Wednesday, September 2, 2015Clear 21°C

Manic Coffee

Posted by Sarah Ratchford / Posted on September 1, 2013

Manic Coffee TorontoManic Coffee opened its doors at Bathurst and College exactly six years ago, and it's been a haven for regulars ever since. Manager Luis Pereira says no matter what the weather, the same people come in the door each day, and he starts making their drink as soon as he sees them.

Manic CoffeeManic serves up direct trade brew from the likes of Social and Intelligentsia. They make all of the classics, like cappuccino ($3.24) and Americano(s) ($2.76). But they also started making cold brew coffee about two years ago, a trend which took awhile for other cafes in the city to pick up on. I stop in on a sweltering day, and opt to sample that, as I'm already acquainted with the superiority of their hot drinks (which always include fantastic latte art, in case you happen to be visually inclined at).

The cold brew is as good as any I've tried in the city so far. It's got the desired fruity flavour, and I would say it's perhaps the most concentrated, too, which is a common effect of steeping the grounds for such a long time. In Manic's case, Pereira says, it's anywhere from 12 to 24 hours.

Manic CoffeeOver the relatively few years it's been open, Manic has reinvented itself to a considerable degree. Since we first visited, they've gutted and re-outfitted their kitchen. The best thing to come of that is their gelato, which is all made in-house. By "made in-house," I mean they even go so far as to roast their own pistachios, which garnish the pistachio flavour. Pereira hooks me up with samples of several, with coconut lime and chocolate orange as clear standouts. I finally settle on a cup of chocolate hazelnut, though, because I am an addict. And, people: it was a good choice.

Manic CoffeeIn case you're inexplicably not down with gelato, (they have vegan options!) Manic also creates all of their baked goods on site. That means fresh cranberry-white chocolate scones, and blackberry-blueberry muffins, too. They also do panini, in case you're weird like me and enjoy lounging in cafes literally all day long as though you have nowhere else to be (I don't).

Manic CoffeeOne warning, though: Manic doesn't do the whole WiFi thing, and that isn't about to change. They are internet-free because they want to foster a community atmosphere—and it works. The cafe is absolutely crammed at 2 p.m. on a weekday, with people actually speaking to one another as opposed to burying their heads in laptop screens.

Don't be scared, though: do your research in advance, save whatever you need on your computer, and go make a new friend or two.

Manic CoffeeThanks to the New Listerine UltraClean for sponsoring our coffee-fueled adventures.

Photos by Jesse Milns



cee / September 1, 2013 at 07:49 pm
Every single time I have gone here there's a freelance row - backs to the wall - macbook screens in front - no one talking.
nippleholic / September 1, 2013 at 11:03 pm
Kind of funny that the article states that people aren't burying their heads in laptop screens beneath a photo of someone doing just that.
AG / September 2, 2013 at 01:18 am
There is one person on a laptop. Come the fuck on.
Paul / September 2, 2013 at 09:50 pm
A few years ago before starting my company I was buried into my laptop screen far too often at manic - didn't mean people were less talkative or friendly to me because of it. However I enjoy my time there much more without the laptop; staff are friendly, atmosphere is tough to match and Its a great place to catchup with friends. With or without the laptop the article is spot on, love that coffee shop!
G-Police / September 3, 2013 at 10:19 am
Sarah + editor: have some self respect; never end a sentence with a preposition. :-D

(which always include fantastic latte art, in case you happen to be visually inclined at).
JB / September 4, 2013 at 10:09 pm
There are two people with laptops open in the foreground of that picture. Yellow man has his hidden behind his paper.

What a silly picture to use to illustrate that paragraph.
NativeTorontonianAl / December 8, 2013 at 08:28 pm
Not a pleasant place or experience. A few days ago, I finally had the chance to stop by Manic Coffee. The reality nowadays is that it is a far cry from the images in blogto's review. The people and mode in the photographs look more about the true cafe culture, learned and decent people, but these days it is with a few walking stereotypes (bad kinds in society), or childish people. The music is too loud and is not music anyway because it is not neutral (for everyone) and is stuck in a time warp bad 1990s, that is more like the type blasting uncivilized-like out of cars passing by in Jane/Finch or the city of Brampton during the warm seasons. The sounds and just the feeling there is not cafe culture. Too bad because the place is nice, so I think someone could take over the shopspace and open a cafe and do a far better job.
The coffee is bitter and sometimes with a sour finish. The baristas are in the wrong place of employment as they are either indifferent or seeming to be spaced-out.....the kind where they won't get you if you even say the simplest thing, or even when saying a basic customer dialogue! Scary. They must be careful or people might conclude that they are "slow". If they are to remain as baristas, the most generous I could say is perhaps they could be more fitting in the boonies/sprawl coffee chains like Starbucks. Being in a place such as College St in older Toronto, they must know that it's originally with the community aspect, but they are very boonies/sprawl in conduct and this doesn't belong in any cafe establishment in older parts of Toronto. Customer service is the key - in any field, especially in this kind.
Read the Full Content / May 6, 2014 at 09:54 am
electronic cigarette kit --
Manic Regular / September 8, 2014 at 06:40 pm
Love this place. Hate the smell. Especially in summers. They have a bench right next to the door (cool) but it seems there is always someone there cigarette in mouth; frequently one of the Manic employees! So if you like the nauseating smell of ashtray while enjoying your espresso, this is your spot!
ManiCustomer / July 5, 2015 at 03:41 pm
Great coffee shop. However there is one barista named Dave who is a total snob
Grant / July 24, 2015 at 10:53 am
Coffee and food is good. I really wish they would offer washable glasses for people that are having cold drinks in the cafe. I am tired of creating more garbage.

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