Toronto: Big City Coffee and the Rock & Roll Reason

If you are reading this on the morning of Sunday, 17 June, 2018 – hopefully with a coffee in hand – then it means that the post came through with the embedded picture and that everything is back on track.

And since you just read that opening sentence, welcome (back)!

Once again you are getting a story from the Experience story-line. I find it easier and more natural to write these posts – probably since I lived them and just need to let the words pour onto the page. With all the posting issues and research (reading) I have been doing to get back on track, this path-of-least-resistance has been necessary.

Enough of that then …

A Toronto tale is my offering today. It is fresh. I was in Toronto last weekend to see Jack White with a friend. An amazing show. His music won’t be for everyone’s taste but I think everyone would appreciate his command of the stage and his showmanship. Absolutely brilliant!

Of course, Toronto is a big city. Big cities have coffee shops, and Toronto has some gems. One, Sam James Coffee Bar (SJCB), was perfect in its simplicity and focus. Very much the kind of startup coffee bar/shop/house I have envisioned along my journey. Great coffee situated on some well traveled streets, and with a very clearly satisfied clientele.

SJCB has nailed the basics. Master the basics and you’ve got a strong foundation. These bars (we visited two) were small in size and didn’t offer much in the way of seating. That didn’t preclude many a customer from sitting out front in the warming summer sun, or to mill about or lean on the ring of countertops along the walls inside. Very nice and I will be back.

Another one of the coffee experiences I will share here is one I did go back to. We happened upon it by chance. We walked in largely because of the unique concept. Once inside we were intrigued by the theme, and especially one coffee offering that I had not ever seen before. It was this latter item that had us back the next day. (We had just had a coffee, after many that day, and in order to appreciate the full scope of this unique offering it meant not spoiling it in haste, but to return fresh and prepared).

The coffee shop was Antikka Cafe and Records. It was a rock’n’roll styled coffee shop, but not aggressively rock’n’roll. I also had a cultural nuance which I gather is Armenian, based on where this tale goes. They sold used records for certain and possibly new. They were spinning vinyl – which I plan to do – and their musical taste was spot-on. The first day they were spinning a local ‘old school’ R&B artist and the second day we walked into Hozier on the turntable. Perfect.

The experience we came back for though, was the Armenian coffee. It was a Turkish-like styled coffee except it was brewed to order in a copper (I presume) single-serve vessel (see Feature Picture). The brewing however, was done by bringing the coffee to almost boiling over heated sand. It was then poured into a pottery cup with a stick for a handle. Wow! You get to watch the process and the care taken and then to sit and enjoy a really great cup in a unique setting – with chill tunes.

If ever you are in Toronto I recommend both. If ever you want to see a genius command a stage, I recommend Jack White. I’ll be back to Toronto for certain.