Alcove coffee. The hidden gem of Toronto's Junction neighbourhood
Hello my dear people of earth! After my usual hiatus, I am back with more coffee shops and amazing people I've met. Let me update you a bit, January is about to come to an end and we are expecting to get winter 2.0 anytime in Toronto. I cannot begin to tell you what a shock it was for me when the hair inside my nose froze at -27 degrees (I know, gross… but shocking). My dog has the winter blues because she cannot go to the doggie park in this cold (yes I have a dog now!) And I started knitting!!!!!! Overall, life is pretty amazing, winter included. Even more amazing is that a coffee shop reached out to me and invited me to come over for a drink.
This coffee shop is truly the definition of a hidden gem (I know, I say that about all of them). Located at 34 Cawthra Ave. Alcove coffee might be a bit out of the way but it's totally worth the trip. Owned by photographer and founder of Album studios James Tse, Junction Cove and Alcove coffee are a synergy of studio/venue rental space and a place to hang out, plus good coffee. When I learned that this coffee shop was located in The Junction, I became curious as to what this neighbourhood was. Most of the people I asked didn't even know that this part of the city existed. After some research, I discovered that, back in the day, The Junction was an independent city and it even had its own federal electoral district. Taking it's name from the junction of four railway lines, today it is one of Toronto's largest growing neighbourhoods. Whether you are looking for a local brewery, fun home decor stores or amazing coffee shops, this is the place to go.
As per usual, I like to go coffee haunting on Fridays, since it's my one day off a week. As I was getting there I couldn't help to notice how even the building had a bit of art itself. 'Off to a good start', I remember telling myself. After taking a couple of pictures I finally stepped inside. Although small, bigger and "trendier" coffee shops don't hold a candle to this one. The attention to detail and meticulous design is right on point. A perfect mix of Artsy/industrial style is really ad hoc of its location (after all, they are located in between factories). Not to mention the colour palette, black and white with a pinch of yellow, which I'm personally a sucker for. Like I mentioned before, The Junction is a nesting place for millennials and hipsters alike. And there's no better way to attract them than with a beautiful and modern tile mural. Perfect to use as a backdrop for all of these instagrammable drinks I'm about to describe.
To start with, I had an almond latte. You see, I don't usually have lattes but I was feeling strong and confident that day. It did not disappoint me one single bit. The sweetness and the smooth texture were so pleasing to the palate that I almost felt like I was having a dessert. I was happy to learn that they use Propeller beans. If there's one thing I like more than the coffee in Toronto's coffee shops, it's the way these shops support local roasters. I was so excited about the whole shop that I forgot to ask which specific beans they use! But worry you must not, every variety that Propeller distributes is magnificent!
The second and final drink I had was a Guillermo (yes, it needs a whole new paragraph). It pretty much consists of a double shot of espresso poured over sliced limes. As simple/weird as this might sound, it is delicious. Here's the back story: Once upon a time, a strong, brown skinned and, might I say, utterly handsome spanish man named Guillermo fell in love with a mexican Adelita. She was as tough as she was beautiful but was not easily impressed. As any other mexican, she enjoyed sipping her tequila. Guillermo, never having had a tequila before, grabbed the strongest drink he could find at 10 in the morning and it happened to be a double shot of espresso. Attempting to impress Adelita, he copied her technique of sucking on a lime after every sip, and that's how this drink originated…. or so we would love to believe. There isn't really any trace of the origins of this drink. Alcove has taken the recipe and upgraded it by not-only pairing the espresso with lime, but with blood orange and other citrus fruits. As crazy as it might sound to you, it's actually genius. The bitter/sweet taste of the citrus helps balance the acidity that some coffees have, creating a delicious (and cool looking) treat.
Overall, Alcove coffee is a perfect place to hang out. Did I mention they have amazing prices? With their Matcha latte being the most expensive item in the menu ($4.95) and brewed coffee their cheapest ($2.25) These are for sure the most competitive prices I've seen around the city. I mean, after the whole minimum wage madness, everyone has been pushed to increase their prices and I've even seen places selling lattes for 6+ canadian. If you want friendly staff, good coffee and quality design, don't hesitate to pay Alcove coffee a visit. I can assure you, you won't be disappointed! Let's all support local businesses who support local businesses themselves! If you want to stay in touch with me and not miss the next article, don't forget to subscribe to the newsletter Until next time my friends!