My family supports small, independent businesses over large corporations. Independent businesses usually have more ethical business practices that include customer relationships, worker and hiring practices, and material sourcing. Ethically we enjoy supporting independent businesses but not to the determent of quality. Thankfully there are plenty of independent businesses to choose from. Toronto's Indie Coffee Passport has provided us with extra motivation to try new independently owned cafes.
The Indie Coffee Passport costs $25 and entitles you to receive one coffee drink at each of the thirty cafes listed on the passport. Each cafe has a list of six coffees from which you have to choose. The complete list of cafes (and drinks) is included on the Indie Coffee Passport website. The passport is valid from 1 Sept 2012 to 31 March 2013. Most cafes have a variety of drinks on their Passport menu including lattes and iced coffees. There is more choice than just espressos, Americans, and drip coffee! We only bought one passport because I drink iced coffees almost exclusively. The passport lists the cafes by area (Kensington, Roncesvalles, ect) which is extremely helpful for finding a cafe near you while on an errand in the city.
Our first stop on the passport tour was Joes (250 Sorauren Ave). We have biked by Joes many times on our travels to Roncesvalles but have never stopped in. The cafe is located across the street from a public park and an artist loft which results in a lot of foot traffic. The cafe caters to the to-go clientele and busy moms. There are few seating options to allow strollers and running toddlers extra room to manoeuvre in. The window is lined with an extra wide bar and stools so that those that want to stay can comfortably people watch or surf the net with the complimentary wi-fi. Judging by the number of regulars Joes has successfully based their business model on the needs of the neighbourhood.
The passport drink I received from Joes was a Cynthia Americano with Misto (named after a regular!) This is an iced espresso with steamed milk (with coffee icecubes). Steaming the milk results in a smooth, creamy, and slightly sweet coffee. It is definitely a different experience than iced coffee with regular milk or cream added. The man behind the counter (who I assume is Joe) stated that the Cynthia was a popular choice amongst Indie Coffee Passport holders. Presumed-to-be-Joe definitely has a passion for coffee! The only real negative of Joes is the hopelessly outdated basement bathroom (it has an ugly 80's bathtub in it!).