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Academy Cafe

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on May 28, 2012

academy cafe torontoAcademy Cafe is very much as it sounds. Located in the former home of Fahrenheit Coffee on the Esplanade, this new espresso bar is actually the front retail spot of the Canadian Barista Academy.

academy cafe esplanade"It's kind of like a model cafe space," says Michael, the barista holding fort when I stop by. Just four weeks old, Academy Cafe is off to a slow start, though this area of the Esplanade is certainly in need of good espresso. There's the notorious Coffee Time a few doors down, but nothing in the way of freshly pulled espresso.

academy cafe torontoAcademy is pulling two blends daily — one from Social, and one from Te Aro. The drink list, naturally, is espresso-based, with the usual offerings such as Americanos ($2.86), cappuccinos ($3.10) and lattes ($3.45). There are also loose-leaf teas from Metropolitan Tea Company based out of Etobicoke, and a small spread of baked goods from Circles and Squares.

academy cafe torontoMichael tells me more about the concept behind Academy as he prepares me an Americano. He says the cafe will serve as an area for those taking classes to test out their skills and practice new techniques. "Most of the classes are in the evenings, though," he says. So the coffee elite need not worry — the "practicing" will mostly happen during the cafe's off-hours.

academy cafe torontoAnd indeed, I can tell Michael's a pro as he prepares my drink, starting with hot water first and pouring the espresso overtop. The crema is thus left mostly intact, as an earthy reddish-brown colour swirled at the top of the cup. There are plenty of milk options including almond and soy, but I stick to black, enjoying the rich dark-chocolate undertones of the drink. Just the right temperature, too.

academy cafe torontoThe space has been drastically renovated since Fahrenheit's departure and now allows for some seating. "Still, we're mostly just for take-out," Michael says. "No WiFi, or anything like that." He says the concept is still in the process of evolving, but that they're sticking to the plan of serving as a model espresso bar space. And judging by the quality of Michael's pulls, they're on the right track.

academy cafe torontoacademy cafe torontoPhotos by Bruce Emberley



Darcy / May 28, 2012 at 10:10 am
I'm glad it's open again, because it's close to where I live, which is an area dominated by Starbucks. Social is roasting great beans. I'd also like to see someone in this city bring in Phil & Sebastian or Ritual beans. Anyhow, if the Academy Cafe is to do well during the day, it'll need quality baked goods AND sandwiches or panini at lunch time. Looking forward to checking it out this week.
Joseph / May 28, 2012 at 10:50 am
Any manual coffee at this place, or all 'spro?

Darcy - check out Lit Espresso Bar on College for Phil & Sebastian. Also, have you tried Madcap? Out of Michigan, available at Mercury Espresso in Leslieville...crazy good beans.
brah replying to a comment from Joseph / May 28, 2012 at 04:26 pm
Yea bro, is it just spro there bro?
Agata / May 29, 2012 at 09:22 am
I would love to get their delicious coffee but they open at 7:30am and I would need something that is open a little bit earlier (7am). Right now I make the walk to Distillery with the dog to pick up a coffee.
Muhammad Aslam Waince / July 4, 2012 at 09:06 pm
Muhammad Aslam Waince / July 4, 2012 at 09:07 pm
I'm a student of MBA Marketing
Leah Slade / August 4, 2012 at 09:04 am
And thanks to Cupcake Sally you can now enjoy candied hazelnut biscotti, chocolate covered pretzel cookies, and wild strawberry and hot cranberry truffles
Melissa replying to a comment from Darcy / January 11, 2014 at 11:23 pm
Phil & Seb are sold around town at a couple places but Lit is selling some really awesome coffe right now. They buy a lot of green from Phil & Seb and are definately doing it justice for how long they have been roasting!
Jerry / May 27, 2014 at 03:51 pm
Great lattes, but the baristas lack social skills. I have yet to see one smile or make small talk. And I have tried. In my opinion, if you are in the service industry, then simple pleasantries are a must! I'll be making the walk over to Balzac's, or the Rooster instead.
chet / January 7, 2015 at 02:46 pm
I find that for the most part they are very friendly but from time to time I have encountered the owner and she does not appear to care for retail business. I walked in at around 4:30 one day they closed at 5 pm and she abruptly told me they are closed and returned to her conversation with some friend that were visiting. My first visit was on a day off - having recently moved to a condo next door I patiently waited for them to open and when I entered the same women was very cold as if she did not want my business. I Will not be return and continue to wait for coffee time to close their doors and hopefully and actual coffee house will open. I wonder who is actually paying for their course when you could go to work for starbucks and get the training for free and get paid at the same time. It may be a UI covered course. As above "I'll be making the walk over to Balzac's"
GL / August 26, 2015 at 01:48 pm
The places is now CLOSED- replaced by a new cafe called St. Lawrence Cafe

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