Wibke's Espresso Bar
Wibke's Espresso Bar strikes me as the independent coffee shop at its most basic. Wibke Lorenz, the owner of the cafe, found a spot on Bloor West where quality coffee options were limited. She painted her shop a basic white with maroon accents, and hung the obligatory local art on the wall. A few tables, an overhead menu, and there you have it: Wibke's.
Lorenz, who is originally from Germany but now calls Toronto home, wasn't in when I popped by, but her skill with latte art was duly conveyed. "All of this," the barista said, running her fingers over pictures of foam designs that were printed on the café's launch party flyer, "Wibke did all of those. She does those so well." My ear for accents told me the barista was of French tongue, but I refrained from striking up a conversation about the linguistics of the German versus French language. I sensed it wasn't the time.
Wibke's opened in June and is still in the process of finding its groove. I sort of got that impression when the barista consulted a piece of paper each time I asked about a price. Nevertheless, she was pleasant and friendly and told me that despite the lack of customers at that time, the early morning rush is usually quite busy.
Those who stop in choose from a menu of loose-leaf teas and specialty coffee drinks (in the $3.00 range, though again, the barista was sort of fuzzy), as well as freshly baked goods prepared by Wibke herself. Most days, the offerings include muffins, scones, croissants, and more, as well as gluten-free granola bars, which, so far, have been a huge hit.
I order up an iced Americano (everything on the menu can be iced), which is made using Reunion Island Bullet Espresso for $3.00 and change. The drink had a nice richness and flavour that coated the tongue, though the slight bitterness and grounds at the bottom of my cup suggested perhaps the grind was a little too fine.
Wibke's has free WiFi but today it was very much grab-and-go, but I'd surely saunter back to hang out for a while and check out Wibke's (that's Wibke Lorenz's) latte art.
Wibke's is open Monday to Friday: 7am to 7pm, Saturday: 8am to 6pm, and Sunday: 8:30am to 6pm.
Photos by Jesse Milns