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Toronto Coffee Company

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on September 28, 2011

Toronto Coffee CompanyThe Toronto Coffee Company is hoping to liven up the Bloordale community. Now I know what you're thinking; what isn't lively about sprawling dollar stores, a brazen corner strip club, and terrible, terrible 5 p.m. traffic? Perhaps I'm being harsh, and indeed, Toronto Coffee Company owners Blair Holder and Derrick Kent insist that Blansdowne is largely undervalued by non-neighbourhood natives.

Toronto Coffee Company"This spot was the engine of Toronto," Blair says leading me over to a wall with framed train pictures of the city's past. "I've lived in this area for seven years," he continues, "and really, it's a great neighbourhood."

Blair and Derrick, who have been friends for 30 years, decided to team up to satisfy the need for quality coffee in the area. Blair works in the music industry, and Derrick in health, but they both share a common appreciation for the west end, as well as for a fine cup of coffee.

Toronto Coffee Company"Coffee is the great equalizer," Blair says. "I want this to be a meeting place for the community."

Toronto Coffee CompanyOn that note, Toronto Coffee Company could likely accommodate a rather large meeting (Blair hints at knitting meetups and live music events) with its ample square footage and mix of bar, bistro, and communal table seating. Playing off the history theme, the cafe has been outfitted with furniture and materials from Forever Interiors, including its exterior barn boards, solid oak church pew, harvest table, and custom bar and counters.

Toronto Coffee CompanyThe coffee is a custom blend from Moonbean in Kensington Market, fair-trade and organic, created for its mochas ($3.50), espresso (s$2, d$2.50) and signature coconut latte ($4.50). I'm tempted to try the signature, especially as Blair rattles off the nutritional benefits of coconut milk, but knowing how it can sometimes plague my stomach, I opt for my tried-and-true Americano instead.

Toronto Coffee CompanyIt has a rich, almost fruity undertone, and pairs well with the stuffed focaccia from OMG ($2.85) Blair insists I try. OMG also supplies the vegan cupcakes and some other diet-specific sweet treats, sharing counter space with the cookies, muffins and more from Red Bean a little further west.

Toronto Coffee CompanyToronto Coffee Company strikes me as a comfortable place to kick back with your laptop (free WiFi and a comfy couch at the back, of course) or converge with a group late into the night (open until midnight, liquor license application in), but who knows what it will do to uplift the community's reputation. According to Blair, the neighbourhood is one of "purposeful artistic people," who, he hopes, will start to convene in the newly minted cafe.

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Photos by Jesse Milns



PG / September 28, 2011 at 01:11 pm
Hopefully they will soon learn how to pour a latte properly
Ben / September 28, 2011 at 01:36 pm
I have insider information that PG is a Holy Oak loyalist, and would go to any lengths, including lying on a public forum, to preserve their interests. Don't trust the above blog comment. TCCs lattes are second to none.
tariq / September 28, 2011 at 01:40 pm
the area needed a place like this. should do well in the future once the the new multi phase development going on at dupont/landsdowne is done
Josca / September 28, 2011 at 01:43 pm
I just went there this morning for a drip coffee. It was a very pleasant experience, and the coffee tasted great.
mark / September 28, 2011 at 01:51 pm
Awesome! Another coffee shop! There arent nearly enough of those around!
Cee / September 28, 2011 at 01:57 pm
For the last 6 months I've been whinging that if I opened a coffee shop in this 'hood I'd make it back in no time. This is absolutely what the area needed -good for the owners for getting it together to do it. The writer needs to leave the annex more though. The area's reputation isn't in need of uplifting, though we're happy to keep people like her far away.
jen / September 28, 2011 at 02:07 pm
Right up the block from me! I'm excited to try it out :)
Elle / September 28, 2011 at 02:21 pm
The intersection was definitely in need of a decent coffee establishment. Hopefully people catch on!
Jayzen / September 28, 2011 at 02:47 pm
The neighborhood could use a new coffee shop, especially one that cares about their bl
Julie / September 28, 2011 at 02:56 pm
So excited to try this place out- I'm moving into the area next month and was hoping for some good independent coffee. This looks and sounds totally up my alley.
tg / September 28, 2011 at 03:14 pm
this is fantastic news. the neighbourhood has been lacking on the indy coffee front - looking forward to dropping in.
Marc / September 28, 2011 at 03:24 pm
Agreed - Gonna try this place out as soon as possible. There arn't really options for coffee in the area unless you want to sit down. The Coffee Times in the area simply do not count. Yuck.
i live in the neighbourhood / September 28, 2011 at 03:32 pm
It is indeed exciting to have another great place for coffee... but, don't forget that the Holy Oak and The Bloordale Pantry are both within a block of Bloor and Lansdowne AND both have great coffee.

The writer of this piece should really do more research on an area before writing about it.

markor / September 28, 2011 at 05:01 pm
Good profile, thanks! But I'll second "i live in the neighbourhood" and add that STARVING ARTIST is another great place with fantastic coffee, mere paces north of this new one. The more the merrier, I say.

I do hope they have some savoury snacks though: give me meaty or cheesy pastries over cupcakes any day, b/c i be hungry in the morning/afternoon/night.
melo / September 28, 2011 at 06:19 pm
I would also add that Zocalo a little farther west also has great coffee and can be ordered to go. That being said, I'm excited to try this place out!
Seymour / September 28, 2011 at 07:30 pm
I just came from there... great americano & friendly staff... a welcome addition to Blansdowne!
piero replying to a comment from Cee / September 28, 2011 at 08:50 pm
Have a look at Robyn's other posts. She writes the "Get to know a street" articles. Her last few excursions included writeup on Ellesemere Ave and West Eglington West. Robyn gets around the block in a good way!
abe replying to a comment from PG / September 28, 2011 at 11:02 pm
what's up, not enough milk in the cat dish?
Marc replying to a comment from markor / September 29, 2011 at 08:53 am
Hey markor - I love Starving Artist (can't beat waffle bacon!) but can you order their coffee to go? I think I've only ever been in / seen people in to sit down and enjoy the stay.

I'm drinking a double americano from TCC as I type this and I'm pretty pleased. They're almost next door to Lansdowne station, en route to work for me. I really hope they stick around!
Goods / September 30, 2011 at 06:50 am
The opening page states, "they thought it was about time the area got a quality coffee shop to call its own." To echo the above comments, what about the Holy Oak? I'm not judging the quality, just saying there are other options in the 'hood.
d replying to a comment from PG / September 30, 2011 at 10:17 am
as long as the coffee tastes good. the latte people could care less about.
Rochelle / October 3, 2011 at 04:42 pm
I have been living in the neighborhood for 7 months, and constantly wishing there was a decent coffee shop in the area.

Holy Oak is more of a bar, and spending $2.50 for a mediocre Americano is ridiculous.

Bloordale is more of a brunch joint and their coffee is brutally bad.

Starving Artist is great but again, not a coffee shop.

TCC has a few kinks to work out, namely the self serve drip coffee station being super tacky, but it's nice to know that a legit coffee shop (that isn't Coffee Time) has now opened in Bloordale.
Bloordale local / January 3, 2012 at 10:37 pm
Go to Holy Oak if you have time to get a good americano. Go to Toronto Coffee Company if are in a hurry to get a pretty good americano.
Christine / February 26, 2012 at 03:08 pm
I love the feeling of this place. It's got an nice vintage charm and love the interior brick layout. The coffee was wonderful too. It's just what the neighbour hood needed. The owner was very pleasant to my 3 year old too. This is a great hang out to kick back, socialize and get ome much needed mommy time with my ereader. Going again soon!
reb / April 8, 2012 at 01:39 pm
I recently found out that TCC get their beans from Moonbean in Kensington Market - my favorite coffee shop in the city. So when I can't make it to the Market, it's such a wonderful thing to be able to walk the 7 mins. from my front door to the TCC and get a fantastic latte... I hate to say it - b/c I do love the Holy Oak and the people there - but the quality of coffee at TCC is much, much superior to Holy Oak... Holy Oak's espresso always tastes burnt to me...
Simone / June 12, 2012 at 09:47 am
I was surprised to see that no one is comparing the TCC to Cafe Neon on Wallace. While Cafe Neon has good coffee and an artsy atmosphere...TCC has much, much nicer staff. It makes a big difference - keep it up TCC!
ToWestender / June 14, 2012 at 09:27 am
Fully agree with Simone on the staff. I've been there twice now and both times the people beind the bar were really friendly and approachable. I've had two types of their hot chocolate (milke and dark) and both were incredibly good. not so crazy about the vegan cookies, but to each their own.
christafari / September 18, 2012 at 10:42 am
Nothing makes my day more than a delicious "black queen" (double esspresso with 1/2 water) from my favorite Batista Maron (THE cafe queen).

Kaitlin replying to a comment from Simone / October 5, 2012 at 03:42 pm
Like you said, the staff are lovely people. Also, is it just me of is Cafe Neon totally pricing its food/beverage out of reach for the neighbourhood?
Bill replying to a comment from Kaitlin / December 11, 2012 at 09:33 pm
Yep. They are milking all the Ubisoft employees across the street.
Ms N Lynx replying to a comment from markor / December 30, 2012 at 09:29 pm
@markor: 3 years of trying, and while starving may make great waffles with caramel tinted corn syrup (what's wrong with real maple syrup?) they have yet to serve an espresso or latte that doesn't taste BURNT.

TCC has not failed me yet. They even do a prefect chai latte.

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