The best coffee in Old Town // Grounds for Appeal

Rooster coffee
Precedent's new coffee columnist picks her three favourite cafés in the St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood

By Iman Abokor

On Thursday May 14th, 2015


Let’s face it: most of us lawyers drink more than our fair share of coffee. Whether we’re at an examination for discovery, an all-day CLE or an hours-long client meeting, that caffeine kick is a blessing.

As an insurance defence lawyer at Matthews Abogado, a litigation boutique at Queen and Bay, my afternoon coffee breaks let me catch up with friends and colleagues, while giving me the energy jolt to get through any mid-day slump. I am, however, a little more passionate about coffee than your average lawyer. For example, when going on vacation, while other people research sights, I scout the coffee shop offerings.

For me, the definition of pure bliss is sitting in a coffee shop on a Sunday morning with an Americano in one hand and a book in the other — ideally not a law book. Luckily, Toronto is a great coffee city, with many cafés that serve up seriously good coffee. And in the last few years, I’ve made it my mission to try each and every one. In this column, I’ll be spotlighting my three favourite coffee shops in each Toronto neighbourhood. Why? Because life is too short to drink bad coffee.


Old Town/St. Lawrence Market

Now that spring has firmly settled over the city, it’s the perfect time for an afternoon stroll. If you work in the Financial District and find yourself in the St. Lawrence Market area for lunch, take an extra few minutes to grab a cup of joe at some of the city’s best coffee shops and roasters. Here are my three favourite cafés to visit just east of Bay Street for the best coffee in Old Town.


1. Fahrenheit Coffee
120 Lombard Street

On a side street just off Jarvis, between Richmond and Adelaide, you will find Fahrenheit Coffee. If Cheers is the bar where everyone knows your name, Fahrenheit is the coffee shop equivalent. If you come here on even an occasional basis, the baristas greet you as if you are a long lost friend. The coffee here is divine and the baristas are extremely knowledgeable. You can choose from three different types of espressos for your drink. A sign tells you the notes of each blend. I’m partial to the Diablo, their house blend. For latte fans, the triple-shot large soy latte will give you the kick you need to get over any afternoon slump. Seating is very limited.


Black Canary

2. The Black Canary
61 Sherbourne East

On King Street East and Sherbourne, The Black Canary is one of the only places in the city where you can find a great pour-over coffee. Using their own blend from Detour Coffee Roasters, they are famous for their Nutella latte. This drink is not as syrupy sweet as it sounds; the espresso takes centre stage. Their Americano, with notes of chocolate and hazelnut, is one of my favourites in the city and is best consumed black. The design of the cafe is eclectic, with a chandelier over a communal table and comfortable couches nestled in a nook. If you can’t make it to the East, there’s another location by Yonge and Dundas at 392 Yonge Street.


Rooster Coffee

3. Rooster Coffee
343 King Street East

When Rooster Coffee House opened their second location on King Street East, I was happy that I no longer had to make the trek to Riverdale to have some of their amazing coffee. Like Fahrenheit, Rooster Coffee uses special blends made for them by Pilot Coffee Roasters. The flat white is a great morning pick-me-up. Their speciality is the honey ginger latte, which is surprisingly soothing although a bit on the sweet side. Speaking of sweet, if you’re looking for some dessert with your coffee, definitely try their pecan square.

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