toronto coffee shop tour
Welcome to 2018 and welcome back to In A Sequoia!
The fall season is our busy season at the office, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had to let some things go for my mental health and well-being. Including blogging. I took four months off for myself, slept a lot, enjoyed time with friends and produced some really cool projects at work.
But now it's time to get back to finding balance in my day-to-day, and to stop neglecting this part of my life. And I thought I would give the blog a boost with a tour of some of Toronto's best coffee shops!
Must try drink: Cortado, full milk. It's worth the pain if you're lactose intolerant like me.
Bonus must try food: Cheese scone. Just delicious.
You will not find a coffee shop with better people who work there. With two locations in the city, my regular Fahrenheit is on Richmond St thanks to its convenient location halfway between my apartment and the office. They offer three different espresso options for your coffee, and they ensure only the best in quality. You must stop in for a cortado, their specialty. And if you really want to poke fun at the owner, Sameer, ask to have your drink in a mason jar and tell him Megan said it was his favourite.
Must try drink: Almond milk latte
Nadege has locations both across the street from me and next to the office, so I visit on the regular. My go-to drink at the city's French patisserie hot spot is their almond milk latte. Perfect temperature and smooth flavour every time. And if you have the time, grab a sweet macaron or croissant to enjoy in-house with your drink. You won't regret it.
Must try drink: Affogato
Affogatos aren't common in coffee shops in my experience, so I love this sliver in the wall for a coffee treat. Across the street from Toronto's beautiful Trinity Bellwoods Park, White Squirrel is an ideal location to pick up a drink for a sunny day in the park, or to admire the vast snow blanket with a hot cappuccino in hand, which fits the current climate situation. The place itself is rustic and unpolished, which is part of the appeal.
The drink itself isn't anything special per say, but in the summer months you have more ice cream options. Including my personal favourite: roasted marshmallow.
Arena Coffee Bar
Must try drink: Teeder, a holiday specialty drink
Two shots of espresso with steamed milk, hazelnut syrup and a topping of maple syrup scored well with me. Yes, that's my bad attempt at sports humour. Arena Coffee Bar is tucked inside The SPORT Gallery in the Distillery District. Though this drink was only available for the holiday season, I couldn't resist the lure of hazelnut. Besides, when I asked barista at each coffee shop I visited what they recommended, they all went with classics like cappuccinos or an americano. This was the first spot that encouraged something outside the regular and I appreciated that.
Going with the sports theme, the bar top mimicks a hockey arena and they playfully list their menu as "The Line-up". Their seasonal menus are inspired by 'the sports of days gone by' and seem to change quarterly. If I sported more, I would probably enjoy it more. There are even bleachers in the shop. Good coffee, and a must check out for those who sport.
Balzac's Coffee Roasters
Must try drink: Still to be determined.
At my Balzac's visit, I ordered a Cafe Canadien, which is essentially a latte with maple syrup. I didn't have the friendliest of staff experience, but the place has a cool vibe in the Distillery District. Complete with exposed brick painted silvery green, high ceiling and a massive chandelier.
The coffee is very sweet, but missing the maple flavour. I wonder what type of maple syrup they are using because it tasted like the cheap sugary stuff. The latte would probably have been decent without it. Over time, the drink became less sweet and I was able to notice the smoothness of the latte and lack of bitter flavour, which I enjoyed. But it was very overpriced for what it is.
It's a known name in the city but one you could pass on in my opinion. Location might be a good spot for a date though, if coffee dates are your thing.
Dineen Coffee Company
Must try drink: Cappuccino
In the heart of downtown Toronto, I enjoy stopping at Dineen when I plan to sit and enjoy the drink. Decent spot for people watching and the coffee is good. Funky decor and unique food items from time to time. Plus, they make my favourite cappuccino to date.
So I drank most of these in one day, essentially drinking my weight in coffee. That is not something I recommend. I do recommend trying them out when you have the chance though. Especially if you're a coffee addict like me!