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RISE Espresso

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on February 3, 2012

Rise EspressoRISE Espresso offers a remedy to the drought of good coffee that has (perhaps formerly) plagued the Ryerson University area. I spent four years at Ryerson hopping from one mini Timmie's outlet to the next, sipping the sub-par drip in order to make it though my classes. (Not that the classes weren't terribly captivating, I say in case any old professors should be reading this.) Occasionally, and weather permitting, I and my espresso-minded comrades would saunter up to Bulldog for a change from the double-double, but since it was located several blocks north of campus, Bulldog was hardly an option for the five minutes between classes.

Rise EspressoAnd so, we played our imaginary coffee-snob mini violins and sucked back our drip whilst bemoaning our bourgeois lives. Aren't university kids just the greatest? Well, the next round of university kids has a new option for coffee, with RISE Espresso emerging on Mutual about two weeks ago. Located just north of the ever-popular Mutual Street Deli, RISE is basically a grab-and-go operation offering coffee drinks and tea with baked goods possibly to come.

Rise EspressoI meet Jenny-Lee Jorge the day she's manning the cafe and she tells me she's one of the four people behind RISE. The owners—two sets of couples—came up with the idea to open a cafe that was really focused on service.

"That's something that is really lacking in the indie coffee scene," Jenny-Lee says as we take a seat at the window bar. "There can be a little bit of intimidation when it comes to some other places; we saw a void in terms of good customer service, and we wanted to deliver."

Rise Espresso"I had someone come in the other day and ask for a double-double," she continues. "And I love that, it was no problem. I just want people to feel relaxed."

Rise EspressoThe proof arrives moments later in the form of a construction worker; a man who has stopped by for the second time today and whom Jenny-Lee greets by name. Even though word of RISE is still getting around, Jenny-Lee says area construction workers and lawyers, as well as Ryerson staff and students, are already dropping in regularly.

Rise EspressoThough the area strikes me as an ideal, untapped location (even while Balzac's has plans to move on campus sometime this year), Jenny-Lee says they happened upon the space by chance. "Dominik and Allen were driving around and saw this spot was available" she says, referring to Dominik Matchek and Alan Smith, who, along with Julie Daniluk, are the forces behind RISE. "It wasn't very pretty, though."

Rise Espresso
The space has been transformed, however, and offers a signature five-bean blend from Dark City. The coffee menu is pretty standard with the regulations cappuccino ($3.00/$3.50), latte ($3.50/$4.00) double espresso ($2.00), though it also boasts a remarkably cheap single "Bullet" shot ($1.00).

Rise EspressoI order a "Canadiano" (an Americano by another name), though Jenny-Lee is hesitant, saying they don't have their signature blend on hand that day and instead can only offer Intelligentsia. I assure her that my caffeine-deprived veins don't care, and she prepares me the cup, adding that RISE offers almond milk and lactose-free at no extra charge. While I intend to come back for a taste of the signature blend, I found this roast to be more than satisfactory with a bold sharpness and flavour. A nice linger too.

20120202-Rise-10.jpgSince there's little seating beyond the bar, RISE does not offer WiFi, though grab-and-go snacks and baked goods are on the roster for the coming weeks. The cafe is open 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, meaning for the all-night study sessions, you'll have to resort to Timmie's once again.

Rise EspressPhotos by Jesse Milns



jibbly / February 3, 2012 at 03:48 pm
I'll give em a shot. Or rather, they'll give me one.
Ohh ho ho ho.
Coffeeer / February 3, 2012 at 06:27 pm
I don't understand.. a 10oz cappuccino has to have at least 3 shots to reach a proper ratio and even then, it's supposed to be 5-6oz total volume. So what is the 10oz latte, and why is it more expensive?
mainstreet / February 3, 2012 at 09:15 pm
coffeeer where do you get your coffee from? last time i checked most small coffee cups are 12oz, so a 10oz cap seems totally normal. noone would need 3 shots.
Michael Jagdeo / February 3, 2012 at 10:00 pm
Ryerson: the Coffee Time of Toronto universities.
bikeroo replying to a comment from mainstreet / February 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm
Most cafes serve a 2-shot cappuccino consisting of 5~6oz in size since they observe the rule of thirds (1/3 espresso, 1/3 milk, 1/3 milk foam). If a double shot is ~2oz that would make it a ~6oz drink.
bikeroo / February 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm
That looks like a Victoria Arduino machine. Can anyone confirm this?
Brian replying to a comment from Michael Jagdeo / February 4, 2012 at 12:18 am
Michael Jagdeo: Judgemental Prick.
Michael Jagdeo replying to a comment from Brian / February 4, 2012 at 12:51 am
Brian: judgmental has one e, not two.
Jarrett / February 4, 2012 at 01:01 am
Bulldog is bullshit anyway
N.E. replying to a comment from Michael Jagdeo / February 4, 2012 at 01:21 am
Both 'judgemental' and 'judgmental' are acceptable in terms of spelling. I guess they don't teach Google in Yale.
Berkyz / February 4, 2012 at 03:35 am
Wow the interior design looks great. The place looks so warm and welcoming and the prices are OK. I´ll give it a try. What I want to add is that there is already one interesting café in Toronto - Dark Horse Espresso Bar. Only next time add more photos please!
meh / February 4, 2012 at 06:48 am
i stopped by here the other day on my way to work. got a decaf almond milk latte. it was superb! love the design love the coffee love the milk alternatives. woo!
Michael Jagdeo replying to a comment from N.E. / February 4, 2012 at 07:02 am
Spot on. ;)
dv / February 4, 2012 at 09:30 am
If someone asked for a double-double at the Bulldog, they'd likely get their head bitten off. I'm glad to have good coffee without the attitude, and will check this place out.

Oh, and I don't know why people still think of Ryerson as a minor league university. That might have been true 15 years ago, but Ryerson has become one of the most in-demand universities in all of Ontario, surpassing even places like York and Guelph in total number of applications received each year.
Alan / February 4, 2012 at 10:00 am
Alan (the owner) here. We use a certified organic fair trade custom blend from Dark City for our espresso. I've been in the coffee biz for 12 years and this is by far my favourite coffee blend I've ever had. We also feature organic fair trade origin coffees from Fresh Coffee Network, a sister company of Merchants of Green Coffee.

Definitely come visit us. We look forward to serving you!
Alan / February 4, 2012 at 10:05 am
Oh yes, we do have a Victoria Arduino - the Adonis. We call it Black Beauty. We decided to buy the Cadillac of machines to make our beautiful espresso blend on.

Nothing is too good for our customers!
Charles replying to a comment from Coffeeer / February 4, 2012 at 01:50 pm
@coffeeer, a latte has proportionately more milk than a cappuccino - and it's organic milk at that.
Brian replying to a comment from Michael Jagdeo / February 5, 2012 at 08:34 am
You sound like a douche. Have you ever kissed a girl?
Taylor / February 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm
love this place . best coffee and espresso around campus area hand down .
Alan / February 5, 2012 at 07:25 pm
You can also check out this video that Ryersonian TV did on the cafe:;feature=colike
Michael Jagdeo replying to a comment from Brian / February 6, 2012 at 11:09 am
Hi Brian,

How are ya? I have kissed a few girls. Not many.

Do you attend Ryerson? I'm sorry if I offended ya.

@JagdeoComedy on Twitter
Michael Jagdeo replying to a comment from dv / February 6, 2012 at 11:15 am
Hi dv,

Many applicant's do not a top university make.

It's like saying Big Mac's are more popular than porterhouse steak's because more people buy Big Mac's.

missbliss / February 6, 2012 at 01:25 pm
Can't wait to try this out and I'm very glad to have an alternative from Bulldog. I don't need sunshine up my butt when I order a coffee, but the Bulldog owner isn't nice. I thought maybe he was having a bad day so i gave it another chance and again, attitude. Why on earth would i support his business??!
lol replying to a comment from Michael Jagdeo / February 7, 2012 at 09:39 am
ryerson: where you go to get actual experience
Michael Jagdeo replying to a comment from lol / February 7, 2012 at 11:55 am
Ryerson: where you go to get actual experience

While it's true that Ryerson has co-op, Waterloo has the most sophisticated co-op program (2 years of work experience in a degree that takes 5 years in computer science, business, math, etc.).

Guys, it was just a joke!
bikeroo replying to a comment from Charles / February 7, 2012 at 05:10 pm
What I believe @coffeer is trying to say is that if you have a 10z cappuccino and a 10z latte and if you want to maintain espresso/milk proportions how many shots of espresso are going into the cappuccino and how many are going into the latte? Most cafes in Toronto do a double shot in a 6oz take out cup. Most cafes here also serve lattes as a double shot in an 8oz cup.

To maintain espresso/milk proportions a 10z cappuccino will technically have more espresso than a 10z latte so why is the latte more expensive if the cappuccino of the same size would require more espresso?
Mike / February 8, 2012 at 12:46 am
Also glad to see a close to campus alternative to Bulldog. "If someone asked for a double-double at the Bulldog, they'd likely get their head bitten off. " This actually almost happened to a pal of mine at Bulldog. By contrast, the service at Rise is thus far fantastic, and the coffee is pretty damn good, with a touch of room for improvement. Looking forward to having this place around.
UncleBuck replying to a comment from Michael Jagdeo / February 9, 2012 at 09:36 pm
Micheal, where the hell did that Waterloo promotion come from? We just want to talk coffee, that is after all the topic at hand. This place is great, although I would prefer my drink a tweak stronger; at those prices though, can't complain about adding another shot! Welcome Rise.

Also, Micheal stop promoting your website, sorry dude, but it's bad.
Michael Jagdeo replying to a comment from UncleBuck / February 9, 2012 at 10:22 pm
Buck, read the thread before you get your panties in bunch.
Martha / February 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm
Tried a Canadiano at the beginning of the week. Delicious!
I'm glad there is now a tasty, local, independent shop I can support instead of giving my money to chains like Tim Hortons and Starbucks that provide sub-standard java. (As an added bonus, RISE Espresso comes without the Bulldog attitude.)
Martha replying to a comment from bikeroo / February 15, 2012 at 10:37 pm
Price differences may be calculated based on the milk. I work at a coffee shop and our prices take into account the amount of milk used in any given drink because milk tends to be more expensive than coffee beans. Though who knows for how long, since coffee prices seem to keep shooting up.
Charles / February 28, 2012 at 06:15 am
Jaysus, trolls be here - beware!)
RISE107Mutual / February 28, 2012 at 08:54 am
RISE price list. (subject to change)

$1.00 espresso or bullitt (best price in the city?)
$2.00 double espresso or Warp drive
$2.00 double espresso/water or Canadiano/Americano
$3.00 Macchiato
$3.00 Cappuccino 8ounces
$3.50 Cappuccino 10 ounces
$3.50 Latte 10ounces
$4.00 Latte 12ounces
$4.50 Mocha 12ounces
$2.00 Tea 12 ounces various flavors)

Zeubien / May 16, 2012 at 03:05 am
The best place to be, it tastes pure and natural. Le gout de la vie et le reveil de la journee.

Brad / March 10, 2013 at 01:10 pm
Alan, you may be interested in our 100% Hawaiian KONA Coffee, it's the least acidic coffee grown in the world and is grown without pesticide or commercial fertilizers. 100% KONA Coffee is estate grown and is not a blend. One of the top 2 Gran Cru Coffees in the world. You may want to consider adding our coffee to your menu?
Best of luck to you and your partners.... or see us on FB
Matt / May 15, 2013 at 07:04 pm
Love RISE! Delicious high-quality espresso and just all round lovely people. Great place!
vaclav / December 5, 2014 at 08:03 am
Love the place. Even more now that they've got my favourite bits, madegood granola.

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