De Mello at The Well
De Mello is one of Toronto's most popular coffee shops and roasteries.
The latest addition to the family is in a tucked away corner of one of Toronto's biggest new developments located at Spadina and Front: The Well.
Brothers Felix Cha and Won Ho Cha founded De Mello in 2013. Cha was born in South Korea and living in Australia, working in cafes in Melbourne, when he decided to come to Canada
"He was immediately struck by the fact that Toronto was missing a strong specialty coffee scene that blended great quality coffee with exceptional education and service," De Mello marketing manager Esther Jeon tells blogTO.
"De Mello Coffee now encompasses three cafes, Lab in Montreal, an entire specialty coffee roasting business, and a wholesale and e-commerce division too."
They opened at 2489 Yonge Street in April 2013. Their Montreal Lab was established in August 2017, before setting up their roastery and headquarters in July 2019. Then it was 824 St. Clair Ave W. in March 2021, and finally at The Well in January 2023.
All the locations have been going strong ever since, with the rare experience in Toronto of no locations ever having closed down.
"Long before The Well's main office tower was built to the height and beautiful finish you see now, we were in discussions with their management and leasing team on the opportunity to bring to their lobby a Toronto-based cafe," says Jeon.
"Specifically, we connected with them on a shared vision to build a place where tenants could naturally convene and connect with each other, and where local residents could share moments with each other."
You can still find the same amazing coffee at this De Mello location, like beverages made with their own line of roasts including single origin options and their canned "Nom Nom" cold brew, but the main difference at this location is that it's really their first one downtown.
"This space, nestled in The Well's beautifully architected lobby, also allowed for us to build a cafe with a sleeker and more modern design [that would] seamlessly fit in with the aesthetic of The Well," says Jeon.
"We've also built this location with a different type of customer flow in mind. For example, we've seen far more grab-and-go traffic with commuters and office tenants, and so we've adapted our bar design and menu to account for that."
That doesn't mean the menu has stayed static at De Mello after a decade, however, as they've been expanding their lineup with even more single origin roasts, as well as more limited edition and "innovation" roasts.
"We've always stayed true to our core values, of meticulously sourcing coffee from around the world, of using artisanal and novel roasting methods, of sharing our love of coffee with customers in an approachable and positive way, and of always innovating when it comes to what we source, how we roast it, and how we package it," says Jeon.
They've also launched a kitchen component supplying their own cafes and others with treats like cookies, biscotti, and chocolate in flavours like injeolmi and gochujang. There are also chewy caramels in flavours like matcha, London Fog, hazelnut and sea salt.
They also make their own baked goods like croissants in cheese, chocolate, almond, and ham and cheese varieties, as well as muffins with flavours such as blueberry, citrus cornmeal, banana chocolate and oatmeal walnut. For scone connoisseurs, they come in butter coconut, blueberry, triple cheese and strawberry flavours.
"We've also been able to offer customers more in terms of education and guides, events and collaborations, and several new coffee-related products across health and beauty, brew gear, merchandise, and the like," says Jeon.
"We want to open more cafes, to expand the possibilities of where people can enjoy our coffee. We also have new products and experiences up our sleeves, but we can't share too much about that just yet."