toronto coffee log

Where to get coffee-based fire logs in Toronto

For those who are lucky enough to have fireplaces during the blustery winter season, you've just found your favourite new log: a coffee log. That's right. Jamie Pattyn, whose day job is in the service industry, is admittedly addicted to coffee, and was trying to suss out a way to incorporate more coffee into his life without going the usual barista route. He began delivering homemade coffee logs about 3 weeks ago to the coffee shops he frequented.

Made from old coffee grounds which are then waxed in molasses, and retailing for just $3 (although Pattyn would like the cost to be even lower), the coffee log is a cleaner burning alternative to your average firewood (or store-bought fire log). Packaged in brown paper, these logs will give you a strong burn for 30-45 minutes. Unfortunately, your house won't be flooded with the scent of freshly-brewed java, but you will be spared the vaguely chemical, pseudo-smoked-salmon scent that your average 3-Hour Log will yield.

Pattyn's idea isn't entirely novel — the original idea is credited to one Rod Sprules, mechanical engineer-slash-soon-to-be-entrepreneur, who discovered that coffee grounds release more energy than wood when burned. It was a few years before he acted on the idea, but thus the Java Log was born. Courtesy of Pine Mountain, the makers of the 3-Hour Log, the Java Log is all-natural and made from 100% recycled coffee grounds--the numbers vary, but all agree that it produces less carbon monoxide and emits significantly less residue.

Pattyn's logs are "more or less" like the Java Logs, and he admits that "everybody and their cousin has a recipe for it, but it's a question of whether you've got the space to make a huge mess." Drying the coffee grounds, in particular, is a time-consuming process, but Pattyn good-naturedly says "it smells nice to have coffee in the house."

I'll admit it — I've been seduced by fireplaces, but I've also received what, to this day, I believe was mild smoke poisoning from one of said fireplaces. Poor ventilation — of the sort sometimes found in old apartment buildings — and overzealous piling on of wood resulted in nausea, headaches, and a racking cough. Which is to say that, sustainability and supporting the little guy aside, the coffee log is fundamentally better for you. Pattyn uses recycled wax, and aims for reclaimed beeswax (the most natural option).

Pattyn's Coffee Logs are available at Mercury Espresso, Crema in the Junction and at Merchants of Green Coffee, with stock refreshed about once a week, and more locations under consideration.


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