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R Squared Cafe

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on August 9, 2011

R Squared Cafe TorontoR Squared Cafe is already bustling in the home of what once was Quaff Cafe on West Queen West. The former cafe was purchased by new owners, totally made over, and rebranded under the name of the two co-owners, Reza and Reza.

R Squared Cafe TorontoLess than a week after its opening, R Squared is filling its tables. Rows of laptops greet me as I walk into the space, as it seems customers are already making good use of the free WiFi. And the extra light is probably helping a fair bit also--that is, the illusion of extra light. Whereas Quaff may have had that dark and cozy cafe feel, R Squared is bright and airy, white with yellow accents and dustings of powder blue on the refinished bar. The general layout is the same, though there seems a fair bit more seating (I could be wrong) and interesting new hanging light fixtures drawing brightness closer to the eye.

R Squared Cafe Toronto"We took over Quaff about five months ago," one of the Rezas (Reza Yazdjerdi) tells me as we take a seat by the back table. "We really liked the location, but we wanted to rebrand everything."

R Squared Cafe TorontoThat rebranding goes beyond just the name. The coffee now comes from Social Coffee & Co., which has prepared a custom blend for R Squared to use on its fancy new Nuova Simonelli. Many of the savoury eats are sourced from Café Jules Pâtisserie, as well as sweets from Desmond & Beatrice. Plus lots of sanding, painting, and refinishing.

"When I was a teenager," Reza says, "I just loved bookstores and coffee shops. I wanted to make this place something I would love as a teenager."

R Squared Cafe TorontoReza's teenage life was spent in Iran, where he lived until moving to Toronto two years ago to be with his wife. A commercial engineer by trade, he and Reza, a civil engineer, had trouble finding work after moving to Canada so they decided to pursue their passion for coffee instead. There are little touches of Iranian culture throughout R Squared, including a collection of fabulous vintage movie posters from 1950s Iran displayed on the wall, as well copies of Persepolis and Iran in my Eyes on the bookshelf.

R Squared Cafe TorontoBut like every good cafe, the focus here is on the coffee, which is available as pour over ($3.15) if you've got a second or two to spare. I opt for a straight-up Americano ($2.79), though, and Matt, who placed fifth in the Canadian Regional Barista Championships, prepares me a cup. You can tell when a shot has been expertly pulled, and my Americano certainly has that great taste; zero acidity, and a nice, rich flavour. Change is good, it seems.

R Squared Cafe TorontoR Squared Cafe TorontoR Squared is open during the week 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Photos by Jesse Milns



geg / August 9, 2011 at 11:42 am
So that's where matt went!
shia / August 9, 2011 at 11:46 am
I thought Megan Fox was holding that cup on the 1st picture... 2 THUMBS up if you agree!
Sandman / August 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm
Nice to see the name change.
The previous name reminded me of a 'bad experience'.
APOW / August 9, 2011 at 01:43 pm
Asana / August 9, 2011 at 02:01 pm
Oh my goodness, these people know their stuff! THE BEST cappuccino in town, if not the world's best! Keep up the good work.
MrsPotato / August 9, 2011 at 02:20 pm
laptop hobos, UNITE!
lowrez / August 9, 2011 at 03:26 pm
I really liked the old design and branding and the black & white Scandinavian style.

But if the coffee has improved, then great!
volla / August 9, 2011 at 03:36 pm
boys are back with best coffee ever !!!
Erin / August 9, 2011 at 04:50 pm
I'm a little sad that Quaff is gone. Every time I went by I thought of the word "Queef" and giggled.
Nic / August 9, 2011 at 05:19 pm
"zero acidity, and a nice, rich flavour." I wish blogTO writers would stop perpetuating the myth that "zero acidity" is something to be sought after. Now, I'm definitely not saying it wasn't good -- I'm 100% certain it was a fantastic shot of espresso. Which means it did not have zero acidity. A good shot has acidity -- it just doesn't have too much, or too little. It has the right amount to work with all the other factors to make a nice, sweet shot. I think the word gets confused with sourness in espresso. I understand that BlogTO writers aren't necessarily experts in whatever they're reviewing, but like... come on. If you're not sure how to talk about coffee, that's fine. Just tell me it tasted good. Busting out jargon for the sake of jargon cheapens the review.
Cafe Queef replying to a comment from Erin / August 9, 2011 at 07:49 pm
Erin, you beat me to it! I thought the same thing.

"Cafe Queef."

Nazanin / August 11, 2011 at 09:30 am
Simply amazing... creamiest coffee I've ever had in Canada. You feel the passion, seriousness and the love for coffee in ever corner of the shop. Well Done Rezas.
Poopy / August 11, 2011 at 02:10 pm
Who is the hottie at the counter? meow
bikeroo replying to a comment from Nic / August 11, 2011 at 03:57 pm
I can't agree more with Nic. BlogTO, I've been skimming through the recent reviews of coffee shops and cafes and one thing I've always found lacking was any relevant information on the coffee itself. I don't need a full cupping of the beans used with tasting notes but I'd like to know whether I should go for a shot of espresso at a particular establishment or if they are better for their drip coffee or whatever. Simply put, it's weird to read a coffee shop review and only see 2-3 lines written about the coffee itself.

That being said, I swung by R2 today and was really impressed with the setup and their house blend is well balanced and versatile whether as an espresso shot or in a latte. I like the fact that they plan on having regular turn over of different single-origins for their pour-over.
Ey Dunno replying to a comment from Poopy / August 14, 2011 at 07:17 pm
+1 LOL 1 reason to check it out,well another!
Quinn DuPont replying to a comment from bikeroo / August 26, 2011 at 11:57 am
Indeed. BlogTO is great about keeping on the cafe beat, but their reviews aren't reviews so much as advertisements. Is there a single "bad" review of a cafe in the entire list? NOPE. And, the description of the coffee is practically always the same, when anyone who is paying attention knows that this simply isn't true.

I went to R2 today and while the coffee was decent, it's hardly the best available. My Americano was indeed low in acidity, but this came at the expense of flavour and mouth feel. The crema was far too light and uniform (forget about any tiger striping, it's not even in that class), and the entire cup was rather bland. It's main feature was that it had no features---it wasn't offensive in the least. I give R2 about 3/5.
Franklin replying to a comment from Quinn DuPont / August 27, 2011 at 12:26 am
Speaking from experience, I think you just got a bum shot. I've had some killer drinks from r2.
Schmoopy / September 1, 2011 at 01:11 am
Coffee is pretty good, but they don't accept visa or debit on purchases under $5.00. Correction: they will accept those methods of payment, they'll just charge you an additional $0.50 to process your payment.

It's 2011, and consumers have long since started paying for goods electronically. To be competitive in the Toronto coffee shop scene, you have to make it easy for customers to pay you again and again. There shouldn't be a penalty to customers that want to pay for the product in their own way.
Dan replying to a comment from Schmoopy / September 26, 2011 at 03:52 pm
I really enjoyed the coffee and atmosphere, so will definitely return.

Not accepting Visa/Debit, or rather, accepting them with a minimum policy is understandable. The $.50 isn't a 'penalty' as you put it, but a processing fee.

There are associated overheard fees that all retailers must accrue (rent, insurance, hydro, internet, staffing, maintenance and repair, debit/banking fees per transaction [I think it's a percentage]). So, in order to be competitive int the Toronto coffee shop scene, indie shops such as R squared have to offer quality beverages and atmosphere to be competitive in the Toronto coffee shop scene. If their policy is to tack on an additional $.50, it's likely so they can continue to be IN the coffee shop scene in the future.

Even in 2011, one should always carry cash on them for 'just in case' scenarios . . . . and a cup o' coffee.
Masetto / October 19, 2011 at 01:52 pm
Reinventing oneself is a major challenge that many Toronto cafés and restaurants constantly wrestle with. But here, today at R Squared, I witnessed a re-invention that blew me away. Clearly Reza and Reza knew what they were doing when they offered a core-shaking Orange Mocha! That drink, of which I am still dreaming, was a heavenly mixed of coffee, orange, godly chocolate, milk and most definitely a great deal of awesomeness.

While I am well known for my "Good morning, my usual - Americano to Go please" - I can easily see myself becoming "Good morning - surprise me again with your daily creation".

The Orange Mocha is definite sign that R-Squared is here to provide us café goers and coffee lovers a sense of adventure that surely would not disappoint.

Way to go R2!
Houtan / October 19, 2011 at 06:12 pm
first visit today, definitely not the last, great cappuccino, cant wait to try other drinks there.

another thing to mention, amazing grilled chicken sandwich!
if you're there for longer hours, getting some work done, do try that sandwich, you wont be disappointed.

friendly staff.

i give 5 out of 5.
Sepand / October 26, 2011 at 01:46 pm
This coffee shop is amazing. The coffee is perfect, and the orange mocha is sublime! The home-made sandwiches are tasty. Add all that to the pleasant decor and atmosphere, and it's one unbeatable café in Toronto.
meh / November 19, 2011 at 12:49 am
The 5 dollar min for debit is insane... what are they thinking? Also the vibe is so pretentious, the place is decorated terribly , overpriced... big meh!
MK / November 20, 2011 at 05:38 pm
Great cappuccino , cool ambience , I would say 5 out 5.
Hamid / December 26, 2011 at 05:03 pm
Very friendly staff too!
Maryam / December 26, 2011 at 05:05 pm
We love the place... Good coffee too!
Louisa / January 22, 2012 at 10:08 pm
My husband and I walked into R2 to try the soup of the day (mushroom), chicken eggplant sandwich, and an Americano. We're picky eaters, and were blown away at all 3 items. I savoured each spoonful of soup, each bite of the sandwich, and the Americano was by far the best I've ever had. We're absolutely thrilled that such a casual, yet high food quality cafe is in our neighbourhood. We can't wait to go back, and repeat the whole experience again.
sahar / February 16, 2012 at 09:56 am
cappuccino was amaizing ,and 10$ soup and sandwich is a good deal .
mike / April 6, 2012 at 10:44 am
Fantastic place, I've visited every coffee shop on the "indie coffee passport" in Toronto, and this is one of the best.

Good coffee, friendly staff, nice vibe. Will certainly return.
Leah Slade / August 4, 2012 at 09:06 am
As always R2 is your stop for most of the gloriousness Cupcake Sally has to offer :)
Masetto / September 30, 2012 at 10:21 am
I once wrote about this cafe, almost a year ago. Scroll up. You will find my comments on how R2 had set a new standard of café-ism in Toronto.

Although I still have the same view (standards, re-inventions, core-shaking, the-usual-good-things-one-would-say-in-a-review), I think I fell short in highlighting the essence of this brilliant gem. So here is my second attempt.

R2 is simultaneously a single-origin and a blend. It is single origin, insofar as its unique, specific, and independent taste. I am not just talking the taste of the coffee. I mean, and I do mean, the taste in everything tasteful it has: its music, its pastries, its design, its art-installations, and of course its staff.

R2 is also a blend, a pure blend: it is a tasteful combination of laughs, quiets, singles, duos, dry, wet, sweet, savoury, white, black, cold, hot, artists, scientists, sane, nuts, silver, blond, queer, straight ... and I, myself, mixed in middle of them all.

R2 is not just a good way to start the day; it is a great way to spend and a memorable way to end it.

R2 is undefinable; It is simply one to be experienced, again and again.
mi83 / October 7, 2012 at 11:17 am
I like this spot ,they have a good quality coffee and best costumer service
EbramDarParis / October 7, 2012 at 05:43 pm
I been around the world and have always needed to still my craving for caffeine, I have to admit, I more than often find myself going for the local watered-down Timmies style coffee, so I am not a coffee guru. But I know what's good, and this place is putting out some great products. The cappuccino was amazing. The atmosphere is great. The music is great. Clean facilities. The staff are great, genuinely friendly and laid back...not in that weird-sect like way that Starbucks staff usually are. The prices are also very competitive for spot like this. I would definitely recommend R^2.
BUTwhy? / December 11, 2012 at 08:42 pm
I dont know if you guys fired that really loud barista, but please get him back. my americanos are good from the others but that other guy did it the best.
Flailing barista / December 30, 2012 at 02:27 pm
Loud barista is currently working in Australia, not fired.
Grind And Brew Coffee Maker / April 6, 2013 at 03:49 am
This espresso maker lets you put together espresso espresso in simply
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The first thing you will need to do is ensure your coffee brewing tools is as clear as doable Grind And Brew
Coffee Maker. Wash your espresso grinder and occasional maker to the best of your means.
Harsh / January 19, 2014 at 03:29 pm
Positive, Energetic and Inspiring. This place is a secret gem on Queen west. The white walls, great, phenomenal music and above all perfect brews, will leave your mind dazzled with the fondness of this place.
BK / April 8, 2015 at 03:04 pm
The most pretentious cup of coffee.

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