The best coffee in Cabbagetown // Grounds for Appeal

The three cafés that make this neighbourhood worth the leaving the core

By Iman Abokor

On Thursday July 23rd, 2015


Great food and even better people keep bringing me back to Cabbagetown and Church-Wellesley Village. It also doesn’t hurt that these neighbourhoods are almost religious about their coffee. Here are some of my favourite places to get caffeinated in the area.


Cabbagetown/Church-Wellesley Village


Jet Fuel1. Jet Fuel Coffee Shop, 519 Parliament Street 

I go nowhere else for my coffee in Cabbagetown. The Americano is heaven in a cup — or at least my version of heaven. There is no menu at Jet Fuel and no such thing as decaf. For the most part, it’s standard espresso fare here: americanos and lattés, which they make using a custom blend from Classic Gourmet Coffee. I’m rarely a fan of iced-coffee drinks, but the iced-soy latté is not to be missed. They make baked goods in-house, but most of it is shoved on a back counter, almost as an afterthought.

Make no mistake: Jet Fuel is all about the coffee. (And cycling). The clientele is eclectic, from artists to firefighters. If you can handle the roaring music constantly blaring from the speakers, you can always find a free table to do some work or sit back with a book. Cash only.


Bulldog Coffee2. Bull Dog Coffee, 86 Gerrard Street East 

Bull Dog Coffee was my first introduction to indie coffee back when I was in law school and needed to stay caffeinated if I was going to make it through my admin-law reading list. In those days, it was on the corner of Church and Granby Street, but it a condo development has forced it re-locate to Gerrard Street.

Bull Dog is known for its cappuccino-latté hybrid — aptly named the Bull Dog. I’m a bigger fan of its cappuccino, which features the colourful flavours of a seven-bean custom espresso blend from Classic Gourmet Coffee. It also serves the best squares I’ve ever had. The recipe, aside from the obvious presence of chocolate chips, is secret. There are four versions, but the cranberry square if my favourite. There is ample seating but no Wi-Fi. Be prepared to pay an extra $1 for soy, almond and lactose-free milk. Cash only.


Red Rocket Coffee3. Red Rocket Coffee, 154 Wellesley Street East 

At the corner of Wellesley and Homewood, you will find Red Rocket Coffee. Floor-to-ceiling windows infuse the café with natural light. It’s a great place to meet a friend. The signature drink is the Red Rocket — a mix of brewed coffee, a mini shot of espresso and chocolate sauce. It’s way too sweet for my taste. I’m more partial to the ultra-smooth americano, which feels like a warm hug going down. Additional location at 1364 Danforth Avenue.


Iman AkoborIman Abokor is an insurance defence lawyer at Lawson LLP and Precedent’s coffee columnist.