Cafe: RISE Espresso
Address: 107 Mutual St.
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30 AM - 6:30 PM, Sat 9 AM - 5 PM, Sun 10 AM - 4 PM
Study Appropriate?: No
Stamp Cards?: Yes
Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: Almond and lactose-free (coconut milk alternative)
- Types of almond milk: original, chocolate, vanilla and can be sweetened or unsweetened
- Serves with organic milk
- Serves organic juices
- Serves Fentiman's botanically-brewed beverages
- For the fall season, serving: organic hot apple cider
- Rise Espresso's specialty drink: Canadiano (americano made with coconut milk)
Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: Only gluten-free at the moment
- Serves Pow Cookies (gluten-free option; made from brown rice powder) from Desmond and Beatrice
- Snacks available
- Lunch options, such as paninis-to-go and salads, will be launched in winter 2012 with vegan and vegetarian options!
- Bring in new customers to receive freebies!
12 oz. Canadiano, $2.50 with coconut milk + $0.50
Choice of Drink: Tea Latte, $4.75
When I first found out about RISE Espresso last winter, I was excited to try it out. At the time, there were little independent cafes on the Ryerson campus (Bull Dog Coffee anyone?). However, I failed trying to locate the cafe twice during the winter (which I went late at night both times). It was only later in broad daylight that I found the tiny cafe nestled among with the other buildings, located behind the Ryerson's engineering building.
Immediately walking in, RISE Espresso gave off that grab-and-go vibe, considering the limited amount of sitting space and the size of the cafe itself. You could read a novel by the window if you'd like but to be able to pull out a laptop and a couple of textbooks would be a no-no. Taking a look at the menu for the Indie Coffee Passport holders, I decided to take a shot at their tea latte, never having such a drink before.
While I was asking the barista, Michael, some questions on the food and drinks they served for this review, the owner, Dominik, happened to stop by. I learned that Dominik was a Ryerson graduate in 2001 for film and always wanted to open a cafe. He wanted RISE Espresso to be a place for the Ryerson community, where his focus was on quality, consistency and customers.
Seeing that RISE Espresso had only snacks, I asked Dominik if there would be any food options soon. Julie Daniluk, a nutritionist who co-hosts for Healthy Gourmet (a reality cooking show), happens to be the co-owner of RISE Espresso. The plan is to create some nutritional salads made with locally grown produce, that will also cater to vegans and vegetarians alike. Dominik's wife, Jenny, likes to make exotic food that will be incorporated for the paninis-to-go, which will be rich in flavour and a chockful of goodness. The salads and paninis are estimated to be around $5 each, hopefully to be introduced in winter 2012.
I look forward to the food addition, which will be great for hungry students who need to buy something quick for class. RISE Espresso is also having an awesome promotion, where if you bring in friends who are new to the cafe for the first time, you are able to earn freebies! For example, bring in two friends and you can get a free latte. Or if you bring in ten people, you can get a pound of coffee beans, snacks and a drink! (These are examples I made on top of my head, so don't take my word for it. You'd have to negotiate with the barista). Now, who doesn't like free stuff?
Lastly, back to the tea latte. Honestly, it was not my cup of tea because it turned out to be quite bland for my taste. I think I dumped about five spoonful of brown sugar and some vanilla sugar into my drink before satisfied. I think I will try their Canadiano next time, their specialty drink, which is espresso made from coconut milk!
Updated (Nov 16/12): I was invited back to Rise Espresso to try out a sweeter drink when I didn't find the tea latte to my taste. It was quite generous of them! I decided to take a shot at their specialty drink, the Canadiano (check menu section), which I was eager to try (I like things that are exclusive!).
I'm personally am not an Americano drinker because I'm more used to lattes. Canadiano was a different taste because it has that kick of coconut. It was not overpowering though and I think for anyone who would like a twist in their regular Americano should give Canadiano a try!