslieville (yes, my neighbourhood) but focusing on pulling the best shot you'll ever have within the city, it wasn't a tough choice to include them in this list. What separated Mercury from all the rest was their willingness to try exceptional single-origins and many different brew methods, from Chemex to Cold brew pops.
Recently switching exclusively to George Howell Terroir Coffee company made all the coffee enthusiasts gleam with joy. Bringing BOSTON that much closer and giving us the opportunity to praise the roasters....

No small feat to have this superstar roaster, but if it wasn't for the constant education and willingness to push boundaries of conventional parameters we wouldn't be tasting the magic that is Single Origin craze.

Staffing at Mercury is top notch, I rarely have an off-shot, but there have been times, as we all can vouch as it's not entirely prefect, but 99% of the time it's magical moments for my taste bud.

Recently joining the rotation is Mad Cap - another roaster from the states that do coffee well - this is not to say that our local roasters are not living up to these two, but it's refreshing to have both of these companies under the same roof.

Last day you'll be seeing Matthew Taylor (one half of the Mercury Team).

Espresso Adventure wishes him well travels as he moves away from Toronto. The Coffee scene, the neighbourhood, the customers will all miss you.

If you are in the City come by Mercury and wish him happy travels as the all-star team of Neil, Ben and Matt will be gracing the bar.

Plus you can come and celebrate by drinking this amazing KENYAN coffee from George Howell.

Top 10 (2011) List:

Friday, December 30, 2011

2: Te Aro Roasted

2. Te Aro Roasted - Te Aro Elevens

Community Hub, Micro Roaster on site, Coffee Education, upgraded Espresso Machine, friendly staff and an amazing coffice space...

Those are just a few of the many reasons why Te Aro has been included this year.

Since opening they've really prided themselves on serving great coffee while creating one of the most welcoming environments in the city. Natural sunlight fills the shop, with ample seating, long communal high top counter and tons of patio space... what's not to like.

Serving their own espresso blend, while creating a new delicious (sweeter) blend this year, Elevens, really made the decision hard to only place these guys at #2.
If the spatial area doesn't make you smile, the design will make the smile grow.... Having that Kiwi charm has its' merits

While the coffee is spectacular, we only have the amazing roasting team to Thank: Andy, Chris and (Thiago)....
Early morning roasts instantly warm up the cafe as we head into the winter months...... roasting is tough to keep up with as they need to serve their shops (Te Aro and CRAFTED) plus the growing wholesale accounts within the city....

What's more is that they've created conversation about coffee. Created direct relationships with farms, and always upgrading their knowledge about preparing the best cup that they can....
From pushing their baristas to compete at the Regional Barista Competitions to judging a COE.... or even their weekly coffee cupping - owners Andy and Jess really have been pushing the bar higher and higher!!!
Top 10 (2011) List:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

3: Manic Coffee

3. Manic Coffee (and Gelato) - Intelligentsia Black Cat

Manic hits the critical peak of Top 3.
Recently renovated with a new kitchen, gelato display case and a rearrangement of the bar with the prospects of 2 CLOVER Machines, brings me joy and a smile to my face.
As many readers know - I used to frequent this establishment much more in the past due to location, and work purposes. In my less frequent patronage - I dedicated a section of my ritual.....
M^4: Monday Morning Manic Muffins... Seriously I will travel for these scrumptious goodies.

Having kept it's location as wi-fi free really allows the customers to focus on less on squatting (although you can still find regulars that will park themselves for hours -- hand up really high)

Now comes a new chapter:

Fresh, made daily on-site and just pure ingredients.
As you can tell from the photo, I wasn't quite sure what I should taste, so I ate them all.
Let's just say - the flavours were so PRESENT that if it wasn't for the cold temperature and texture, I could swear I was eating the real deal.
Manic will have the whole of winter to perfect their master recipes, but this is a winner for the WARMER months.

Not to be outdone, but MANIC is pushing out amazing TEA selection... Brewed to parameters to bring out the quality of the leaves and flavour profile that is an everlasting experience

Kudos to Matt and his quest to push for quality.

Top 10 (2011) List:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Lights: חנוכה

It's Hanukkah!
Festival of Lights.

Gmar chatimah tovah ("may you be sealed totally for good")

Sunday, December 25, 2011



Decoration by: Celebration Concepts.

Lovely, lifetime friend. If you want to know more about Christmas Tree decorations or any other festive holidays. Please drop me an e-mail and I'll pass on the information.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

4: LIT on College


4.  LIT on College - Stumptown Hair bender

As the only shop to have a direct relationship with Stumptown while bringing in Phil and Sebastien into the mix means that LIT is on fire this year.

Sending a top barista onto the Canadian Barista Championship pushes them to excel.

Thank you for always being so inviting, especially with random cuppings and constant conversation about amazing coffee.
Wicked Movemeber turnout


Just some of the coffee that guys shared.....
Always bringing out fresh ideas, and quality coffee....
Soups, Paninni's, Coffee Cuppings...

Quality events: Chocolate and Coffee pairing.
Wicked Birthday Parties and special events fill this space...

Let's be friends... and say, I dont visit the WEST as often as I should.... but College location makes an East-ender travel beyond the core... is bonus points in their pocket.

Keep pushing our curiosity for coffee knowledge.

Top 10 (2011) List:

Friday, December 23, 2011

5: Sam James Coffee Pocket

5. Sam James Coffee Pocket - Toi et Moi Cafe

Sam James has a massive following, is neighbourhood centric and believes in a no-nonsense way of approaching coffee.

Coffee Pocket makes the list because of the tight space and gets straight to the point. They're about preparing you the best espresso based drink.
No seats, washroom or any of those extras... Let's focus on espresso (for here - in cups) and the limited menu means -- straight up goods!
Love the space, reminds me of NYC.

Currently with 2 shops, (Sam James Coffee Bar and Sam James Coffee Pocket) with another in the pipeline- in the PATH. I'm giving my props to Sam and his efficient shops.

Precisely pulled shots, and rich caramel flavour, it's worth the walk, it's worth the trek, and I think the PATH will be all over the next chapter.


Top 10 (2011) List:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

6. Fahrenheit Coffee

6. Fahrenheit Coffee  - Te Aro  (Diablo)
Address: 120 Lombard Street
Neighbourhood: Downtown CORE
website, @FahrenheitTO Tel: 647-896-1774

Fahrenheit is the highest entry for new comers in the Top 10.
Having encountered Sameer at SENSEAPPEAL in early 2010 and being drawn into his passionate discussion of espresso, it's only fitting to include him amongst the top baristas in the City.

Having recently relocated his shop from the Esplanade, competing in the Central Regional Barista Championship and making an origin trip to Kenya... I'd say Fahrenheit customers are lucky his moved to a more TTC accessible location.
They even do all their in-house baking... SCORE!

The Details:
Machine: 3 Group Dalla Corta Pro 
Grinder: Mahlkonig grinder 
Beans: Diablo (Seasonal Blend) 
Composition: Guatamala Finca San Fransico Roasters: Te Aro Roasted 
Located: Toronto, ON

Specifications: 18g IN, 25g OUT. 
Verdict: Caramel, milk chocolate swirls of Joy.

Do they still have it in Diablo....?

Not anymore as Single-Origin....

Top 10 (2011) List:
6. Fahrenheit Coffee

Saturday, December 17, 2011

7: Dark Horse 3

7.  Dark Horse 3 - Euclid
(Detour Dark Horse Espresso)

Dark Horse makes the list because they're pulling amazing Detour and 49th at their three locations. Thoughtful in design and pioneer of the communal table, it's inclusion is based on their willingness to become neighbourhood centric.

Three locations seem to scream mini-chain, but it's not the case, as Euclid is my preferred location. Having built a custom slowbar for some Hario action with the many different Detour single-origin roasts...

Espresso Adventure says: More please

Top 10 (2011) List:

Friday, December 16, 2011

8. Capital Espresso

8.  Capital Espresso (Origins )

Parkdale.... What's up!
I admit the East/West divide prevents my logical notion to travel... but sometime the commute of  the city makes me go crazy!

Capital took over the former VICE Canada office and transformed it into a magical beauty where details from the bar to the back wall were carefully thought out.

What I enjoy best in design, are the hooks under the bar for your bags - essential on those rainy/slushy dats.

Ex-Mercury buddies teamed up to pull wicked shots.
Serving up Origins and Social Coffee Company... I'd bike out here just for an espresso....

Top 10 (2011) List:
8. Capital Espresso

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Festive Times

Distillery District does a wicked Christmas Market, and in the spirit of the holidays, many of our local roasters are coming out with Holiday Blends.

Te Aro is donating $1 from each bag sold to Coffee Kids.
"very seasonal Holiday Blend meant to evoke memories of family, fireplaces, sugarplums dancing in your head and mistletoe. Available only during the holidays, this coffee is a valiant attempt to cram as much joy and berries and mirth and spice into one cup as humanly possible."

Origins in our Holiday Blend:
  • Guatemala La Bolsa.
  • Colombia Huila Los Naranjos. 
  • Ethiopia Sidama Natural ARDI.
Taste Test: Aromatic, chocolate, Bursts of that Blueberry we are all too familiar... then hits with a spicy kick you in the teeth deal. Best served French Press!

Ode to #ilovesmdlr, Cup-UP... Street Version.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

9: Crema Coffee

9. Crema Coffee (49th Epic Espresso)

This year Crema opened up two new establishments.
Danforth edition, and the much anticipated 4th location Downtown. Crema @ Richmond and Spadina.

Now how do you distingush between the different location?
2 are located with Freshii, a great partnership and an ability to expand within that franchise... it's only going to grow.
The original: in the Junction is the local hot spot.
The Danforth edition! East v. West divide, different cultures with Toronto means that the inviting pockets of neighbourhood will start to play a more prominient role as we head into 2012 for this local chain.

As an avid east-ender, I'm really glad that they took over the Sweet Tooth shop, an established cafe was much needed!
TOP place in Toronto to get West Coast 49th Parallel.

How do you feel about Crema?!
Synesso..... WHAT!!!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

10: Cafe Pamenar

10.Cafe Pamenar  - Discovery Espresso (Seasonal)

Opening up in Kensington is an ex-pat of Victoria, bring the west coast flavour through the introduction of Discovery!!!

Pamenar breaks into the top 10 as it melds design, seating and that light roasted characterization of Victoria. Sleeper town of the west, but filled with roasters, kinda wish it wasn't that far...

Come into the shop during the summer months and you'll be pleasantly surprised with ample seating, a nice breeze and all the pleasant smells from the Market.

Come during the winter - sit at the communal table and take in the sounds of the cafe, as you enjoy your pannini.
Seriously, it's a spot I'd frequent in the Market.

 WELCOME to the start of Espresso Adventures Top 10 for 2011.
Keep checking as we count down to the fav spot in Toronto.
Post comments if you agree/don't agree....
Compare notes, tasting notes and more!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Top 10 (2011)

Espresso Adventures has had a very good year being able to travel outside of Toronto and immerse myself within the coffee haus of the world.

Having started this desire to see life through the lens of good coffee, my travels are now centred around visiting top establishments or well-known cities/towns/villages that have a rich history in Coffee.

Long gone are the days I desire to be sitting beach side (well, half truth). Now I say that we break-free from the confines of our imagination and start exploring.

TOP 10 LIST for 2011 is about to be published!

Keep it locked, as you'll be seeing the entire list unveiled for the rest of December.

Those that were included in this list is quite subjective, and only had to meet the requirement of my 5 minute brainstorm of cafes that popped in my head - most memorable.

From that short list - 10 cafes were chosen based on atmosphere, music, and the top concern: espresso.


Friday, December 9, 2011

FUN FRIDAY: Childhood

Mr. Dress UP.
Took a tour of the CBC building and thought it'd be nice break from daily routine to kick it into high gear, and went down memory lane with a look at my childhood.

HA, not really coffee related, but it's going on the same topic of yesterday, with the STOVE TOP!

I hope it starts to Snow soon - but of course I'm hoping for just below zero (ideal is -2). I'll take snow anyday over rain. Going on a weekend warrior trip - a la childhood "get in the car an go" - kind of ordeal. Where will the road take us... or I mean gas prices.

How will you be spending this weekend?

Remember to make it an Espresso Adventure.

Thursday, December 8, 2011


You'll be getting more photo short posts for the next bit, as I prep my top 10 List for 2011.

Also really trying to embrace the holiday spirit. (taken a couple of days ago)

Bringing back the stove top?

Wanted to bust out the stove top, feeling like the regular is making me stagnant....

What are your thoughts of stove tops?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Morning muffin from Fahrenheit coffee
Banana chocolate chip with spices.

It so moist and delicious I could bike there again and get another one.

All baked good and done in house.
Working early, got the v60 out.
Enjoying some Yiragheffe from Detour.

Such a fabulous pair!
More more
Happy espresso adventures

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Diner Mug

Spotted: Te Aro Roasted
Drink: Americano
Beans: Elevens Espresso Blend.
Blend:(Seasonal) fully natural processed Brazilian with a combination of two very fine fully washed coffees from two different regions of Ethiopia.

Verdict: Citrus burst of Love.

What I loved best about this visit was sitting at the bar, taking in the hustle and flow, as we watched the barista do their magic (aka love for coffee)

*contributed: K.Zygnaiuk*

Monday, December 5, 2011

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Featured Espresso; Konga

Coffice Time!

Decided that with December rolling in, I should get back into the Featured Espresso Posts. You'll be seeing more frequent posts...let's keep my accountable.

Spotted: Mercury Espresso
Farm: Konga Co-op
Origin: Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia
Roaster: Terrior Coffee/ George Howell
Located: Mass (close enough to BOS)
Verdict: blast of bright berry, with pleasant tartness of raspberry, hints of tea/floral sense
Will I be back: definitely mate!

Breaking: Will we see the end to co-op coffee in Ethiopia?? (sprudge)

*Contributed by: K. Zyganiuk*