While this post is a bit late to the game in terms of birthday wishes (I just got this blog set up a few days ago :), I just wanted to dedicate Indie Coffee Blog’s first post to our friends Matt and Doug for their “MUTHA F@#&IN’ FIVE YEARS!” Anniversary.
Since the opening of Mercury Organic Espresso Bar as they were known back in the day, Leslieville was in its nascent stages of “gentrification” before it became cool to head for a coffee that wasn’t Starbucks or “Intelligentsia” entered Toronto’s vocabulary and a few years before Starbucks opened up at Queen and Logan a stone’s throw away to confirm that gentrification.
To my knowledge, Mercury was the second “Indie” coffee shop in Leslieville after Tango Palace Coffee Company, but the best in raising the neighbourhood’s profile as a coffee lover mecca, helping spread the Indie Coffee movement with their innovative and fun disloyalty card tour and training baristas that went on to open up their own café after working at Mercury.
I remember first getting into the Indie Coffee scene as a direct result of the Disloyalty Card Tour and finding a new appreciation for good coffee. Before that, I never had coffee straight up without any milk or sugar. Only until I made the leap and had Mercury’s Americano’s straight up and remarking on how chocolatey it was, I recall saying something like, “Dude, this shit is really good!” and Matt responding with a typical smug and curt response, “I know”.
Over the last year, I’ve had many morning conversations before with Matt and his team of baristas at the counter by Mercury’s beautiful 3-group Synesso Syncra espresso machine. I would watch the skill, precision and practiced hands at work crafting my by either him, his team, or Doug on occasion carefully crafting my drink.
The process of watching any of the Mercury team making my go to drink in the morning, an Americano, was mesmerizing. From hearing the whurr of their grinders and dosing the espresso beans, tamping the shot, and pulling consistently delicious espresso shots, watching this process was an entirely different experience compared to the mechanic and one button automated process at Starbucks. This
While we would have quick chats, it was purely about our passion for coffee. He would informally teach me and give me quick pointers from time to time in terms of how to properly taste the coffee and recommending beans he’s cycled in for the week and introducing to new flavor profiles and their subtle nuances.
While Mercury has changed a lot in the last 5 years since opening, they’ve opened up a second location around the upper beaches area, closed it down, underwent a major renovation, a name change, switched from Intelligentsia to George Howell coffee beans, I’m happy say that they’re sticking to having one spot in Leslieville (what? I’m selfish ;), and doing one thing really well – making a damned fine cup of coffee.
Cheers to Mercury Espresso Bar and the awesome baristas that make early mornings tolerable and I wish you guys another awesome MUTHA F@#&IN’ FIVE YEARS 🙂