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Full of Beans

Posted by Staff / Posted on September 29, 2010

Full of Beans TorontoFull of Beans Coffee House and Roastery has a product to sell: coffee. Yes, most coffee houses sell coffee. But, few houses love and consequently endorse their product like owner Lori Nytko.

Full of Beans TorontoFor seven years Nytko worked passionately at The Coffee Tree on Bloor and Jane learning the roasting ropes. When friends and family suggested she open her own cafe, she agreed on the terms that she would only start a business if she had the perfect roaster on-site.

Full of Beans TorontoThree months of Googling, Craigslisting and eBaying later, the coffee connoisseur bought her java dream machine: Jabez Burns & Sons sample batch roaster. Now, with her holy grail (so to speak) stationed proudly in her Dundas West storefront, Nytko is roasting ten blends of beans daily for the benefit of Toronto's average coffee addict.

Full of Beans TorontoIf you meander into Full of Beans while Nytko is roasting, the first thing you'll notice is the pungent aroma of caramelizing beans. The second will be the subdued atmosphere evoked by the exposed brick, rich colour tones and vintage furniture. And, if you're smart, the third will be the taste of the coffee you buy.

Full of Beans TorontoFor myself, I order the Brazilian (sm $1.90, md $2.25, lg $2.80), a bold and fragrant roast that smells like nuts but tastes like chocolate. It has a clean finish and would make a great iced-coffee in warmer weather. My friend Jonathan chooses a mild-medium bodied Bolivian that he swoons over.

Nytko roasts two regular and one decaf blend to feature daily but she's always equipped with unground portions of all of her roasts to sell for home use ($16 - $19 per pound). Nytko loves, and encourages others, to combine her roasts with each other and create new blends. For example, she boasts having recently created Arabica magic by combining her favourite, Ethiopian, with her Tanzanian. Its hard to resist instantly making similar mental matches. For example, combining a bright Latin American with a clean, citrusy African would be delightful on my palette.

Full of Beans TorontoFull of Beans isn't just coffee, however. Using her signature espresso roast, Nytko prepares a list of specialty drinks as well, including cappuccinos (sm $3, md $3.50, lg $4), lattes (sm $3, md $3.50, lg $4) and cocoa lattes (sm $3.75, md $4.15, lg $4.75) with no extra charge for specialty milks. The cafe sells teas from David's Tea ($2.75) and a selection of fresh baked treats such as tea-scented biscotti ($1.90), mini loaves ($2) and muffins ($1.15) courtesy of Nytko's grandmother. The cafe also has free WiFi.

Full of Beans TorontoAfter finishing my cup of coffee, I decide to sample her espresso. Pulled into a tin tea cup that may as well have been from Marie Antoinette's personal collection, the single shot is nutty, aromatic and incredibly smooth with a hefty crown of crema. To accompany my espresso, I buy one of Grandma's blueberry muffins and I can instantly vouch that although she probably wouldn't win Top Chef: Just Desserts, she does make a kick-ass muffin. Jonathan settles on the biscotti and informs me it's delicious.

Full of Beans TorontoThis may sound juvenile, but let me be the first to spill the beans about Full of Beans; although the cafe is still being furnished and Nytko is busy knotting the final strings to what has been a drawn-out launch, the cafe has a few quality brews that will no doubt help it thrive on the Dundas West coffee map.

Full of Beans TorontoWriting by Carl Hiehn. Photos by Dennis Marciniak.



Monsignor Coffee Snob / September 29, 2010 at 02:53 pm
So, where is she going to spew the "afterburner" fumes then? Seriously, why are people so hyped about roasting on site.
Aromatherapy / September 29, 2010 at 05:08 pm
Personally, I LOVE the aroma of freshly roasted coffee. Brings back wonderful warm memories of get-togethers with family, friends at home or abroad in some lovely Viennese cafe. Glad to have a real roaster in the neighbourhood!!!

Also, "freshness" is the key. You'd be surprised how much more flavour and aroma there is in a cup of FRESHLY roasted coffee compared to the stuff that has been sitting on the shelf for who knows how long since it was roasted.
FOBFan replying to a comment from Monsignor Coffee Snob / September 29, 2010 at 07:45 pm
Actually, looking at the roaster, it looks small enough to not need an afterburner and I didn't see one hooked up to it. And looking at the chimney setup it's well up and back on the roof of the building, so I'm not worried about any fume "spew", other than of course the awesome aroma of roasting coffee.
yay! / September 29, 2010 at 08:54 pm
i'm glad to see this place finally opened... I was worried it never would.
I'll be there soon!
David / September 29, 2010 at 10:36 pm
Well, is the espresso any good? Was the barista knowledgeable? Common, where is the rest of the review?
Olivier / September 30, 2010 at 12:03 am
With respect to Mon. C. Snob's comment, roasting on site means we should expect freshly roasted, fully aromatic beans. (Coffee roasted more than 5 days ago is going stale fast). So, if you want the best, assuming green beans are good quality Arabica beans, the roaster operator knows what he/she is doing, you want freshly roasted beans. Don't you want the best?

Additionally, not all roasters pollute. Some have 'smoke eaters' engineered within the roasting machine itself (Fresh Cup in BC, for instance, uses one that is smokeless, no flue gases to atmosphere). C'est ça. Ciao!
PoLo / September 30, 2010 at 09:12 am
Coffee should be left to rest at least 3 days to allow for the excess gases to leave the coffee bean.
BlackMambo / September 30, 2010 at 06:21 pm
this 'freshness' thing is highly misleading. If you're drinking what she's roasting today as an espresso, forget it, as the coffee has not rested. And even five days is not enough (and it does not go stale after five days...). The best coffees can take anywhere from 10 - 20 days after roasting before its settled for espressos. On the other hand, if she's serving the freshly roasted coffee as a filter, then its fine
Olivier replying to a comment from PoLo / September 30, 2010 at 07:13 pm
Hi PoLo;

3 days...hmmm...why not 13? Why not 23? If you wouldn't mind, I'd really appreciate an explanation. Thank you in advance.
Olivier replying to a comment from BlackMambo / September 30, 2010 at 07:25 pm
BlackMambo, you are a professional coffee taster? Cool. Resting coffee beans...hmmm...are you able to explain the reason for this. Much appreciated.

Jaimito / October 1, 2010 at 11:25 am
Who is this new writer for BlogTO? His articles are really really well written.
Justine / October 1, 2010 at 12:04 pm
Beautifully written and the pictures are tantalizing.

I will definitely be paying Full of Beans a visit next time I am in the Toronto area.
PoLo replying to a comment from Olivier / October 2, 2010 at 09:32 am
I said at least 3 days. Depending on the kind of coffee and how it's being served it could be more.
DJ / February 20, 2011 at 04:05 pm
I spent a great couple of hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon here. Wonderful atmosphere and space. My Americano was smooth, delicious, and had a great kick. Yes, the music was Jazz FM, but as it was commercial free Sunday, it provided a nice, generally uninterrupted background noise.

The owner is extremely friendly and knowledgeable about her trade. This is a great local, non-chain kind of coffee shop that Toronto seems to do very well. It's worth supporting, and I'll definitely be back.
ry / July 7, 2011 at 11:36 pm
Was there today and bought some espresso beans that came with a free cup of coffee. Yet to try the beans at home, but the free coffee was honestly the best I have had (unbelievably smooth, first time I would describe coffee as velvety). Owner and I even had a great talk about my espresso problems at home and went through her machines in the store, which needless to say are impressive. The smells of the roaster are equally fantastic, excited to return.
coffeegeek / January 21, 2012 at 03:23 am
Full of Beans get my vote as the best coffee roaster in Toronto. I compare with Merchants of Green, Tearo, TAN, Moonbean, Classic Gourmet and memories of Coffee Tree.

Not always consistent, but mostly amazing. I figure its fresh roasted by hand in small batches, it is not always going to be the same. Some days will be better. Moonbean and TAN are perhaps not as trendy, but they have killer fresh beans too.

On site and fresh roasted makes a big difference to me. It is like night an day. But I love import beans as well.
Manx Tea and Coffee / February 2, 2012 at 10:12 am
Coffee Roasters normally transform the chemical and physical properties of a green coffee bean into roasted coffee bean. The roasting process is what produces the characteristic flavor of coffee by causing the green coffee beans to expand and to change in color, taste and smell, Raw coffee beans contain as much caffeine as those that have been roasted, but lack in taste. heat is therefore applied for the chemical reactions to occur. and depending on wether you want a medium or dark roasted coffee depends on how long you roast the Coffee Beans
The smell of roasting coffee beans can be smelt for miles around, just like bakers using the smell of freshly baked bread to arract customers the same applies to roasting coffee to attract the customer to their Fine Filter Coffee
Q / October 18, 2012 at 01:15 pm
The roaster looks awesome, but this place only does one kind of roast, dark roast. The ethiopian sidamo wa completely over roasted and ruined. Merchants of Green is better but i will stick with my Social beans.

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