Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Featured espresso: yirgacheffe

Spotted: Rooster coffee
Roasters: Pilot coffee Roasters (formerly Te Aro coffee Roasters
Located: Toronto, Canada

Coffee: Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kochere

Verdict: Liz lemon pleasent, definitely on the acid side, but I adore it. Subsides and results in a nice Tea like mouthfeel. It coats your tongue and wishes you had more.
Tip: drink it in 3 sips.

What are your thoughts?

Live Video// Coffee Geek (Manual Pourover)

There is a whole community on Google+.

Come join CoffeeGeek with a LIVE hangout .

3:30PM PST (Vancouver Time) // 6:30PM EST (Toronto Time)
Here is the link to join

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

News Alert: Te Aro to become Pilot

Hello Toronto Lovelies.

Much adored Te Aro Coffee Roasters located in Leslieville will now be named Pilot Coffee Roasters

New Chapter?
FB, Twitter @pilotcoffee.

Update: Looks to be a brand separation of Coffee Roaster and Cafe.

Tasty Tuesdays

Ever try a coconut milk espresso-based drink?

You should try it!
Where: Academy of Lions
64 Ossington Avenue
Neighbourhood: Ossington (Village)/(Strip)

Machine: Elektra
Roasters: Fresh Coffee Network
Blend: still a guarded secret

Verdict: the coconut takes over the cappuccino, but if that's your thing: you'll love it

Monday, January 28, 2013

Coffices// thoughts?

From time to time I do enjoy setting up a Coffice: Coffee shop based office.

Here are some tips why this great world coffices exists:


Community and meeting new people. Meeting new people always provides me with new ideas, a different perspective at existing problems, or an interesting connection to a new person doing something awesome that inspires me. Today alone I met a top Skillshare teacher whose class I will now take, a sleep consultant, a publicist who offered to help with a project, and a wine consultant who recommended some bars.
To make the best out of your coffee shop days, keep a few things in mind:
Rotate coffee shops. Rather than going to the same coffee shop every time, switch it up, and avoid the stifling feeling of routine you were trying to avoid in the first place.
Buy something. Don't be a cheapskate nursing that one coffee throughout the day. Buy some stuff throughout the day, and tip well. Coffee shop workers are awesome, and they'll be awesome to you if you are a good customer. That hidden power plug will be revealed, an extra free refill will be given, an introduction will be made.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Clover Coverage?

Looks like even Bloomberg can't get enough of Starbucks Clover system.

Will it really revolutionize mainstream BUX coffee drinkers?

you can also enjoy the Clover at Crema (Bloor/Danforth.... or Junction now)
and Manic Coffee on College.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Opinions on year 3.... Happy belated

Espresso adventures is entering our third year, we've seen some good people go...and more offline experiences shared amongst our peers. But keep reading, I do urge you.

You've noticed that cafés are opening up almost every other week in Toronto (current home base). Yet there haven't been many Reviews of late. The team has scouted, tasted, and even compared notes, but few have made it to the publishing floor... Why?? Let me place some perspective: consistency.

As with the top 10 list for 2012, it's not necessarily about wifi options, seating, design... These are all bonuses, it's about quality and consistency!

We hope to introduce our readers to a couple of places each month, but it's getting tougher to report....

Please, can we have more consistency, craftsmanship, and genuine coffee sharing???

Espresso Adventures team!

Article: Hidden Costs of Coffee

Profit Margins....
Business Model.....

A Coffee shop is a business, and as all businesses start out to be - they must be profitable. I often hear  - "The coffee here (insert) is tooo expensive. I'lll stick to the double-double (referring to Canadians sweetheart Tim Horton's)" But this is my VICE, my choice....

Transparency is a great thing... soo Serious Eats did a great article about the cost of coffee with Erin Meister of Counter Culture.

A pound of coffee equals 448 grams. According to convention, most brewing methods take between 1.5 and 2 grams of coffee beans per ounce of liquid, which means your 10-ounce cup might require anywhere from 15 to 20 grams of coffee to prepare, adjusted to taste. One pound of the stuff, then, has the potential to yield about 30 10-ounce cups, when brewing with the absolute minimum coffee-to-water ratio. (Note: That probably wouldn't be the best-tasting coffee, though it sure would be more cost-effective for the shop owner.) More likely, factoring in waste and other considerations, a café might squeak 23 or 24 cups out of a pound of beans.
"Sure," you might be thinking, "but if they charge $2 for that 10-ounce cup, they're making almost $40 profit off an $8 bag of wholesale beans!"
In a vacuum that might be the case, but that money is by no means pure profit for a café. Besides the beans, there's the cost of the filter to use in the brewer (which itself costs money, plus electricity to boot); the water that passes through the grounds; the cup it gets poured into; the milk and sugar you add before your first sip; the lid you put on it to avoid spilling on your shirt; and the wad of napkins you snag before walking out, "just in case."
Yes, that 6-pack of beer ($13) for 6 x 473ml of deliciousness seems cheap, $1.33/10-oz cup
In comparison to coffee ($17 for 1 lbs. 448 g) results in $0.70/10-oz cup...

As our economies start to tighten their fiscal/budgetary belts it's no wonder we start to focus on the micro details as opposed to the macro.

Choose your battles.
Maybe that $3 Cup of coffee isn't your thing. It's not for everyone.

Full article here

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Catching-up// weekend edition

Weekends are a great way to enjoy coffee if you feel tied up during the week.
Headed down to Te Aro, and just enjoyed the bustling scene.

Enjoy the weekend!
Watch Big Central Barista competition, enjoy the hockey season beginning and love life.

Happy Espresso Adventures

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Fun Fact: see Seinfield

I'm not referring to the 90s hit appropriately named Seinfeld, following a group of 4 friends as they live life in NYC and talk about nothing....

I'm referring to "Comedians in cars getting coffee"

Looks like Jerry has made it again, signing for 24 more episodes to be online.
Online is the way to go.....


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Video: Sprudge's Prepfest "pop-up video"

This past weekend Prepfest 2013 occurred in Portland and Seattle.

Here is Lalia (Caffe Ladro) perform a mock competition routine.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Small Spaces // La Distrubance

When I went to NYC for the first time, I encountered many tiny shops. I'm talking: 10 Steps MAX.

We're talking Third Rail, Abraco and many establishments with no washrooms.
It took me a while to get used to this notion.

Then Toronto got. The Pocket (from Sam James, and Toronto was floored by how tiny a shop could really become.
Now with have La Distributire, Montreal QC - Take-out revisited.

via DesignTaxi, via Dieline

Friday, January 11, 2013

1: Mercury Espresso

Mercury Espresso Bar
Address: 915 Queen Street East
Neighbourhood: Leslieville

Congratulation are in order for Mercury Espresso Bar; topping this list for the second year in a row.

2012 marks the 6th year of this local charm, not only did they lose key members of the mercury team, sad to see Matt leave, but success in a different format - Manual Labour has been great.

They also started to make big changes.Switching out Madcap for Victoria charm BowsXArrows (run by former Mercury alum Amber Fox), keeping more Canadian content. Still pull Howell though.
To being the most consistent shop, serving drinks with passion, giving us different roasters, being the perennial shop in Toronto, I give Mercury the nod for top cafe.

They've also started to accept debit cards -- What a change!!

Thank you for reading, I swear to be better about posting in 2013!

Keep exploring and happy Espresso Adventures!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2: Te Aro

Te Aro Roasted
Address: 983 Queen Street West
Neighbourhood: Leslieville

Te Aro has had a really successful year.
Establishing and securing new direct trade relationships, trips to origin, roasting coffee for new accounts, we can sum it up as a great year.

Kicking things off was their showcase // espro-down of the top European coffee roasters they could get a hand on.
I've hand many memorable shots of espresso here, and I believe I will continue to do so. Their dedication to roasting and understanding their market just makes them a no-brainer among this list.

With the new Dietrich they've had more clarity in their roasts, able to handle all of their new accounts, and really keeps the cafe nice and warm. It was a struggle between the top 5 places on the list, but proximity, coffee availability and hours of operations played a bigger role.

Thank you for continuing to hold your Thursday public cuppings/Brew Methods, for being active in the coffee community, and just generally being a great place to have coffee.

Espresso Adventures

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

3: Sam James Empire

Sam James (Coffee Bar/Coffee Pocket)
Address: 297 Harbour Street, 688a Bloor St. West 150 King W (PATH)

Sam James opened up shop #3 in the extremely busy labyrinth of the PATH (Toronto's underground network). He's a game changer, taking on Timmie's and other "FAST" coffee chains. Yet, the suits have embraced his cups of espresso with vigour. Even accepting his Cash Only policy (to which I agree, but given our cashless society - pushes a fraction away)

Always a great place to sip on espresso in their iconic thick walled cups. Th holding the nectar of sweet, sweet espresso. Super impressed with no nonsense attitude of providing the best drink possible.

Enjoy your shot at any of these locations.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

4: Crema *Junction*

Crema - Junction
Address: 3079 Dundas Street West
Neighbourhood: (The) Junction

Quickly celebrating their 5th year (2013), Geoff has really pushed the model of consistency.
With the same machine, consistent training, and a passion that is passed onto the barista, it's only fitting the Creama jumps up the list.
Adding Detour, George Howell alongside 49th Parallel, really rounds out the selection.

With the Spadina location (located within Freshii) finally opening, and adding additional seating near the end of 2012. There is ample choices within the core. With four locations, this mini-chain is only just beginning.

The best place to find Epic Espresso in Toronto, hands down. Cheers

Monday, January 7, 2013

Best NEW cafe from BlogTO

BlogTO recognizes their readers picks for BEST NEW 2012 Cafe.

These do not include new cafe from previous existing big names.

Read more here: (link)

Some notable comments:
While these new cafes are reader selected, I dont agree that you can discount new locations of existing names (Dark Horse and Sam James to name a few), it's also based on reader's votes.

While we give a nod to these top 9 cafe, in no way does this reflect our feelings of new comers.

5: Farenheit

Fahrenheit Coffee
Address: 120 Lombard Street
Neighbourhood: St. Lawrence Market

Mr. Sameer and his merryman of barista found a new home and have flourished.

Step away from the market (St.Lawrence) and a stones thrown from the core - you see locals and suits gathering. With just a couple of seats and a stand-up bar located in the middle, it gets packed quickly.

Not to worry, these are professionals.
So much passion, resulted in 2 Top 5 finished in the regional barista competition, and a Top 5 place for the National one.

Go for the Capp and stay for the conversation.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Extra Reading: NYT

NYT gives an insight into the world of coffee, or more specifically coffee preparation.

The journalistic discoveries of those questions you've always wanted to ask the barista behind the bar, but were too scared to ask.

Happy Reading. (link)

Top 2012 (continues on Monday)

6: Capital Espresso

Capital Espresso
1349 Queen Street West
Neighbourhood: Parkdale

Thank you for keeping me coming out to the West end. As you know by now, I'm situated on the east, but that doesn't stop me from trying to squeeze another espresso shot from their newly installed Strada.

Excuse me, did we mention that their storefront is filled with large windows.... natural sunlight - come on in.

Consistency keeps me coming back.
Warmth of the shop helps me to sit and relax.
The no-nonsense embrace pulls my heartstrings to the West.

Capital - you rock!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

7: Dark Horse (Queen West)

Dark Horse 3: Queen West
Addy: 684 Queen West
Neighbourhood: Queen West.

Huge fan of Dark Horse, who celebrated their 6th year at the Broadview shop, opened up one more  shop this year. Taking over a former Oyster bar on John Street, they transformed the theatre district into a place where you can get away during the day.

Winning a battle to place a outdoor patio on the DH3, and continuing to pull Detour Coffee only seems appropriate to have DH within this list.

Unique design elements with their signature communal table, and you have a recipe for success....
Will we see a DH5? who knows, but if they can continue to replicate consistently pulled espresso, I think Toronto is ready to embrace.

8: Manic Coffee

Manic Coffee
426 College Street
Neighbourhood: College Street.

Manic is my go-to shop when I'm around the area. Not only did they continue their gelato program, but finished their redesign to be more efficient. Swinging the bar from the front to the side definitely made the endless lines-up more bareable.
Mind you, there is more seating, or is this my own illusion... 

They continue to pull the best Intelligenstia in Toronto, and their no wifi policy makes it a great spot to stay just for the coffee. Not only do they showcase artwork on the walls, their logo is kick-ass

Couple of staff changes, and the pending installation of the Clover, signals that Matt and his team continue to excel in the Toronto scene.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

9: LIT (College Street)

LIT Espresso Bar (College Street)
2 Locations: 221 Roncesvales Ave,
                      810 College St

Having been the only cafe to carry PDX's Stumptown in the early portion of the year, they've switched to new kids on the block (Pig Iron Coffee Roasters). Brother Sister duo continue to push us to taste, and taste we will.

The Family business is doing quite well, having recovered from closing up their in-house coffee bar within the Burroughes, their more focused then ever.

Different than hairbender, but with more attention to how their coffee is being roasted. It's this relationship between farm to cup that we should be proud that they took the plunge and started to roast for themselves.

Here's to continued success!
Top 10 (2012): Nine; 2011; Four (-5)

10: Pamenar (Patio friendly)

 Cafe Pamenar
Address: 307 Augusta Ave
Neighbourhood: Kensington Market
Phone 647-352-3627

Since opening in early 2011, Pamenar has
been great about serving great coffee from great roasters.

At first they served up Victoria, BC roasters Discovery Coffee. This was a delight given that they had something different from Toronto roast houses. They progressed to Social Coffee.

Great place to catch a quiet moment in their back patio, or soak up inspiration from their well designed narrow shop.

Welcome to Espresso Adventures 2012 list.

Top 10 (2012): #TEN;
2011: ---- 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year (2013)

Happy New Year!

It's been a busy year, and it's reflected in the frequencies of my posts, for that I apologize.
Figuring out priorities will be my goal for 2013.

I've had the pleasure working with some of Toronto's finest coffee roasters as well as being able to visit coffee friendly cities. More posts for these trips will show up, with more reviews of coffee.
Let's continue this for the new year.

This week, you'll finally see the list of Top 10 (2012) published (probably two a day) with more insights into the Toronto coffee culture. I'd admit there hasn't been many cafe reviews, but that will change as I get to posting new opinions and experiences.

We'll continue:
/Featured Coffee/Roaster (available at a shop)
/Cafe insights
/Source for coffee events
/Fun Fridays.

New to the line-up:
Quick brew tips
Equipment reviews
Potentially an interactive map.

As the title suggests I enjoy espresso, but I'm finding that I turn to other methods of late (drip, press, chemex)... I'm going to push my palate and experiences.

Thanks for your continued support.
Spread the word, and let's continue doing more Espresso Adventures together (virtually or in person)