Yum Yum: Toronto’s Best Coffee

On the fourth floor we pride ourselves
on being bright eyed (and never bushy tailed!) for every occasion –
whether that be an early morning segment or a late night with a client event. It goes without saying that we’ve drunk our fair share
of coffee along the way and determined our favourite shops to stop in
for craft espresso long ago.

We’re not chronic over-caffeinators; we’re coffee aficionados. We were surprised when Fahrenheit, a place we hadn’t visited, won the title of
Best Specialty Coffee Shop in NOW’s Best of City 2012. We realized
we might be missing something by sticking to favourites, like NOW’s runner-up Sam James, and decided to head out on the town. Here are the places we’re really digging:

Sam James

Still our favourite spot to stop in for an espresso or cappuccino, Sam James never compromises quality for speed. He has been known to dump espressos multiple times if necessary to get a perfect pull. The espresso here is the richest and creamiest in the city with a crema unparalleled by competitors and complex flavour profiles. The rest of the shop’s offerings stand out as well: remarkably sweet cappuccinos, exciting alternatives like siphon coffee and pastries from Yonge Street’s Delica Kitchen.

Sam James Coffee Bar: 297 Harbord Street,  688a Bloor Street West and 150 King Street West (PATH).

Our runner-up is located in the heart of Kensington Market with a big personality and a community vibe. Owner Pouria Lotfi pulls rich creamy espressos and often has two varieties available. A large back patio and free Wi-Fi make the café a great hang out spot. 
Café  Pamenar: 307 Augusta Ave.

Popping in at Lit is always a treat. The staff is friendly and the beverages are always crafted with care. Also, the snacks are delicious! We particularly love the sea salt brownie, from Circles and Squares.

Lit Espresso Bar: 810 College St. and 221 Roncesvalles Ave.

We took a trip across town to check out NOW’s 2012 fave Fahrenheit. We had tried owner Sameer Mohamad’s coffee previously when he was involved with Sense Appeal and appreciated his dedication to the craft then so were excited for another taste. The service was great, the barista easily explained the flavour profiles of the two beans available, and the espresso was good, but a bit watery and acidic for our tastes.

Fahrenheit Coffee: 120 Lombard St.

Dark Horse is a staple. It may not offer the most craft coffee, but it is reliable and responsibly sourced. With a growing number of locations we’ve come to count on it as a convenient place to pop in for a quality beverage and a panini. Ample seating also makes it a great place to catch up with friends.

Dark Horse: 125 John St., 684 Queen St. West, 682 Queen St. East and 215 Spadina Ave.