I always find myself desperately trying to stay awake between classes, whether it is early morning online English lessons or extracurriculars. If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that listening to people who tell you to go to bed earlier is an absolute waste of time. At this point that’s not an option, so like any student, I turn to calorie-dense caffeinated beverages to keep myself afloat. It’s to be mentioned though that not all of these café’s are similar, and the environment from coffee house to coffee house can differ significantly.
Kensington Market – fika CAFE
28 Kensington Ave.
Fika’s quiet but charming atmosphere is perfect for getting work done. The back room has an uber-inspirational book wall that can only motivate you to do your French lit. readings, and it also includes a work space style table, where you might possibly make a friend or two. Although small, the area feels open and vibrant with white walls and furniture, and the staff is really pleasant when it comes to explaining what is offered at the cafe. They always have plenty of Scandinavian treats to help with your Tuesday morning blues.
My Recommendation: Lavender white hot chocolate with an espresso shot.
Uptown Yonge / King West – de mello palheta coffee roasters
2489 Yonge St. or 273 Richmond St. W.
Two locations means two times the fun! De Mello is great for individual study/cramming, especially since their Uptown location is a quick-ish 10 minute walk from Lawrence Station. They have an extremely wide menu, from teas and matcha specialties to Latin American coffee blends; you have a boatload of options to keep you focused. The back room at the uptown location is big and fairly quiet, and in the summer months there’s a patio for when you’re sad about your summer school classes and need to trick yourself into having terrasse time.
My Recommendation: Double shot latte.
Little italy / The Junction - hula girl coffee
456 Ossington Ave. or 2473 Dundas St. W.
Just off College & Ossington hides this little place, and with only three tables you’ve better get there quickly after its opening to snag a seat! They also have a larger, but still quaint location in The Junction if you are looking for solitude. The upside to the small size is its quiet atmosphere, making it a perfect environment to get your paper finished and edited. The retro/circus themed décor is incredibly unique compared to the minimalist feel of most places in the city these days, which may spark some much needed creativity. They have some unique snacks, including mini bahn-mi’s and mini pork buns which gives this cafe its uniqueness. Hula Girl was actually featured at the CNE this year with their butter coffee — a creamy, salty and different take on espresso.
My Recommendation: Butter coffee (of course).
Mount Pleasant Village – Istanbul café
174 Eglinton East
I’ve never been so excited to find Turkish coffee, especially when I was able to have it accompanied by Baklava. This café serves some great lunch options, classic Turkish deserts and even better coffee. There are plenty of coffee choices, including a rose latte which was as delicious as the name suggests. The ambiance here is lovely; the lighting is dimmed perfectly, there is plenty of room for studying with lots of seating options, and it’s never too busy. The walls are made of wood which gives it a super cozy feel, perfect for spending all morning and then afternoon skipping class! They also have an alcohol licence for the evening if you need an extra dose of motivation, and they’re often open until 10pm in case you get caught up in the moment and procrastinate away!
My Recommendation: Turkish coffee and pistachio sekarpare.