coffee trends

8 Toronto coffee trends to watch out for in 2016

Rebelling against cookie-cutter outposts like Starbucks, Tim Horton's (God bless Canada) and Coffee Time, locally-owned coffee shops are elevating the stakes with homemade baked goods, hybrid offerings and baristas doubling as mad scientists.

Here are some trends coming to a Toronto cafe near you in 2016.

Coffee shops go beyond coffee
Goodbye drink-only coffee shops. There's a new wave of hybrid cafes offering everything from hand-crafted wood pieces, cannabis paraphernalia, clothing, comics, board games, video games, painting workshops and cocktail bars.

Independent cafes will go mainstream
Open one coffee shop, and then two, three, four and five; build an empire! With cafes multiplying by the year, local coffee owners are finding new neighbourhoods to infiltrate with coffee and one-of-a-kind concepts. Just last year, Café Neon opened its third location on Queen, Jimmy's opened its fourth on Ossington, and Pilot opened its fourth at Union Station.

Brunch will be served
"We serve brunch now!" says every coffee shop in 2016. Not surprisingly, coffee shops will roll out brunch menus to cater to the hungover late-morning crowds craving coffee and gourmet whatever. Eat brunch, stay for the coffee, spend more money. Everybody is winning, I think?

Pet-friendly cafes (and cat themes) will flourish
With Toronto's latest TOT The Cat Café, there's new hope for pet owners looking to grab a quick coffee with furry friends. Safe to say, Toronto's weird obsession with cat-themed décor will never die; special shout out to Grey Tiger's cat-themed bathroom wallpaper.

Roasters outside of Toronto will try to steal the spotlight
With locals brands like Pilot, Propeller, Cut and Social becoming ubiquitous at Toronto coffee shops, cafes will continue to try to differentiate their offerings by featuring beans from roasters like Calgary's Phil & Sebastian and Nova Scotia's Anchored Coffee.

Pour-over stations will become standard
Last year, Quantum Coffee purchased Canada's first-ever automatic Pour Steady machine, a $12,000 pour-over station serving 5 cups of coffee simultaneously. Other cafes like Clockwork Coffee focus exclusively on pour-over to serve customers who don't mind waiting a few minutes for the bolder flavour.

Carbonated cold brew will take over
Station Cold Brew leads the way for cold brew coffee with a wholesale distribution model that's landed them in every shelf in the city. Now with the lead up to summer, coffee shop owners are brewing signature cold-brew blends (watch out for Tucana Coffee), many of which will be carbonated to give cold-brew a creamy flavour like a Guinness Stout.

Everything will be made from scratch
Many Toronto cafes will return to old-school baking with a whole new menu of savoury and sweet pastries, muffins, croissants, pies, sandwiches and more, all made from scratch. Taste the magic of homemade baked goods at Fool Coffee, Empire Espresso, Manic Coffee and Neo Coffee Bar.

What coffee trends did I miss? Add your suggestions to the comments.

Photo of Neo Coffee Bar by Morris Lum.


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