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Cafes

de Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters

Posted by Amy Michelle Smith / Posted on May 1, 2013

de Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters TorontoDe Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters has roots that wrap around the globe. Up until eight months ago, Korean-born brothers Felix and Won Cha had spent the majority of their lives living amidst the sandy beaches of Melbourne, Australia — a city well known as one of the world's coffee capitals. The brothers honed their roasting skills over the past eight years, working at some of the most successful cafes in the industry.

de Mello Palheta Coffee RoastersWhen it came time for the ambitious pair to branch out and open their own cafe, they weren't especially tied to remaining in Australia. Realizing the opportunity posed by relocating to a less coffee-saturated market, they quickly decided that Toronto, a city with a burgeoning coffee-scene, would be a great fit. What the Cha brothers have come up with at de Mello Palheto is a truly impressive cafe, with excellent coffee roasted in-house, a strong menu of baked goods and pastries and, not to be forgotten, some serious style.

The cafe is aptly named after Francisco de Melo Palheta, a Portugese coffee purveyor who was sent by the King of Portugal to French New Guinea in 1893 to obtain coffee seeds, sparking the beginning of the coffee trade in Brazil. What did I tell ya, these guys know their stuff.

de Mello Palheta Coffee RoastersLocated on a stretch of Yonge near Eglinton, de Mello Palheto is something new and exciting for a neighbourhood that's heavy on corporate chain cafes. Its cozy, rustic interior is warm and inviting, coming off as a cross between your nonna's kitchen and a French patisserie.

de Mello Palheta Coffee RoastersBrewing equipment lines the shelves on either side of the narrow space. A series of beehive drips slowly course out streams of liqueur-like cold brew ($3.25) into beakers — it must be spring again! Few things get me more excited about springtime than the return of my favorite iced beverages on my morning comute. My first iced Americano of the season is always an occasion worth celebrating.

de Mello Palheta Coffee RoastersFelix walks me through their back-area where a huge turquoise roaster quietly grumbles alongside stacks of burlap bags filled with yet to be roasted green beans. It's unlike any space I've seen in the city. Other than a select few (Te Aro/Pilot and Sense Appeal, for example) few cafes in Toronto roast in-house. With the brothers' impressive breadth of coffee knowledge at practice, their blend profiles and single-origin options are spot-on.

de Mello Palheta Coffee RoastersWon pours me a shot of their custom espresso blend ($2.25), the origins of which the pair refuse to disclose. A medium roast, the shot is smooth and juicy, with a well-balanced acidity and a great aftertaste. I try it in a cappuccino ($3.25 for an 8oz) and the espresso tastes rich and chocolatey against the sweetness of the milk.

de Mello Palheta Coffee RoastersAlongside their coffee offerings, Felix and Won have put together an eye-popping menu of baked goods and desserts, ranging from almond croissants and chocolate chip muffins to the decadent Rustic Pear Frangipane Galette ($8) that they suggest I order. Laid out on a wooden platter, the dish is an intricate display of sweets: a fillo-like Frangipane, a candied baked pear, cardamom pear compote and a delicious homemade pear ice cream. I can honestly say it was like nothing I've ever been served at a cafe.

de Mello Palheta Coffee RoastersI suspect folks around Yonge and Eglinton are going to get a serious kick out of this new spot. In my half hour sitting at the bar, I witnessed more than a few excited new patrons claiming the cafe as their new go-to. Regardless of location, caffeine fiends and connoisseurs from all over the city would do well to take a trip to the neighborhood for a shot of 'spro or a classic Flat White ($3.25 for an 8oz) from this exciting new duo.

de Mello Palheta Coffee RoastersPhotos by Morris Lum

Discussion

30 Comments

Franco / May 1, 2013 at 11:22 am
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A "Lab-like" coffee experience? You must be joking. This will be like going into one of those ultra serious bars with a dictatorial "Mixologist" refusing to serve vodka based drinks.
Talk about taking the fun out of life; leave this sort of thing to Melbourne where they feel they have something to prove about being "European".
They must be laughing their asses off in Italy.
Rachel / May 1, 2013 at 11:24 am
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As a former dweller of Melbourne coffee shops, I am REALLY excited to see this place open up. That said, Melbourne doesn't really have sandy beaches (which is why it has such a great coffee shop scene).

Looking forward to it!
evan / May 1, 2013 at 12:12 pm
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Uhm, wow. This place looks amazing. I'll definitely be trekking up to y+e for some siphon.
Binky Barnes / May 1, 2013 at 12:14 pm
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Just for the record, The Remarkable Bean and Savoury Grounds roast their beans in-house too.
Roger replying to a comment from Franco / May 1, 2013 at 12:30 pm
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douche.
mayor dodge replying to a comment from Franco / May 1, 2013 at 01:22 pm
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What's with the umbrellas on the ceiling and the shirts for sale? Nice places for bugs to build nests before their offspring slip and falls into your java mug. blee-ack!
Sandman replying to a comment from Binky Barnes / May 1, 2013 at 06:41 pm
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To add, Coffee Tree also roast their beans.

And, are celebrating their silver anniversary this month.
(Bloor Street West, east of Jane)
Franco = fascist! replying to a comment from Franco / May 1, 2013 at 07:31 pm
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You're kind of a big jerk, Franco. Here's a challenge to you, that I highly doubt you'll take me up on, why don't YOU open a coffee shop? And have it be even half as successful as the one above. I'll give you a year...if you do it, I'll give you $1000. If you don't, you gotta kiss me where I'm saltiest.

But I doubt you're man enough to put your money where your mouth will be.
SilentSD / May 1, 2013 at 07:45 pm
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Having just come back from living abroad in Sydney, Australia, I am definitely going to have to check this place out. Thank you for the blog.
mr.happy / May 2, 2013 at 05:23 am
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this place looks great, y+e needs more good coffee. only 'decent' place right now is bulldog...

nitpick time: baristas shouldn't hold the cup like in the first picture. hands are dirty for handling cash, cleaning tables, and taking out garbage. and now they've just wrapped their fingers directly around the rim of the mug :/
Johnny Cash 2.0 / May 2, 2013 at 09:40 am
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Was hoping this place was somewhere downtown. Boo.
Looks really nice though. The frangipane looks incredible. A lot of the new indie cafes opening up are decent enough, but many of them follow the same formula, in terms of menu and design. But just from this article I get the sense these guys are doing something different. Bravo.
David / May 3, 2013 at 10:37 pm
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first of all, one of the best coffee i've ever tasted in Toronto. i usually add some sugars in my coffee, but the coffee that i had, i dind't have to add any sugars, it was really easy to drink. great atmosphere, finally some nice unique cafe in toronto :) seems like they know what they are doing behind the machine, and ehtiopian limu on slow bar with syphone was exciting.. i believe these guys will stomp yonge st as well as bring exciting stuff to toronto specialty coffee scene..
Elaine replying to a comment from mr.happy / May 4, 2013 at 11:56 am
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You should check out Rachel's Coffee House south of eglinton on Yonge. They opened up about a year ago and have great coffee!
V / May 4, 2013 at 10:05 pm
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Hi there, Rachel!
NativeTorontonian / May 8, 2013 at 10:24 am
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Franco, I agree with you, it's getting a bit silly. But give this place a chance in terms of the coffee. I'll be doing that.
NotFranco / May 11, 2013 at 08:10 pm
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Franco, I think you'd find that the place is pretty laid-back, not coffee dictators. I have been only once, and while I'm no coffee aficionado, I do love a good brew. I had the siphon-method coffee (Sumatra, I believe). It was quite a process and the finished product was quite tasty. It was served in a glass, and the expectation was to drink it without adding milk, but you could have fixed it any way you wished.
I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned that the baking is all done in-house by a baker who was on-site when we were there. She was more than happy to explain the many choices of baked goods (scones, muffins cookies, loaves, etc.). I had a ginger cookies which was dark, partly crisp and partly chewy and tasting of fresh ginger...very good.
The atmosphere is relaxed and they are more than happy to discuss/describe anything about the coffees etc.
Melbournite / July 16, 2013 at 04:19 pm
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As a Melbournian living in Toronto I'm excited to check this place out. New independant cafes opening in Toronto should be encouraged!
the lemur replying to a comment from Franco / July 19, 2013 at 01:10 pm
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Melbourne has nothing to prove to anyone about being 'European' - they had espresso when there was still no decent coffee to be had in Toronto.
Neil of St Kilda replying to a comment from Melbournite / July 19, 2013 at 01:11 pm
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It's Melburnian without an O, mate.
Lindz / September 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm
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I live in the neighbourhood and I stumbled in not knowing what I was getting into. I ordered a coffee that took about 5 minutes or more to make. It was a slow drip or something like that. I always add milk and sugar to my coffee, I couldn't add anything to their coffee. It was incredible. I've never tasted anything like it. I always thought coffee was coffee and it all tastes similar, until I went here.
Milou / September 28, 2013 at 12:32 pm
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I am so excited that I found this place!! I live near St Clair and Yonge and this has got to be the best coffee shop I've been to within a 2 km radius. The drinks are really good and the lattes never fail to impress me. As a person with lactose intolerance, I was pretty stoked to see that they offer a delicious and freshly baked vegan cookies. I hope they stay here as long as I do.
A gal from Down Under / November 7, 2013 at 09:37 pm
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I wandered in quite by accident over the summer and the day wasn't too hot and humid so I sat outside sipping my latte. I enjoyed watching the world go by and when I had finished I said to the waitress, "this is just like a Melbourne latte." She replied, "the owners are from Melbourne." I think Felix and Won have done a fantastic job of creating a unique little space in amongst the vast amount of chains. I know for a fact, they have a huge following from SCS, the local girls school nearby!
Elise / December 13, 2013 at 08:45 pm
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Great coffee and excellent pastries. These guys have brought their expertise to Toronto and we are lucky enough to have De Mello at the top of our street. No more Starbucks for us.
frank replying to a comment from Franco / January 13, 2014 at 06:58 pm
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This place looks fantastic. And Franco you are a douche
Brian / January 13, 2014 at 08:54 pm
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Not ultra-serious, but a bit apathetic. Siphon coffee equipment there for show, not used regularly as one may think from the amount of pictures siphons appear in. Place is just ok, nothing to go out of your way for.
yep / January 14, 2014 at 06:32 am
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Palheta's in Singapore too....right near my condo! It's great! It's called Chye Seng Huat Hardware!
S. / January 19, 2014 at 11:40 pm
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Best coffee in Toronto and sweetest staff! I have to go to Yonge and Eg every Saturday from Queen West and always look forward to my fix. Time to open a second outlet guys. Naturally I vote that you set up shop around the Drake/ Gladstone area. In my opinion there really isn't anywhere offering a sit-in coffee experience that comes near to competing with yours.
Chris / February 18, 2014 at 08:28 pm
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Definitely makes one of the best cappuccinos in the city. It helps that they bake all their pastries in the shop. Easily the best and my favourite cafe in Toronto. Really friendly environment! And I can't help but come here at least a couple times a week.
Jordan / February 20, 2014 at 05:13 pm
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best
SLC / March 10, 2014 at 04:27 pm
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Recently moved to the area from Queen West and am so thankful for a good coffee spot nearby. Have been twice and, contrary to Brian's comments, all Siphons were in use. Have had two Long-Blacks, one was excellent, the second was ok (may have just been the beans I didn't like as it was a different day). The siphon was excellent.

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