The best coffee bars in the city

Written by: Lorena Magallanes
Posted on: February 4, 2015


Toronto’s coffee culture has grown at an exponential rate over the past few years. It’s hard to find a block in downtown Toronto that doesn’t host at least three different coffee shops. We’re spoiled for choice, but how do we know which ones to choose when that caffeine craving hits? I’m going to share what are, in my opinion, the best coffee bars Toronto has to offer.

Sam James Coffee Bar
One of my personal favourites is Sam James Coffee Bar. Sam James is a magician when it comes to roasting coffee. Every barista that works there is not only well-trained in making an incredible cup of coffee, but their latte art is out of this world. It’s so good in fact, that I’ll often find myself feeling guilty after taking that first sip of my vanilla latte. If the coffee’s not enough to sell you, their salted chocolate chip cookies are good enough to break any diet. With over four locations scattered around downtown Toronto, you don’t have much of an excuse not to pop in!

A spectacular little indie gem hidden away on King Street East, Tandem offers not only superb coffee, but the cutest little cafe in which to drink your coffee. They rotate the local roasters they use “for fun” meaning every visit to Tandem coffee is different than your last. They manage to cater to both the health conscious and the sweets lovers with both healthy snack options and something a little sweeter whether it be cookies, brownies or croissants.  If you’re looking for a more personal experience, this is the place to go. The owners strive to make Tandem your home away from home and they surely do succeed.

Boxcar Social
Boxcar Social can be found in the bustling neighbourhood of Summerhill. Boxcar prides itself on offering an ever-evolving coffee profile. They, too, revolve their roasts meaning that no experience here is ever the same. The coffee itself has a rustic feel to it that provides the perfect cafe ambience. There’s free wifi and plenty of plug points which makes catching up on work during your lunch break (if you’re into that sort of thing) a breeze. They also offer a small collection of La Bamboche pastries and treats that pair perfectly with your dose of caffieine. If you find yourself there late in the afternoon, you might be surprised to find the cafe transformed completely into a bar offering a great compendium of craft beers, cocktails and bourbon. It offers the best of both worlds which makes it a place you should definitely checkout.

Voodoo Child Coffee Bar
Voodoo Child is far more than just a coffee shop – it’s an eclectic blend of people and coffee culture. Ensuring their customers never get bored, there are always two offerings in terms of coffee beans. Nestled away on College Street, Voodoo Child is a must-try for those that appreciate good coffee. Not only do they offer the traditional lattes, americanos and cappuccinos, but they also offer siphoned coffee. If you have a few minutes to spare, it’s a pretty nifty thing to watch, and the final product will be the smoothest coffee you’ve ever tasted. Really, it’s life-changing. For those brunch lovers (which, let’s be honest, is all of us), Voodoo Child offers the most delightful little brunch menu also paired with some spiked coffees if you’re feeling adventurous.

I full-heartedly recommend any Torontonian to stop by local coffee shops and bars over the Starbucks or Tim Hortons found on every street corner. There’s nothing like getting that morning caffeine fix while also supporting local businesses that truly do put their love and care into every cup they make. You’re guaranteed to have a great experience at one of the aforementioned coffee bars as they pride themselves on what they serve.

If you have any other places you think I missed out on, I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment below, or connect with me at @LorenaRomano.

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