Over the past decade, coffee culture around the world has grown as java lovers continue to seek out the best and newest caffeinated experiences. The thirst for not only a great cup of joe, but what goes into one, has become a hobby for many. Just as oenophiles visit wineries, so too do coffee geeks flock to “third wave” (artisan) coffee shops or seek out unique producers and roasters to learn about the origins of their morning pour.
In Toronto, there’s certainly no lack of places to enjoy a specialty brew. Check out these five coffee experiences next time you’re craving something a little different in your cup.
Coffee Workshops at Boxcar Social
Coffee is the lifeblood of this trendy local café chain, where you can taste beans from a regular roster of rotating roasters.
For a deeper dive into these sips, stop by the Summerhill location (just north of Yorkville) at 1 p.m. Saturdays for free coffee cuppings. These workshops are for connoisseurs and beginners alike to learn about, taste and pontificate over all things coffee through a guided tasting with the café’s experts.
Black Ivory Coffee at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto
Harvested in the small Thai village of Ban Ta Klang, Black Ivory Coffee is naturally refined by elephants and produces such a small yearly yield that one pound can cost $1,000.
At this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel’s Ritz Café, you can savor the ultra-rare bean as it is hand-ground and brewed tableside at exactly 199 degrees Fahrenheit in an 1840s, French-style syphon coffee brewer.
Not only is the indulgent offering exclusive (Ritz Café is the only spot in Europe and the Americas where you can enjoy Black Ivory Coffee), but each purchase helps to support elephant conservation and welfare through the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation.
Japanese-Inspired Pours at Neo Coffee Bar
If you’re exploring Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market neighborhood, stop into this industrial-chic space for a caffeinated experience with Japanese flair.
While there’s conventional drip coffee and specialty drinks, aficionados can opt for something from the Single Origin Bar, where single origin beans from featured roasters are ground and brewed pour-over style. Among the highlighted producers are Glitch Coffee & Roasters and Onibus Coffee, two artisanal Japanese shops whose offerings can only be found in North America at Neo.
A selection of specialty uji cha or matcha teas from Kyoto are also one-of-a-kind options that pair well with a slice of well-poised Japanese roll cake or seasonally changing cream puffs.
Coffee & Maple Sugar Scrub at The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
Soak up your caffeine in a new way when you indulge in this very Canadian body treatment at Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Toronto.
Enjoy an exfoliating rub of coffee, sugar and maple butter to invigorate your skin from head-to-toe, before finishing with an ultra-hydrating shea butter treatment that will leave your skin silky smooth and supple.
If you still feel like you need a little boost, pop over to onsite Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Café Boulud Toronto for an artfully presented latte or petite espresso.
Unique Roasts at De Mello Palheta Coffee Roasters
As Toronto continues to grow with ambitious new coffee roasters and cafés looking to make a perfect cup of joe, De Mello Palheta stands out for its origin-based approach. The shop’s goal is to educate consumers about where their coffee beans come from while sourcing responsibly to build relationships with and support coffee producers, their livelihoods and communities.
Get a taste of De Mello’s distinctive roasts at its original café in Toronto’s bustling Midtown neighborhood. Be sure to grab a blueberry muffin to go with your single-origin cup — these beauties are baked fresh daily and are almost as popular as the coffee itself.