I am on a mission to find good coffee using Flat White café in Soho (London, UK) as my benchmark. I thought it was impossible here in Toronto, but I was wrong. Here’s my finding from the delightful Te Aro Coffee Roasters on Queens East and Ossington.
Jackpot. It was a cold day leading up to winter but not too cold to rug up and take a Saturday stroll to this gem. I came across it by way of advice from Peter Thomas, a fellow coffee connoisseur who hails out of the UK.
The store is set back off the street which in the summer time would boast a delightful patio for coffee lovers but being so cold it was vacant. As I approached the front door there was a sign posted “No espresso or steamed milk based drinks available.” I was shocked and a little devestated, but I had come all this way (well, it was only a twenty minute walk from my house but still…) so I had to go in and find out what was going on. I overheard one of the owners telling her friend that the coffee machine was on the fritz but should be back in action soon, an estimate of five minutes was given, I had no prior engagements so decided to wait it out - I’d also just bought a new phone so it gave me a good opportunity to sit down and play with that. After the initial shock of the possibility that there may be no coffee available I was delighted to hear the Kiwi twang of the lady who served me, and overheard the barista speaking in the same tongue, so far things were looking good. I ordered myself a flat white and a chocolate chip cookie - which was just delightful - and sat down to wait, after a couple of minutes the server came and offered me some french press coffee to tide me over while I waited, I gratiously accepted and was not disappointed.
As I was finishing up my french press coffee the machine was back in action and pumping out flat whites again, moments later my name was called and my flat white awaited me. It was a dream; the textured milk, the armoatic freshly ground coffee it was amazing, it was my new benchmark for coffee - in North America at least. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it trumps Flat White, but it’s pretty damn close.