Sunday, March 24, 2013

Merchants of Green Coffee

Cafe: Merchants of Green Coffee
Address: 2 Matilda St.
Phone: 416-778-6600
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 8 AM - 6 PM, Sat 9 AM - 6 PM, Sun 10 AM - 6 PM

Wi-Fi?: Yes
Study Appropriate?: Yes
Stamp Cards?: Yes but a prepaid card



Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: Soy and almond
- Offers maple syrup latte during the winter season, made with Forbes Maple Syrup #3
- Coffee beans roasted in-house for drink purchases
- Sells roasted coffee beans from Dark City Coffee 

Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: Yes to all
- Offers vegan oatmeal peanut butter banana muffins
- Offers gluten-free macaroons
- Baked goods from Desmond and Beatrice

Cafe Mocha, $4


Drink of Choice: Latte, $3.80

When I first attended Merchants of Green Coffee last year, I wasn't too impressed. The location was seemingly awkward and it felt isolated. At the time, there weren't too many people when I went and with the space, I wasn't too comfortable with it. I simply didn't like the vibe. When I saw the cafe again on this year's Passport, I wasn't too thrilled to make the trip.

Except this year, my perspective completely changed. I tried going there with my boyfriend at first but the place was rented out for some sort of movie shoot. I didn't come back for a couple of weeks. I was then completely thrown off by how busy and bustling it was! Compared to what I remembered, it had so much more energy and liveliness in the cafe. I noticed there were a few board games available for the customers to enjoy. The selection was small but some people really made use of it and had a good time. I was a little puzzled by the Twister they had available because I couldn't see the space and time for it to be played. They also have a cute cafe kitty that likes to nap on the sofa every so now and then.

I was really happy that I was really productive studying at the cafe. Lately it has been a lot more difficult for me to focus in cafes compared to before. However, during this trip and a trip I made afterwards for my second Passport, I managed to plow through my work like a hurricane (maybe I have found the perfect studying cafe?). I also enjoyed the music selection the baristas had on the stereos, for both of the times I was there (I ended up downloading a couple of the played songs!). I think it really sets a cafe when it has good music. The cafe also sells prepaid coffee drink cards, $30 for 10 drinks.

So the lesson learned here is that sometimes, you have to give a cafe another shot, even though the first time may not be the best (unless they have horrendous service!). You may be surprised how much you might like it the second time around! 

Merchants of Green Coffee on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 15, 2013

Noir Coffee & Tea

Cafe: Noir Coffee & Tea
Address: 701 St. Clair Ave. W.
Phone: 416-651-8302
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 6:30 AM - 6 PM, Sat-Sun 7:30 AM - 6 PM

Wi-Fi?: Yes
Study Appropriate?: Yes 
Stamp Cards?: No



Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: Yes to all for $0.50 extra
- Offers Cafe con Leche
- Offers Shakerato 
- Offers Maple Bacon Latte
- Offers Cold Vietnamese Coffee 
- Roasted coffee beans from Reunion Island Coffee
- All coffee beans are fair trade and organic

Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: Yes to all
- Gluten-free bread available
- Offers mac and cheese
- Sandwiches made fresh daily
- Muffins and scones from Desmond and Beatrice
- Brownies, chewy bares and short bread from Sweets from the Earth

Large Darjeeling Tea, $2.42 (with tax)

Small Hot Latte, $3


Drink of Choice: Shakerato, $4

Noir Coffee & Tea is a new cafe on the Passport that I was eager to try. I saw the pictures online and I knew I had to drag my boyfriend there with me. It looked like a lovely place to have drinks with someone. The overall Japanese-themed aesthetics really appealed to me, especially since I am a lover of all things oriental and used to be obsessed with Japanese manga during my high school days. 

I was surprised to see that they offered cold Vietnamese coffee, since being Vietnamese myself, I don't think I ever had one (it's pretty much iced coffee). As well, it's not a drink I see commonly offered in other cafes. They also have a specialty called the Maple Bacon Latte. With a name like that, who wouldn't want to try it?? Unfortunately, they didn't offer it to Passport holders. They did, however, offer another specialty drink called the Shakerato, which is iced espresso with simple syrup. I am not an espresso person, but I really like trying out specialty drinks if they are on the menu. It was a bad decision for me. It was completely bitter and extremely hard to drink. Being someone who enjoys sweet chai lattes, the Shakerato was the complete opposite. This was the first time I left my drink unfinished (maybe with one or two sips left). If you love espresso and strong, dark coffee, maybe you would like this one. Since I don't have the tongue for it, it was completely wasted on me.

Overall, I really like this cafe's decor and it's a nice place to bring people to. I'd probably visit again in the future and bring someone along who also enjoys fancy cafes. Except I will be ordering anything but the Shakerato this time around. 

Noir Coffee and Tea on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Mad Bean Coffee House

Cafe: The Mad Bean Coffee House
Address: 519 Eglinton Ave. W.
Phone: 647-235-2456
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 5 PM,  Sat-Sun 8:30 AM - 5 PM

Wi-Fi?: Yes
Study Appropriate?: Yes
Stamp Cards?: Yes



Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: Soy and lactose-free
- Offers rice milk
- Offers speciality drinks created by customers!: Anikoccino, Jenaccino, Liory's Latte and Ella-Misto
- Roasted coffee beans from Reunion Island and Velvet Sunrise Coffee Roasters
- Sells Reunion Island beans, tailored specifically for The Mad Bean Coffee House, $14.95/3/4 lb
- Sells The Mad Bean's Steampunk Coffee beans, $14.95/3/4 lb

Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: Gluten-free only
- Offers gluten-free brownies and other baked goods
- Offers bagels
- Offers tuna and omelette sandwiches

View the full menu at:

Crimson Rooibos Tea, $2.25


Drink of Choice: Ella-Misto, $3

The Indie Coffee Passport added a couple of new cafes this year that are further up north. The Mad Bean Coffee House was one of the two I first visited. Owned by a lovely family, I got to meet Brian, Lisa, and their son, Cody (I wish I have a cafe under my name!). Brian was more than happy to answer my questions regarding his cafe. He drew my attention to the fact that his clientèle was different compared to the cafes downtown and the surrounding areas. Therefore, there are no vegan or vegetarian options on the menu because there is no demand for it.

One of the exciting things that would happen at the cafe once in awhile is a drink-making contest! Customers could come in and create their own drink. The winner would have their drink become a specialty for The Mad Bean Coffee House and it would be named after them (check menu above)! This is pretty awesome! I liked how the cafe did this to change things up to make it fun for the customers.

The cafe hosts multitude of events, in which the space could be rented out for anything. There are local musicians that come in at noon every weekend. Since it's so popular, there is a waiting list for the performances. There are also readings that happen then and there. One event that the cafe was rented out for was a chocolate workshop! And like many other cafes, it sells local artwork along with handmade jewellery (which I sadly only noticed when the cafe was closing because I wanted to look through them).

One of the drinks available for the Indie Coffee Passport holders is the Ella-Misto, a specialty drink made by a customer! I got to try it and to be honest, I don't recall much about the actual drink. I went to so many cafes after this one before I got around to the actual review. From what I could remember, I think it was decent but a bit strong for my usual latte tongue (if you couldn't tell, I'm for the cafe than the actual drink most of the time).

I personally really enjoyed this cafe because it is owned by such a sweet family. They immediately checked out my blog after I told them about it! I would definitely love to visit again when I get the chance. I recommend this cafe for those living in the area!

The Mad Bean on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Full of Beans Coffee House & Roastery

Cafe: Full of Beans Coffee House & Roastery
Address: 1348 Dundas St. W.
Phone: 647-347-4161
Store Hours: Mon-Fri 7 AM - 7 PM, Sat 8 AM - 9 PM, Sun 8 AM - 5 PM

Study Appropriate?: Yes
Wi-Fi?: Yes
Stamp Cards?: No



Drinks - Soy/Almond/Lactose-Free Options?: Soy only
- Coffee beans roasted in-house everyday
- Cane sugar available

Food - Vegan/Vegetarian/Gluten-Free Options?: Yes to all
- Everything made in-house
- Pate made in-house
- Gluten-free muffins available
- Offers quiches

Single Shot Cocoa Latte, $3.67


Drink of Choice: Double Cafe Latte, $3.67

I stopped by Full of Beans Coffee House & Roastery last year for the previous Indie Coffee Passport. I remembered I wasn't able to use the outlets, even though there was Wi-Fi available. That is still the case today. This is a great location to sit and get work done, however, warning for those planning to bring their laptops: bring a fully charged one.

I came in around 4 PM for my second visit and it was quite empty, with no more than two to three customers every hour aside from myself. Before I sat down to start studying, I got to speak with Lori, the owner of the cafe. She recognized me as one of the cafe's Facebook fans! It is always so nice to be recognized, haha (the power of Facebook!).

Everything sold on the menu is made in-house, including the pate spread (I don't know about you, but I love pate!). They roast their coffee beans everyday as well. The cafe hosts open mic every Saturday night and some live music on the weekends. Live music doesn't happen consistently every weekend, but would be booked randomly from time to time. Another event called the Brockton Series happens on the first Wednesday of every two months (next one happening on March 6th!). This is a writer series in which readings are done by published or ready-to-be published authors. Going on with the book theme, the cafe also has a take-a-book-leave-a-book corner. Artwork by local artists are sold and changed every month.

All in all, this is one of the locations I would recommend for those who would like some quiet time to get work done (when the cafe is not hosting during the weekends). It has an overall nice atmosphere and comfortable setting.