Martin Espresso Bar
Martin Espresso Bar is a bright-lit, brick-walled cafe in Junction Triangle just down the street from its partner Ethica Coffee Roasters.
The spot on the corner of Bloor and Sterling replaces Noble Coffee, offering sandwiches, pastries and specialty coffees made with Ethica beans.
Yana Miriev opened Martin Espresso Bar, as well as the new Finch Store, with the help of Gregory Koifman from Ethica. Miriev's husband met the Ethica founder while doing renovations and electrical work at his coffee shop.
Cappuccinos ($5) and all other two-shot espresso-based drinks are made with nutty, chocolatey Brazilian Toriba Natural beans.
Drip options work well with a blend of Brazilian and Ethiopian beans, and a nicely balanced El Salvadoran El Recuerdo is used for brewed coffee.
A high quality whole milk from Sheldon Creek Dairy makes for a thick, creamy cappuccino and offsets the fruity finish of the Brazilian espresso. There are also milk alternatives available including almond, oat and lactose-free options.
The drink menu is the same as what you're used to over at Ethica, with a number of cold drinks available for the warmer months.
An espresso tonic ($7.50) mixes espresso with a three-quarter-full glass of chilled Fever-Tree tonic. The bubbliness from the tonic, complemented by the bitter coffee taste, offers an instant wake-me-up from the first sip.
Vanilla raf ($7.50), also sometimes called a Russian coffee, is a combination of espresso, cream and vanilla sugar.
It's extremely creamy and the little black specks all over the froth reassure anyone drinking the sweet drink that it's made with nothing other than all-natural vanilla.
The most surprising drink on the menu has to be the bumble ($7.50) made with double espresso and fresh-squeezed orange juice. The OJ overpowers the espresso, with just a little coffee aftertaste.
The orange juice is also sold by the bottle alongside six other flavours including peach iced tea, grapefruit and apple blueberry cherry. All of the cold-pressed juices are made locally and with natural ingredients.
Pastries are sourced from Toronto-based Hadrien Patisserie including butter, chocolate, almond and ham and cheese croissants, hazelnut financiers and apple turnovers.
The apple turnover ($4.50) has a thin puff pastry crust, that exposes a naturally-sweetened apple sauce when you rip it open.
There are also a few house sandwiches, which are made fresh every morning and warmed up per order. The most popular has to be the turkey brie ($9.50) with thinly-sliced apples.
If none of the housemade options suit your tastes, maybe one from Donna's will ($9 to $12).
Grab one of the freshly delivered bread rolls from Blackbird on your way out the door. There are a few different varieties available including the popular sourdough and seeded ($5 to $7 depending on the bread).
The black and yellow storefront on Bloor West is hard to miss, just look for the yellow sign bearing a martin bird.