Today’s write-up is the second instalment of an ongoing series of reviews I’ll look to start consistently writing. As a way of introduction into the series I’ll review some of my favorite food and drinks along the way as I navigate my way through Toronto and beyond. For starters, today I stopped by Sam James Coffee Bar across from Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto to try some of the coffees they have available.
Sam James is one of my all-time favorite coffee shops and a staple around Toronto’s coffee scene. It’s a quintessential coffee shop serving an eclectic clientele of young trendsetters, gentrified urbanites, working professionals and everything in between. It’s a great people-watching location. Each of Sam James’ four cafes has its own personality but all consist of the same overarching theme that resembles a grungy skatepark meets minimalist art gallery. The distinct aesthetic is clearly apparent upon walking into any of the locations with the same minimalist white walls and complementary black, gray, and light wood tone scattered throughout.
Sam James and the Cut Coffee team (Sam James’ roaster) are behind some of the best coffees in Toronto. With that I decided to give the Espresso Butter Knife a try. Butter Knife a classic but versatile espresso roast that according to the roaster incorporates orange and berry notes with the richness of chocolate or nuts. Because summer is starting up I decided to do two things different this time that I don’t typically do: I decided to go for an espresso roast instead of a filter roast and decided to experiment and do a review on the roast with a cold brew method.
As I ground 80 grams of coffee into my french press I made sure to take note of the smell. I noticed notes of sweetness and some subtle hints of almonds or peanuts. I added about 1 L of water and let my french press sit overnight. The next morning I filtered my coffee a second time around with a v60 filter.
After a few cubes of ice and a splash of almond milk I decided to take the first few sips. It took a few minutes for the ice to melt and dilute enough for the balance to be just right. Because I brewed this recipe as cold brew there was little to no acidity initially and a strong but pleasant coffee flavour followed quickly by a soft, mellow touch of almond milk and sweetness from the finish of the coffee that followed shortly thereafter.
Some of my favorite coffees continue to come from Sam James and the Cut Coffee team. With the strong following and experience in the coffee world, it is expected that things will only continue to get better for this cafe and roaster.