The Best Coffee Roasters in Toronto
The best coffee roasters in Toronto know how to keep caffeine fiends happy, with knowledgeably and responsibly sourced beans that are expertly roasted locally. These aromatic goods can be found in better indie coffee shops around town touting hometown pride, although most of these roasters also have cafes of their own, where everything is prepared exactly the way they intended it to be - perfect.
Here are the best coffee roasters in Toronto.
Sam James, a.k.a. Toronto's coffee king, is the man behind these lovingly roasted beans used in all his eponymous shops around town. Bags of these seasonal single-origin beans and espresso blends (decaf, too) can be purchased at each outpost, and trust me, once you've tried the stuff, you'll want a bag (or 10).
A beloved coffee brand and bean-provider-of-choice at many an indie cafe around the city (it's well known for its Big Bro espresso blend), Pilot offers two-bags-per-month subscriptions for true addicts. It also has its own coffee shops: Te Aro in Leslieville, Crafted on Ossington, a kiosk at Union Station and a state-of-the-art tasting bar at its roastery in the east end.
This roaster, affiliated with the Crema cafes, is relatively newer to the coffee bean scene and was named 2016 Micro-Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine. The roastery, housed in a former metal factory, is located in the Junction Triangle and doubles as a cafe and event space.
Another roaster that's now found in the Junction Triangle, Hale's wares can be consumed at the pour-over-centric Clockwork in the Financial District, Crosstown at Yonge & Eg, Cafe Moi in Yorkville or in your own home through its online shop, where beans are roasted per order.
De Mello Palheta
In addition to its eponymous cafe near Yonge & Eg, these select beans (roasted at the back of the shop) are used to make coffee at some of the finer java establishments in the 6ix, including Neo Coffee Bar, Sorry Coffee Co. and Tokyo Smoke. A couple of Melbourne-trained brothers are the masterminds behind this brand named after a Portuguese coffee purveyor.
With espresso names like People's Liberation and Farmer's Collective, it's not surprising that Richmond Hill-based roaster Social Coffee & Tea Co. is serious about its socially conscious coffee. It's also serious about meticulously roasting and cupping its beans to ensure the highest quality, of which you can judge for yourself at the various cafes it supplies.
Classic Gourmet/Rufino Espresso
If you visit enough coffee establishments around this city, there is a 100% chance you will encounter John Rufino's Classic Gourmet Rufino Espresso, as it's the go-to bean for many here (these are just a few drops in the bucket). It's been around since 1974, and it's known for its environmentally friendlier custom roasting technology.
Dark City Coffee
Scarborough-based Dark City is one of the GTA's top roasters. Founder and owner David Thompson (who was also involved in the founding of The Coffee Tree) started it up back in 1987, and it's got its customer service plan perfected: weekday phone orders of freshly roasted bags are delivered to your door the next day. Spots like Cherry Bomb, Extra Butter and D-Beatstro also use its beans.
Founded by Joe Angellotti, who also co-owns the Lit Espresso Bars with his sister Nicole, this roastery in Mississauga is named after the vintage Probat roaster that was shipped over from Barcelona by way of Oklahoma. Pig Iron offers a no-frills selection of beans that include a couple of single origins, its Steel Wheel espresso blend and Decaf Wolf.
This long-time Toronto roaster recently went through a refreshing rebrand and opened up its own flagship cafe on Roncesvalles. With over two decades of roasting experience, this Oakville-based roaster is passionate about its offerings, with a focus on sustainability.
Photo of Pilot Coffee Roasters by Jesse Milns.