It has been waaay too long since Peter and I had one of our usual coffee shop dates, or HAD been way too long I should say. This weekend we made up for it by visiting an amazing place, with some cool people. We got the chance to meet up with some friends who were visiting from California (and other places). Since they are huge coffee lovers as well, we wanted to take them to a place that would highlight the unique coffee culture in the city. We decided on Pilot Coffee Roasters, which is located on 50 Wagstaff St. in Toronto.
Pilot is pretty well known in Toronto, they have been supplying many of the popular indie cafes for a while now like Te Aro (which I have yet to visit, but don’t worry its on my list) and they do have some damn good beans. It is housed in a pretty large warehouse space where the coffee is received, roasted, packaged and shipped from – but that also has a large bar and seating area as well as separate rooms for barista training.
Since we arrived pretty close to their closing time (sorry!) I expected a little bit of attitude from the baristas but I could not have been more wrong. They were extremely pleasant, and knowledgeable. They were obviously very well trained, but they also clearly enjoy their job and seemed completely unfazed that such a large group was there so late. In between serving us they were even experimenting and trying to come up with new coffee based drinks.
The bar area is very spacious and the Modbar espresso machines are built into the counter which helps maintain the minimalist aesthetic, which of course I love – I mean the washrooms are hidden behind a wooden panel that blends into the walls! How cool! There is also a training room, which is partially shielded and there was some event happening while we were there. Pilot provides two levels of training; one for beginner coffee connoisseurs and another for more advanced coffee lovers looking to perfect their latte art.
A few months ago Peter and I received a very nice espresso machine as a gift; The Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL. It has great reviews and Peter and I have been obsessed with it since we got it. We mostly make lattes because we love them – but also because we are both trying to perfect latte art, which trust me is much more difficult than it seems. Peter has a tendency to monopolize it, so he’s had a lot more practice than me, and can more consistently create some pretty designs. However we both think we could benefit from the expertise of the Pilot coffee baristas. So we will likely be signing up for those workshops at some point.
My only disappointment with Pilot Roasters is that their hours are a little bit unmanageable for most people. They are only open during the week between 830-3, which makes it impossible to get to if you work daytime hours, maybe they will consider extending those in the summer. However if you can’t get down there – I would still recommend trying their stellar coffee which you can get from Te Aro, Crafted or order online here.
If you want to see more, Parachute Coffee did a short video about Pilot last year that you can watch here.