toronto cafes

The top 8 indie coffee chains in Toronto with more than 3 locations

There are plenty of indie coffee chains in Toronto with more than three locations, meaning you don't have to depend on Timmy's or Starbucks to find a convenient caffeine boost, whatever neighbourhood you're in. These places often have higher standards, calmer environments, and way more personal service.

Here are my picks for indie coffee chains in Toronto with more than three locations.


Now with locations on Ossington, in Union Station, at King and Bay, and at Wagstaff and Greenwood, this popular roaster is easily recognized by its cute paper plane motif and bold sense of style. 

Boxcar Social

Not only does this cafe serve coffee all day and booze late into the night, they do so all over the city at their spots at Harbourfront, on Temperance, near Summerhill station and in Riverside


The Distillery District, Dovercourt Village, Yonge and Bloor, Liberty Village, Ryerson campus, St Lawrence Market, and Union Station all have outposts of this Toronto coffee heavyweight. 

Wallace Espresso 

King West, St. Clair West, Dupont and of course the nominal Wallace now all have coffee pockets of minimalist heaven where you can pick up Black Cat breakfast sandwiches.


A safe haven for studying can be found at locations of this cafe on McCaul, Portland, in Kensington, on Gerrard West, Queen West and on Ossington. They also go beyond the usual drip with original seasonal drinks. 

Sam James 

Locations of this cafe in Chinatown, across from Trinity Bellwoods, on King West, in Harbord Village and on Toronto Street may be known for their tiny size, but they somehow become pillars of the community and consummate hangouts, serving their own Cut Coffee roast. 

Dark Horse 

The Canary District, Chinatown, Riverside, Richmond and Spadina, Geary, and John Street each have their own, often quite spacious version of this smart cafe. 

JJ Bean

Locations of this Vancouver-based cafe on Eglinton, St. Clair West, Adelaide West, and on Bartley in East York have a sleek chain feel with indie passion and quality behind their roasting and coffee preparation.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez at Pilot on Ossington

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