With the leaves changing color and the temperature dipping, it’s time to find some refuge (and warmth) in a smooth cup of espresso. The perfect espresso can be identified by any connoisseur simply by looking for a few traits; a rich brown color in the shot, a nectar-like appearance, and a thick golden ‘coat’ on top. Few places can pull this triad off perfectly – luckily there are some standout coffee houses scattered across the city, you just have to know where to look for them. For us, the cream rises to the top at each of these coffee joints in five different neighbourhoods:
The owners of Riviera Bakery have done a fantastic job of infusing the taste of Italy into their coffee. Their espresso doppio is perfect for pairing with authentic Italian pastries baked fresh daily.
This shop is a few blocks away from U of T and as a result is a popular hangout among students. The baristas take great pride in every drink made, and use only the finest intelligentsia espresso beans. They have a way of getting the foam to the perfect density (Note: it can hold a sugar cube for 5 seconds before swallowing it up).
Only steps from the Royal Ontario Museum, this coffee house is a favorite among Yorkvillers and students alike. The owner hails from Naples and has brought his renowned espresso-making techniques with him. Every shot he pours is done with care and precision, and he puts the same effort into remembering every person who frequents his coffee bar.
The Distillery District
Balzac’s is one of the most famous coffee houses in the city, not for their brewing techniques or their baristas, but for how they roast the beeans. On a good day, you can even smell the coffee all the way from Front & Parliament.
Dark House is world renowned for its espresso-art, where drinks are cheerfully decorated with hearts and smiley faces. Dark Horse also prides itself on using sustainable coffee and has a direct-trade relationship with the coffee growers, so you pay a little bit more to ensure that the money goes straight to the farmers.
We wanna know, who makes the best espresso in your ‘hood?