Black Bear Espresso
Black Bear Espresso is an independent coffee shop hidden in 25 Carlton under towering residences. They brew Pilot coffee and other liquid delights in their homey oasis in the middle of Toronto's downtown hustle.
Black Bear is run by brother and sister team Adam and Jackie Meyler. Their parents owned cafes in Australia for twenty years. Adam has been a professional barista for ten years at Toronto institutions like Balzac's , and now he has his very own coffee shop.
From the moment you walk into Black Bear Espresso, the warm tones, tons of blonde wood, custom lighting, and counter placed at an angle against the wall rather than perpendicularly all make guests feel welcome.
Their cousin designed the logo, a silhouette of a black bear with an impression of a tree stump patterned over top.
Try starting off your morning with a latte ($3.95 - $4.20) enjoyed within the bosom of this little place. They serve their drinks in a variety of mugs when you stay in, from tall glasses and mason jars to round little ceramic cups.
They use Pilot's Heritage blend for espresso-based drinks, and their Ana Sora for brewed coffee. You can also pick up a bag for home starting at around $17.50. Two percent milk is in this latte, but they have coconut and almond options too. Adam likes Pilot's quality, consistency, and the fact that they've built up a reputation in the city.
Their pastries come from Sweet Line Pastries in Mississauga, like this chocolate croissant ($2.45).
Similar to the milks, they're not vegan themselves but want to give folks the option, with other vegan baked goods like those from Shockingly Healthy , developed by a holistic nutritionist and personal trainer, and Wow Factor , a gluten-free dessert line. Both are Canadian companies.
Of course, if you want to go in the other direction, or maybe have an adolescent girl in tow (or hey, just feel like one on the inside) you can go for their iced chocolate ($5.45), an Australian speciality you can find in the "floats" section of their menu. It's simply chocolate, milk, ice cream, and whipped cream (no coffee) and is sure to raise your pulse if you're more into sugar than caffeine.
Businesspeople looking for an intimate place to have a one-on-one meeting are already finding the place attractive. Check out apps like Ritual and Crema for delivery. Their washroom is extremely accessible, with push button operation.
Photos by Jesse Milns