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Best of Toronto

The Best Coffee Roasters in Toronto

Posted by Erinn Beth Langille / December 9, 2013

Coffee Roasters TorontoThe best coffee roasters in Toronto reminds one of the glitch that exists in this city's duel obsessions with sustainability and indie cafes. While we love our coffee, we can't grow it here, leaving us with a little moral quandary about heavy consumption of our favourite cup. Since coffee production is located in the tropics, there is potential exploitation of land and workers, CO2 emissions in travel and roasting, and heavy packaging to consider.

Hence the rise of Toronto's local coffee roasters where attention can be paid to directly sourced, fairly traded beans expertly roasted in the area, using the greenest technology to lower the environmental impact of coffee drinking. This search for the increasingly ethical and fresh has only enhanced the flavour profiles of coffee available here. What feels good, and is good, tastes good too.

Here are the best coffee roasters in Toronto.

See also:

The best cafes in Toronto (West Side)
The best cafes in Toronto (East Side)
The best late night cafes in Toronto
The best Americano in Toronto
The best cappuccino in Toronto
The best cafe patios in Toronto

Pilot Coffee Roasters
The brainchild of Andy and Jessie Wilkins, Pilot Coffee beans are used at their own Te Aro locations and a number of high profile cafes across Toronto and Canada. This roaster methodically sources beans through Direct Trade and roasts these varietals with the utmost care at their new roasting facility near their Leslieville cafe.

Social Coffee and Tea Company
Social Coffee and Tea. Who would have thought you could start a revolution in Richmond Hill? This well-respected roasting company consistently places in the top tier of several international roasting competitions and their premier blends of socially conscious roasted beans are also winners at home. Their blends People's Daily and People's Liberation, amongst others, have coffee drinkers united in celebration. Available at Dineen Coffee and many other local spots.

Pig Iron RoastersPig Iron Roasters
As Joe Angellotti's passion for coffee grew with the success of his two Lit Espresso Bars, he turned his attention to roasting and began Pig Iron Roasters. Named after the vintage Probat roaster they had shipped from Barcelona and rebuilt in Oklahoma before setting up in Mississauga, the beans can be cupped at any Lit location, and their Steel Wheel espresso blend has a loyal following.

Cut Coffee
Think great coffee in Toronto and you think Sam James, Sam James Coffee Bar and now his baby, Cut Coffee. Funnelling his obsession with all things caffeinated into roasting, he has set up shop in the Junction. After months of testing, Cut is served at all SJCB extensions, and it's no surprise he highlights beans from places, like Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, that are a bit off-the-beaten-path. Cutting edge, indeed.

Detour Coffee
Detour Coffee has a cafe in Dundas and a roasting warehouse in Burlington, but as the supplier of beans for such indie coffee darlings as Dark Horse, we've come to consider these roasters our very own. They focus on great coffee roasting and brewing through sustainable practices, using a combination of direct trade and importers, and a Loring Smart Roaster, "the greenest roaster on the market."

De Mello Palheta
De Mello Palheta, around Yonge and Eglinton, is the product of Melbourne-trained Korean Brothers Felix and Won Cha who roast their select beans in a state-of-the-art roaster at the back of their eponymous cafe. Try their Dancing Goat or Deadman Walking blends before taking some home. The physical closeness of the roasting process to the brewing and cupping experience makes for a coffee lover's dream.

Sense Appeal Coffee beansSense Appeal
Sense Appeal Coffee Roasters is known for its scientific approach to coffee brewing and the bean treatment is no different. A former sommelier heads the coffee program and with his love of experimentation Sense Appeal has some unusual flavour profiles but two potent favourites remain - GN, their single origin espresso, and AG, their blended espresso.

Merchants of Green / Fresh Coffee Network
This roaster lives up to its green moniker. With blends for the Jane Goodall Institute, The Stop and the Evergreen charity, not only are beans ethically sourced and locally roasted in their Riverside location, but money from each pound sold goes back to the organizations to help them with chimpanzee protection, greening urban environments and sustainable food systems education.

Classic Gourmet Coffee
John Rufino's engineering background inspired him to create the most nearly perfect roasting process imaginable - an all-stainless steel plant in Concord that recycles the heat from its roasters to increase energy efficiency. Since coffee's footprint is hardly small - as long as we can't grow it here, transportation will always be a factor - Classic tries to make what goes on here as low-emission as possible, while maximizing pure flavour. It's worked, and customers include Bulldog Coffee, Cava, Woodlot, George and the Gladstone.

Photos by Morris Lum and Jesse Milns



me / December 9, 2013 at 02:17 pm
give me a break.
Anne / December 9, 2013 at 02:29 pm
You missed The Village Roaster on Kingston Rd near Markham Rd. Fair Trade, roasted on site and can do custom roasts.
tt / December 9, 2013 at 02:36 pm
Nice list. My fave is the Coffee Tree in Bloor West Village (at Jane), their small batch roasts are excellent and well-balanced. Plus, they're super friendly ($18-$20/lb).
Moonbeam in Kensigton Market is another good source of locally roasted beans. Local, tastes good, and rather cheap (around $10/lb).
tt / December 9, 2013 at 02:37 pm
toomuchcoffeeman / December 9, 2013 at 02:50 pm
Pilot Roasters also deliver their beans around the city using a cargo bicycle. way cool. I pick up their beans at Lazy Daisy's on gerrard.
nb / December 9, 2013 at 04:56 pm
You are aware that it's Merchants of Green Coffee, not just Merchants of Green, right?
CKS / December 9, 2013 at 08:01 pm
Mountainview coffee company should DEFINITELY be on here. They've got fantastic coffee and the owners are really nice. I was just someone who happened to walk into their cafe and even though I obviously wasn't going to do business with them, they took the time out to explain to me the complete process of coffee roasting, the freshness of all the beans, where they get the beans from, and which coffee would be best suited for my taste. Also, they're coffee is ridiculously good. People in the cafe, who were also really friendly, told me how far out of the way they go just to get their brew from Mountainview. They have like 754823507238907 kind a well. Ya'll are craaaaaaaaaaaazy
MF / December 9, 2013 at 08:39 pm
Carvalho coffe has the best coffee. This place roasts Brazilian Specialty Coffee, you should try.
Michelle / December 9, 2013 at 08:43 pm
You guys missed the up and coming Hale Coffee Roasters, they're brining great quality to T.O
Ajc33 / December 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm
I agree with CKS that mountain view needs to be on this list. They serve it up at the morning glory and it never ceases to impress me. Great brew.
Dimitry / December 9, 2013 at 10:50 pm
Can't miss ideal coffee! Some of the best organic beans in the city for my espresso machine come from here. (Around $16/lb)
markosaar / December 10, 2013 at 09:56 am
Another vote for Moonbean. Admittedly I've only been to a couple of the places on this list. I really like the beans from Ezra's Pound too, but I'm not clear on who is roasting them, or where they're being roasted.
Ken / December 10, 2013 at 01:49 pm
I'm confused by the Social Coffee and Tea Company. Their name and branding suggest that they are socially-conscious, yet nowhere on their site do they mention if their beans are fair trade. They make mention of the 'heroic farmer" but not whether they pay them a living wage. Many of these other roasters are very clear about their ethics and practices on their site -- what's the deal with Social?
Solabusca / December 10, 2013 at 03:50 pm
What, no Spitfire? What did Cherry Bomb do to BlogTO to get knocked off BOTH the Roasters list AND Best Cafe in the West End?
J MURRAY / December 10, 2013 at 05:43 pm
AND....No mention of Dark City Coffee, who actually roasts the coffee for Ideal and Merchants of Green Coffee...One of the oldest boutique roasters in the city. Over 80 varietals at any one time. Also, they bring in Feminino Blends...women-only enterprises that harvest exquisite coffees. Dark City is the first to recognize and promote these plantations. blogto: do your research.
yyzgirl / December 11, 2013 at 01:10 am
Agreed on Dark City - they also deliver! We've been ordering from them since 2007 - call by noon and they deliver fresh-roasted beans the next day. No delivery fee on 2 pounds or more. Delicious espresso roast. BlogTO favorably reviewed in 2010 but may have forgotten about them.
yyzgirl / December 11, 2013 at 01:10 am
Agreed on Dark City - they also deliver! We've been ordering from them since 2007 - call by noon and they deliver fresh-roasted beans the next day. No delivery fee on 2 pounds or more. Delicious espresso roast. BlogTO favorably reviewed in 2010 but may have forgotten about them.
Vanessa / December 12, 2013 at 01:46 pm
You missed Everyday Gourmet Coffee Roasters in St. Lawrence Market also.
They've been there since the 1970s, an amazing family-owned business roasting onsite every single day.
Amazing variety, knowledgable staff and many fair trade and organic options. They really know their stuff!
Andrew / December 12, 2013 at 02:16 pm
Hey, you guys should really check out There a new coffee service which delivers coffee beans to your front door. There still in the early stages, but im giving them a chance and trying it out for the first month. You guys should check it out.
Candice / December 15, 2013 at 07:30 pm
Alternative Grounds should really be on this list! Especially since the cafe has now closed so it's 100% a roasting business these days:

And of course, Crema has a new roasting business that BlogTO actually wrote about back in September... Propeller Coffee Co.
Khaled Rayyan / December 18, 2013 at 02:04 pm
check our Toronto's newest roaster. Hale Coffee Company on Queen & Spadina is now serving The Tango Palace & The Mad Bean (some of the bigger espresso bars around town) while also catering to a host of restaurants, bars and brunch spots.

They do sell online, either singular buys or on a subscription based service. Freshly roasting and delivering.

javalover / January 11, 2014 at 04:04 pm
Dark City Coffee roasts daily and delivers! They have many fair trade options roasted as want. Always delicious.
me / January 12, 2014 at 02:44 pm
user-pic full of beans???
Michael / January 12, 2014 at 05:09 pm
Congrats to all the roasters on this list. Please contact me if you are interested in getting your coffee packaged as K-Cups at
Lily / January 13, 2014 at 12:11 am
I love the coffee from Muldoon's coffee. They roast it right onsite and its the freshest coffee I've ever tasted. And they make 100% biodegradable singles, now I don't feel guilty throwing away so much plastic like I used to with my Kuereg.
Darrin / January 22, 2014 at 11:07 am
Balzac's roasts some damn fine coffee. They're not headquartered in Toronto I guess, but you can certainly get their coffee here. Give it a try if you haven't.

Oh, and +1 for Propeller!
Chris / January 23, 2014 at 10:40 am
Seriously? Have you guys been to full of beans?
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Jorge Umana / January 30, 2014 at 06:26 pm
We are coffee farmers from Tarrazu, Costa Rica and we have an office here in Toronto, the address is as follows:

DON EVELIO Coffee Company.
48 Finch Ave. W, Willowdale, Toronto, Ontario Canada
Telephone: +647 706 1560
Mobile: +416 816 7961

We roast highland coffee in small batches and sell it by the pound. Just give us a call and we will prepare a bag for you
dylan / February 2, 2014 at 04:49 pm
i don't know what all the hype is about detours? bought some beans at their burlington roaster and when i get home, i find out that they're half roasted. not really worth it to go back and get an exchange. should've just bought beans at least their coffee is drinkable.
Greg A. / February 13, 2014 at 12:21 am
This list is dubious at best, you could have easily done with half the roasters on this list. Social coffee is only popular because of it's wholesale price to coffee shops. Cut Coffee is too new to bother including, and in my experience has been too inconsistent to warrant any of the hype around it. Merchants of Green has a good ideology but their coffee is way below average.
Ron Davis / March 22, 2014 at 09:27 am
Lukas / April 1, 2014 at 08:50 am
I don't know anything about roasters, but I only not far away discovered that coffee machines are also important and not only talking about taste, but also about health. Friend of mine, who is a doctor told me that the best way to prepare healthy coffee is espresso machine. It is because then coffee is burned less and do not make toxins. I trusted him and I believe it was the best decission I have ever made. Here you can see my coffee machine- Philips Saeco aparatai :) Believe me, every coffee lover should do the same
J replying to a comment from Lukas / April 19, 2014 at 02:28 pm
That doesn't make sense at all and sounds like some exceptional pseudoscience.

The only tangible difference between an espresso machine and other forms of brewing is the pressure at which the coffee grounds are extracted at (typically >9 bar). Regardless of brewing method your water should be in the range of 195-205F which will not 'burn' the beans. The problem with cheaper coffee makers is that they do not get the water hot enough nor do they distribute the water over the grounds consistently for an even extraction, or the ones with hot plates begin ruining the coffee in the carafe after it's brewed.

With an espresso machine you can actually burn the grounds if you fill the portafilter too high and touch the element, but I'd be more concerned with the poor taste than any supposed toxins.
Phil / May 20, 2014 at 05:08 pm
Pilot... it's not even close.
ruyoung / May 28, 2014 at 10:14 am
How could you miss Full of Beans on Dundas West for this list? The scent in the neighbourhood is divine.

It's now brewed in a number of coworking spaces in Toronto too.
Patrick McGowan / May 31, 2014 at 08:31 am
Some of these coffees are just wretched. Burnt, sour, unbalanced. Rated by people who don't know how to taste coffee. A list so bad, I'm ready to unfollow blogTO.
Kelly / July 5, 2014 at 01:56 pm
Alternative Grounds Roastery. The cafe closed down but they still roast and their beans are sold at JUNCTION FROMAGERIE, Mabel's, Evergreen, Sunny Joe's, Good Catch, West End Food Coop and Nuthouse.
Igor / August 11, 2014 at 02:15 pm
i love a good coffee
Nelson / September 20, 2014 at 08:56 pm
I tried dark city coffee based on some recommendations and the ability to choose the roast level. I noticed that all over the website they mentioned that if I am not satisfied with my order they would send another one free of charge, so I figured I had nothing to lose even though they are a bit more expensive than the beans I usually get and love at pilot.

I had ordered a medium roast and the beans showed up very dark and labelled as "Vienna roast". Most sources consider that to be a dark roast and I couldn't taste any of the characteristics of the bean. No problem, I figured, different people have different opinions of what is dark and what is medium. So I wrote politely and asked if maybe there was a mistake. No they said, Vienna is the medium. So I asked for an order of the light roast as my replacement since I wasn't satisfied.

They refused to live up to the guarantee written all over the website and would not send me my replacement. I could understand this if they had no guarantee on the website, but this seems like false advertising to me.
Andrew replying to a comment from Ken / October 18, 2014 at 06:55 am
@ Ken:
Check out the difference between Fair Trade and Direct trade, which Social is. Fair Trade is a trade mark, a corporate brand. There have been several studies recently which cast doubt on the positive impact that Fair Trade claims to impart.
kiran / November 26, 2014 at 03:12 pm
I am organic coffee producers and suppliers . These coffee are grown ,processed and packaged in Nepal . The world Highest altitude grown coffee and organic certified .
I am introducing these product in Canada . Looking support and help from the coffee lovers like you all.

Parachute Coffee / November 28, 2014 at 11:58 am
My name is Applebee McFriday and I am a very satisfied customer of Parachute Coffee because they have the best beans.

I have been a real person customer of since the beginning, because they are amazing and handsome. Oh and charming too. They seem like real straight shooters.

Every month they feature a different small-batch Canadian coffee roaster, and ship it to your door. Roast and ship same day. Sign me up again why don't ya!

We're Canada's coffee of the month club!
I mean "they're".... They're Canada's coffee of the month club.


- PC
Parachute Coffee / November 28, 2014 at 11:58 am
I am Cornelius J. Farnesworth.

I am also a real person and couldn't agree more with Applebee's review.

Parachute coffee is #1
Frances / November 29, 2014 at 09:15 pm
I enjoy going to Detour in Dundas, Ontario. I enjoy the atmosphere and their coffee. To the person who posted that they had a not-so-pleasant experience picking up their beans; I would be marching them back. Why wouldn't you?
Jessica R / November 30, 2014 at 10:54 am
I realize etobicoke is almost literally the end of the earth for you guys, but down here in the west beaches we have some lovely roasters. Birds and beans in mimico, 2 locations of fair grounds in long branch and we even have our very own sense appeal in new toronto!
joe miller / December 3, 2014 at 09:18 am
where can you buy the largest assortment of green coffee beans at the best prices in the GTA area?
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KingstonRdVillageResidents / January 31, 2015 at 11:16 am
Pilot is available at MadHus in Kingston Road Village! 982 Kingston Rd, north side, a couple blocks west of Victoria Park.
Mark H. / February 6, 2015 at 10:50 pm
I've started ordering from a new roaster called Coast to Coast Coffee. They deliver fresh roasted, organic coffee directly to me, and they offer free shipping. Good prices too. I'm on a bi-weekly recurring plan, but they also have weekly and monthly plans, depending on how much coffee you drink. Check them out at
Jake C. / March 11, 2015 at 05:22 pm
Been ordering shipments from a coffee roaster in Hamilton called Straight Razor Roasting. They offer a monthly coffee subscription with a rotation selection of single-origin beans. Great coffee. Website is here:
Arby / March 28, 2015 at 05:59 am
The article is filler. It's not bad filler, but it's still filler. There's little info here. There could have been a good review of coffee roasters and the roasting biz here, rather than the easy discussion of top roasters, of which there are only a few around, locally. Reunion might not show up in many indie shops, but it's big. How do you get big? You start small. The article could have talked about some of the smaller roasters, like Velvet Sunrise. Whether you like the coffee or not, it, and other starters, should be part of the conversation about local roasters, who, I might add, deserve our support (which doesn't preclude criticism) so that they might get bigger. Is local good? Well then?

Also, It's hard to assess coffee - just knowing a roaster exists tells us nothing - when a roaster's coffee isn't around. There's few indie shops cranking out CUT and Social. I can't fairly assess CUT when I rarely drink it because it's not in many shops and the few shops it's in are off the beaten track. Even Social, which I've had more of, is hard to find. Social can be awesome. Sam James knows coffee, as does Andy at Pilot. Still...

Bad coffee changes less than good coffee. Starbucks is consistently mediocre. Pilot is up and down. You could compare within those parameters, I suppose. Who's coffee is up more often? Right now, I'm enjoying Detour more than other coffee.

There's lots to discuss. There's many issues. For a discussion of free trade and direct trade coffee, Matt Earley, with Just Coffee Cooperative (Madison Wisconsin-based), is the best source of information. As with coffee, the bottom line is the cup, not the rules. The cup is either good (leaving out the social responsibility dimension) or it's not. Same thing applies to fair and direct trade models. What helps the first producers most? Give it whatever label you like. It 'will' be fair, whether or not it falls under the category of 'fair trade', a movement, I might add, that's been subverted by big players like Starbucks.
Adam C / April 9, 2015 at 03:13 pm
I've been ordering coffee from Dark City Coffee Company for several years and they provide the best organic fair trade coffee in Toronto.

They provide exceptional customer service and I always enjoy speaking with their fantastic staff about coffee recommendations and they have extensive knowledge about coffee and roasting.

Jully, Ryan and Dave have always been accommodating, deliveries are extremely fast and the coffee is as fresh as it gets.

I highly recommend them as the best coffee roasters in Toronto.
Carolyn Stanley / April 26, 2015 at 10:22 pm
I am from Australia and will soon be visiting Canada. Thank goodness for these coffee roasts. I will have to try these brands to taste it myself and see what these coffee have to offer. I am hoping to find a good roast among the brands mentioned. I want to taste the difference of a Canadian roast from Australian roast.
Flick replying to a comment from Solabusca / May 24, 2015 at 07:42 pm
Cherry Bomb have terrible inconsistent lattes and their coffees aren't better either. I end up dumping it in the garbage outside when I get yet another bad shot. I never learn.

I have no idea why people line up there except that it looks like a hipster place.

Dark Horse or Bulldog Lattes are proper great lattes and they tend to be more consistent.
Ricky / June 5, 2015 at 03:35 pm
Been looking at all these coffee roasters who say they do direct trade, which for the most part isn't possible. Love it how they say that they imported green beans when all they have done is buy them from a big green coffee importer. The importer they deal with does do the deals with the farmers while these roaster lie to consumers about their trade practises. Most of the micro roasters are just a new breed of scammers finding ways to charge more for a cup of brew. Have you ever asked them for a bill of lading from origin? Or a invoice from the farm? They can't provide it cause they never did deal directly with anyone at origin.
olivia / June 14, 2015 at 01:03 am
im glad there is a discussion here about ethics. i find it strange how little there is though. if a coffee tastes great, that's nice. nice for your tongue. but if it's at the expense of farmers being underpaid, it shouldn't be supported. there is no excuse for this anymore. less "me first" attitude. things are changing slowly.
Ricky / July 1, 2015 at 08:59 pm
Been looking more into detail about some of what these coffee roasters are doing, feel that they are miss-representing the coffees they sell. Some claim to be experts, but don't even know and A and B about the beans they sell. For example a roaster has his Kenyan coffee listed as grown at at elevation of 5000 metres above seal level! Not much coffee grows that high and the region it comes from Muranga is only 1400-1600 metres high.
Other roasters say direct trade is good, but all they are doing is paying the farmer and then getting large AMERICAN importers to bring in the coffee take care of all the logistics, so what difference does it make if a roaster buys from a importer? Most of the time these type of direct trade models harm the farmer cause these roasters try and set many conditions for them and then pay the a measly 75 cents more then fair trade premium. The small micro roasters who do direct trade are more like street hustlers, while the larger roasters who can afford to often don't do it. Again ask your roaster for a bill of lading from origin, ask them to show you the contracts, if they say it's direct trade.
Fair trade may have its flaws but there are many controls in place and these keep roasters from making false claims. I would not ever buy from a small roaster claiming they do Direct Trade , cause it is most likely bologne. Also if a roaster doesn't know the basics of the coffees they bought what are the chances they are really doing direct trade?
Colchester / February 2, 2016 at 03:57 pm
Time to learn about Direct Trade:

Yes, it's difficult to broker the trade of coffee itself. For a micro-roaster this isn't their job, and the legalities and logistics of importing the coffee make no sense. Of course there is a broker involved. (I have seen plenty of Bills of Lading lying around with micro-roasters though, as the broker gives them a copy... duh... they need to know how/when their container of green beans is arriving.)

Direct trade means the roaster (or the green buyer that works for the roaster) have TRAVELLED TO ORIGIN. Met the farmers, tasted the coffee, made relationships, seen the working conditioned, shared a beer. In some cases Canadian roasting companies pay for washing stations at these farms, and even schools for the larger Direct Trade relationships.

They are usually escorted by the broker - because this is how it works in the industry. The farmers are paid more because the commodity trading is removed, and the Fair Trade people don't take their cut.

Fair Trade generally means untraceable commodity market coffee that a private company has put a stamp on to say the farmer has been paid marginally more. The roaster has never been to origin, met the farmer, seen the working conditions. The coffee is not as high quality as something that has been hand selected from a single farm.

Please stop spreading misinformation and calling the micro-roasters and direct trade roasters "scammers". It costs WAY more money to bring in good quality direct trade coffee (not to mention the travel costs), and the drinks can't be sold for much more money than Starbucks and the lower quality cafes. It's not a get-rich-quick industry, that's for sure.

Myra / March 29, 2016 at 11:55 am
Hi guys,

Please have a look at Harenna Coffee Co. - They are based in Oakville and sell organic coffee which is roasted and packaged in Ethiopian. 1lb bag sells for $14.95 and they offer free shipping on orders over $45. Very intense and deep flavour, perfect for espresso shot!

Myra / March 29, 2016 at 11:55 am
Here is a link:
kelly / March 29, 2016 at 12:19 pm
None of these roasters can beat a simple cup of coffee in Italy... I dunnoif its the vibe, water or just coffee is different.
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