Toronto’s best baristas

Coffee is never just coffee in a city like Toronto where how it’s poured matters just as much as what is poured. We’re a city that prides itself on its somewhat underground coffee scene, especially compared to other locales. And when it comes to baristas, we’re second to none.

Sam James Coffee Bar

1
297 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M6G 1G7

Sam James. True artist will often repeat something again and again to achieve a different result each time. And you reallyknow you’re dealing with someone who takes the craft seriously when he or she makes art with an idea conceived while doing household chores. Sam was washing dishes one day when he saw the soapy water form a tulip, a design he crafts daily in an effort to get it absolutely right.

Bulldog Coffee

2
86 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M5B 2J1

Stuart Ross. The area of Church and Gerrard has been reborn since the start of the new millennium. What was once a cluster of townhouses and high-rises has seen an influx of community shops and stores, and one has strong reason to believe Stuart has played a role. This cozy little coffee shop – and by cozy, we mean sit-inside-if-you-must-but-take-your-coffee-outside-to-people-watch – is known for his otherworldly brews. Stuart’s best? Triple Chocolate Maple Passion

Dark Horse Espresso Bar

3
682 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1G9

Momji Kishi. When you’ve got a barista who showed impressively at the Central Region Barista Championships, you know your coffee is in good hands. Momji has a playful streak in her coffee-making, combining her many years of experience with a curiosity to explore. Case in point: she calls what she thinks is her shop’s best roast Intelligentsia’s Kid O’s.” Tip: ask her about her coffee trip to Australia for a truly expert view.

The Common On Bloor

4
1028 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1M2

Ed Lau. This hole-in-the-wall is a beloved neighbourhood favourite precisely because Ed’s worked so hard to make it that way. He’s a bit of a magician; stirring, pouring and frothing with an expert eye and sleight of hand. But all the perfectionism is hidden from view: you’ll see no sign of stress or pressure from the city’s most easygoing barista, no matter how complicated you order your coffee (he loves a challenge!)

Manic Coffee

5
426 College St, Toronto, ON M5T 1T3

Patrick Chilvers. When you truly understand that a cup of coffee is never that simple, it’s because you’ve visited Patrick at Manic. Possessing a deep intellect and inquisitive mind, this barista will free-pour a swan onto your latte while debating why Nietzsche made better points than Rousseau. Chat him up for a second, and you’ll learn he’s one of the masterminds behind the eclectic music selection at this wifi-free coffee shop designed to foster a talkative community atmosphere

You can time the seasons by iced coffee: when it appears on the menu, you know warm weather is here, and when it disappears, you know summer is over. It's the perfect way to keep cool, and on top of your calendar. And here in Québec City, you'll find no shortage of options for this delicious drink.
As a student, it often seems like a cup of Joe, a textbook and a group of friends is the best way to buckle down to complete those study notes. Toronto, with coffee shops gracing almost every block, is no stranger to the over-caffeinated student.
The quaint and popular Beaches neighbourhood offers great shopping, Victorian and Edwardian architecture and some of the best independently-owned coffee shops in Toronto. Grab an iced coffee before hitting the boardwalk or settle in with a book at any one of these local cafés.
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