So how do you love your coffee? Do you do a franchise? Brew your own? Mix it into a homemade body scrub? Are you a coffee addict? Or are you a coffee snob? Has life forced you into the one-a-day – yet?
I’ve learned to be pretty exclusive to my own brew. Life has forced me into that one-a-day. Quite honestly, most of my workday cups are just to avoid the nasty headache due to caffeine withdrawal — in which case I will drink the instant stuff if I have to. That said, when I do have time to brew, I turn to my trusty Turkish coffee pot, which I think brings the best out of your good coffee and even makes average coffee taste better. I don’t make Turkish coffee because I don’t have a fine grinder. I use regular fine grinds and a strainer and it still makes a great cup of coffee.
I apologize if my method offends any Turkish coffee fans. I do enjoy Turkish coffee when I can get it. Please read this web-page on how to make Turkish coffee. You’ll get a good giggle from the writer’s famous old proverb on Turkish coffee: http://coffeegeek.com/guides/turkishcoffee
Anyway, back to my story, I needed an extra jack this afternoon, so I went looking for a second cup of joe. Day job gettin’ me a little down. I work right in the heart of the downtown core, surrounded by franchises. However, before this coffee freak does a franchise, I will actively look for a local independent.
I found Fresh Start Coffee on the corner of Bay and Elm Street. The exterior is not too flashy but the interior is warm, friendly and – most importantly – filled with the rich scent of very good, freshly brewed, coffee. As a heavenly bonus, in the corner of the service counter is a small selection of gelato. After my cup, I was very grateful that I took the time to find this coffee house rather than run into the closest convenience.
I cannot afford to indulge in second cups everyday — makes me too wired — but if I do, my God, why would I settle for anything less? Now I’m not saying that the franchises don’t have nice coffee, however, this coffee was so worth the jitters later. I felt like I was nursing off that cup. You know, they had those raised lids, with the little slit on the top, so it was like an adult bottle of coffee.
As indulgent as it may sound, in Toronto, coffee lovers can make it their thing to seek out unique cafes and coffee houses and plant themselves quite easily for 4 to 6 hours at a stretch; a caffeine-jacked zen time to finish that book, continue conversations, work off a laptop, or watch the street life go by. Conversation is so easy in these types of places.
These cafes and coffee houses are harder to see with all the franchises competing side-by-side each other, but I guarantee that there is at least one in every Toronto neighbourhood.
Again, the franchises aren’t bad. They do amazing things with tea and I love their selections of dessert. If I have to do a franchise it would run in this order of preference: Aroma, Lettieri’s, Timothy’s, Second Cup.
My old time favourite independent Toronto coffee house would have to be the Tango Palace in Leslieville — mainly because I partially grew up in that place — neighbourhood joint is right. Jet Fuel in the Cabbagetown area is still a bike couriers oasis. Unfortunately, the Village Idiot in the Forest Hill neighbourhood closed. However, the Butler’s Pantry in the Roucesvalles Village continues to endure. Kensington Market has some excellent cafes, such as The Moonbeam Coffee Company and Cafe Pamenar.
just a few places to witness
the way insomnia dreams