Hale Coffee is a roastery and coffee shop in the Junction Triangle neighbourhood, in the Clock Factory building that houses a mix of artists’ studios, businesses, fitness clubs, and more, and hosts other venerable Toronto coffee juggernaut Station Cold Brew.
Hale deals with the hot side of things primarily when it comes to beverages, but they also have a bunch of tasty meals and snacks for you plus an industrial vibe to help you get away from it all.
It’s run by Khaldoun Toukan, Khaled or “Rayy” Rayyan, and Ramzi Yanis, who all moved here from Jordan to pursue their studies before turning to what Toukan jokingly terms “the dark side.”
The space is big and industrial, perfectly suited for the needs of a combo roastery, cafe, restaurant and training facility. A garage door off to one side is perfect for loading and unloading without disrupting customers.
It all starts with green beans primarily selected by Yanis. Hale Coffee is all direct trade, mostly from countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Brazil. Hale was originally located around Spadina and Queen up a few floors, so transporting supplies and getting out orders wasn’t easy. Their roaster then also had a sixth the capacity of this Diedrich behemoth.
The beans then go through the process of roasting inside the machine, and whoever is roasting can plot the progress of the beans using software, adjusting the temperature and development time (how long after the beans “crack” and begin roasting endothermically rather than exothermically) to control the flavour of the beans.
At the end they’re dumped out and cooled.
Coffee is the reason we’re here, so we sample some cortados ($3.50) made with the core Hale Espresso, a blend of Brazilian, Nicaraguan, and Guatemalan beans. The cortado is really milky made with Harmony organic 3.8% milk, but well-balanced with just a hint of bitterness.
There are substantial grab and go options here, but you can also get made to order items like this red lentil, tomato and chickpea soup ($5) that’s peppery and homey but topped with some bright cilantro that lifts it up. It’s thick enough to almost approach a stew or a curry.
We try the turkey sandwich ($9.25) on OMG’s rosemary focaccia with cranberry sauce, which is simple but satisfying, served with a little complementary slaw on the side.
Furniture is funky and bright, and little succulents dot the tables. Cool geometric light fixtures and bulbs hang from the ceiling, and a foosball table in a corner is as much for the people working here as it is any playful coffee drinkers.