By Tiffany Wong
Have some quiet reading and studying to do? Need a free WiFi spot? Or maybe just a place to people watch for a couple of hours, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea (for the non-coffee drinker) and browse your Facebook profile (if you have one)?
Toronto has a one-of-a-kind, independent coffee & tea shop scene that breaks out of the usual coffee chain routine. As a Torontonian born and bred, I can tell you that getting a quiet jolt of coffee or tea can be a much needed break in an otherwise bustling city.
Most of these establishments will have free WiFi and all will certainly have character as they are nestled in some of the coziest neighbourhoods that Toronto has to offer. I’ve included links to Yelp if you would like to check out reviews posted by its online community.
And if you’re into social media research, be sure to check out the APLIC session on “Social Media I: the Opportunities” on Monday afternoon which I will be presenting along with Julie Anderson and Mercedes Lee.
My Top 5 Coffee & Tea Cafes in Toronto
- Dark Horse Espresso – Located on Spadina Ave. in Chinatown on the ground floor of the Centre for Social Innovation, this coffee shop has charming woodsy décor and, in my opinion, the best, thickest latte foam done the right way.
- Moonbean Coffee – Located in Kensington Market next to Chinatown, this low-key place tucked away in a corner, offers some solid loose-leaf tea selections in addition to coffee. From there, you can explore pedestrian-friendly side-streets for vintage clothing stores and fresh fruit stalls in the market.
- Snakes & Lattes – Located on the edge of Koreatown on Bloor St. West, this unique coffee shop allows you to rent a wide selection of board games (even Jenga)! It’s very popular, especially in the evenings, so I’d recommend making an online reservation on their website.
- Balzac’s Coffee Roastery – Located in the Distillery District, this upscale coffee shop is also dangerously close to one of the best chocolate shops in the city, Soma Chocolatemaker, where you can pause for some sweet treats.
- Green Beanery – Located in The Annex, walking distance from the University of Toronto, this spacious hangout claims to have the greatest selection of coffee equipment. It also serves coffee, tea and a direct view of Honest Ed’s, Toronto’s flashy, landmark department store famous for selling random kitsch for $1 and finding customers perpetually lost in its maze-like interior.