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Cafes

I Deal Coffee (Yonge)

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on November 20, 2012

i deal coffee yonge torontoI Deal Coffee (Yonge) is anything but a carbon-copy version of its Kensington and Ossington locations.

i deal coffee yonge torontoThis café, located on Yonge a few blocks north of Lawrence, has a decidedly different vibe than its other locations. Maybe it's the residual interior design elements from the gelato shop that used to occupy the space (plus the actual gelato), or the fact that the good majority customers here no longer fall in the "twenty-something" category.

i deal coffee yonge torontoWhatever it is, this I Deal Coffee spot certainly seems to have carved itself a nice little niche — somewhat to my surprise, I'll admit, since I've always known the area to be an unabashed Starbucks town.

i deal coffee yonge toronto"Actually, we noticed our business really pick up when the Starbucks down the street cut its seating in half," Chris, the location manager, tells me when I ask about I Deal's area integration. "Since then, a lot more people have been coming here, and it really hasn't slowed down."

I Deal Coffee opened in this space in May, taking over from a gelato shop for which it supplied coffee. That shop owner, in turn, started training I Deal's roaster to prepare homemade gelato, which it will offer in this location along with its staple espresso.

i deal coffee yonge torontoThough currently between batches, Chris says I Deal will offer about four flavours of gelato ($3.50/$4.50) throughout the winter, with eight or more options available in the summer. "We're mostly offering traditional options," Chris says when I ask about flavours. "Hazenut chocolate, vanilla, and seasonal flavours like pumpkin," he says. Affogatos, too, for anyone who wants to test out I Deal's new gelato with its old faithful espresso.

i deal coffee yonge torontoAnd coffee, still, remains the main focus up here, with a single origin Guatemala Huehuetenango on the ready for my drink. Cappuccinos ($3.25) and lattes ($3.50) aside, this espresso should be tasted, in my humble option, without milk to muddle the rich dark chocolate flavour. Chris suggests that some taste a mild lemon acidity, but this espresso is thoroughly (and pleasantly) cocoa to my taste.

i deal coffee yonge torontoThroughout my visit I notice several silver-haired visitors stop in for a bag of beans and a cup of their preferred drink (some of which Chris know before they give their orders), while other customers have settled in for the afternoon, making use of the cafe's free WiFi. With gelato, SUVs parked outside, and a median age above 30, this certainly isn't Kensington's I Deal. But it looks like Yonge and Lawrence has a soft spot for seating and excellent single-origin.

i deal coffee yonge torontoPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

6 Comments

Marcus Snowden / December 27, 2012 at 08:37 am
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This spot on Yonge is decidedly not Starbucks, nor is it Tims, Timothy's or Second Cup. The atmosphere is relaxed, the staff welcoming and informative and the street view (I'm always at a stool in the window when there's one free) permits the study of our current hustle and bustle with inspired jazz tracks playing in the background. A great way to start a weekend morning. And the average age is likely higher than your posting suggests - I'm well over the median and noticed several of my generation frequenting - indeed I was introduced by someone else my age who lives around the corner. And yes, Chris and the others do remember what you order - to the point of me not having to when I come through the door. I just drop my coat and gloves (in cool months) or ball cap and approach the back - if there's no line up (rare) I'll be advised my order will be called when ready. Just a great neighbourhood place, in my view, and one I'm happy to support.
Marcus Snowden / December 27, 2012 at 08:42 am
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P.S. - It's best to have your brew of choice to stay - something about the glass kept warm and forcing a slower consumption than the "to go" cup - though the take out is a fine product if you must. And you need to get there early to get the best selection of home baked goodies - my personal favourite is the raspberry scone but the blueberry version is a good close second. If I come in later in the morning, they're usually all gone so I'm not alone in my preferences!
Matt / August 17, 2013 at 05:42 pm
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Definitely nice to have a different - and local - alternative to all the franchises in the area. It's a cute spot with nice staff.
Bri / November 17, 2013 at 12:21 pm
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I've been to location in the market numerous times. I usually get of a pound of Prince of Darkness (though Princess is a bit darker) and, at least in the market, you get a free drink with the purchase of a pound of coffee. A worthwhile bonus.
They roast their beans and it's some of the best coffee in Toronto.
I'm definitely going to check out the new spot.
Lea / January 15, 2014 at 09:22 pm
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This is my favorite coffee spot. The coffee is crisp and beautifully presented and the place has a vibe that makes everyone feel welcome. Always good music on tap. I have had the best conversations with total strangers in there....that does not happen in Starbucks.
yocal / January 29, 2014 at 09:13 pm
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Can anyone confirm if they give you a free drink with a pound of beans? What drink can you get?

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