Brew City: Toronto’s Best Coffee Shops
Do you even brew, bro?
When it comes to Toronto’s coffee scene, the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’ With a growing java culture that rivals those of coffee hotspots like Melbourne and Portland, Toronto is serious about the art of brewing. Like any major city, you’ll always find your stock-standard chain shops for quick and easy filtered cuppas, but Toronto city dwellers are also keen to support local businesses – turn down any street and you’ll be sure to find a bearded gentleman weighing grounds or making a masterpiece atop a latte.
So in a city with so many options, how do you choose where to enjoy your coffee ritual? Well, it depends on what you’re looking for. To get you started, here’s a rundown of some of Toronto’s best coffee shops, straight from a local who has tried ‘em all.
For the perfect latte
679 Lansdowne Ave., baddiestoronto.com
No one does coffee like the Australians do, and Toronto’s latest import brings a bit of the southern hemisphere’s flair to the Great White North. Pair one of Baddie’s perfectly-poured lattes with fresh avocado toast for a tough-to-beat Saturday morning brekkie.
Neo Coffee Bar
For a flavour-packed matcha
100-161 Frederick St., neocoffeebar.com
Full disclosure, I’m not the biggest fan of matcha. But ask any Torontonian that favours the low-caffeine alternative to lattes and they’ll tell you the only place to go is Neo. Matcha connoisseurs flock to this minimalist space in the city’s east end because the baristas tend to pour in more of the good green stuff than other shops.
For brews to booze
1208 Yonge St. / 4 Boulton Ave. / 235 Queens Quay W. / 70 Temperance St., boxcarsocial.ca
The only thing better than a local spot that serves great coffee is one that serves great coffee alongside great bourbon. With four locations across the city offering up a rotating list of beans and booze, Boxcar Social is a laid-back spot where you can switch your flat white for whisky and wine once the clock strikes noon.
For gorgeous design
514 King St. E., odinhus.tumblr.com
You won’t be hard-pressed to find beautiful coffee shops in Toronto, but ODIN’s nod to Scandinavian design makes it one of the city’s favourite spots for a morning coffee with a side of eye candy. Located in Toronto’s east end and designed by local Phaedrus Studio, this java joint is architecturally impeccable from the sculptural front counter to the monochrome murals throughout.
For something a lil’ different
801 Gerrard St. E., hailed.ca
One of the newest additions to Toronto’s coffee scene, Hailed brings a different flavour to the café landscape with their fragrant brews and seasonal pairings of dates. For a truly unique experience, order the Arabic coffee – an aromatic blend of spices that includes a hit of cardamom (known as ‘hail’) and is served from a traditional teapot. All hail one of the best treats you’ll find in the city.
Bobbette and Belle
For your sweet tooth
1121 Queen St. E. / 3347 Yonge St., bobbetteandbelle.com
If the sweet aroma doesn’t lure you into Bobbette and Belle, the gorgeous French country decor surely will. Toronto’s favourite baking belles have created a space fit for a queen, with sweet treats piled up on pedestals along the front counter and feminine design touches throughout. Pop by either location for everything from freshly-baked cupcakes to macarons and ginger cookies, washing it all down with a latte the size of your head.
For that epic Instagram shot
1615 Dundas St. W., safehousecoffeeto.com
You know what they say: if it wasn’t Instagrammed, it didn’t happen. For those who hop from shop to shop in search of that perfect snap (and latte art) for their social feed, Safehouse Coffee offers up a creative shot from above with their “welcoming” tiled floor. Tasty vegan snacks here, too.
Sorry Coffee Co.
For the best cold brew
102 Bloor St. W., located inside Kit & Ace
If you’re visiting the city in the summer, you better be prepared for an inferno of humidity. Yep, Toronto’s icy cool winters are sharply contrasted by steaming hot summers, and the only prescription is Sorry Coffee Co.’s cold brew. Located inside Yorkville’s trendy Kit & Ace clothing store, Sorry brews the season’s best chilled elixir, served up in an apothecary bottle that only the hippest of hipsters could appreciate.