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Where to Go for a Cup of Joe: 3 Hidden Gems Around Campus

During my time at U of T, caffeine has been one of my best friends. I’m sure that some of you can relate. Starbucks can get old (and crowded!), so I’m always looking for a new spot to call my own. A café can be a great place to study or socialize, and being downtown ensures that all of us will find our go-to coffee spot.

Check out the three hidden gems below.

The Green Beanery

565 Bloor Street West

Located west of campus right at Bathurst Street, the Green Beanery is a two-part franchise: half café, half retail store. They sell a variety of coffee equipment (espresso machines, French presses, porcelain sets, etc.), as well as a wide selection of coffee, either “green” beans (which you can roast fresh yourself) or pre-roasted beans (ready to grind and brew).

In their café, the Green Beanery offers a wide assortment of coffee and espresso drinks, as well as non-coffee drinks like tea. They also have a ton of baked goods (though it is a little pricey). The area is spacious, well lit, and furnished with rustic accents. The large windows overlook the corner of Bloor and Bathurst, so there’s always something going on outside.

Unfortunately, this café has no Wi-Fi, and the small round tables aren’t suitable for work. However, it’s in a prime location near all the restaurants on Bloor Street and in Koreatown, so it’s a good place to go if you’ll be craving some lunch too.

BEST FOR: A BFF (or SO) coffee date.

CSI Coffee Pub

720 Bathurst Street

This café, located in the Centre for Social Innovation (no, CSI doesn’t stand for what you think it does), is a fantastic place to visit for good coffee and atmosphere. It’s in a warehouse-style space, with rugged floors and miscellaneous couches, tables, and armchairs. The area is well decorated with artwork, hanging lights, and planters in the windows.

The staff behind the counter is very friendly, and their skills with an espresso machine do not disappoint. They also have an assortment of baked goods and a small brunch menu (soups, breakfast sandwiches, salad, etc.).

Be aware that the café recently retracted their free Wi-Fi, but given the giant tables and variety of seating, it’s still a great place to hit the books.

BEST FOR: Studying (for now, offline).

Rick’s Café

281 Augusta Avenue

Tucked away on the fringes of Kensington Market, this little coffee spot is almost easy to miss. Inside is a small but cozy space with artwork on the walls and a giant barista bar. The café is sort of divided into two sections: you can either sit in the back for more privacy, or hop onto a stool and people-watch at the large window out front.

A chalkboard sign outside boasts their famous “NUTELLA LATTE (OMG!!)”, which I unfortunately did not get to try. The employees are very friendly, and their baked goods are divine. Unfortunately, there isn’t much space inside, so this isn’t the place to take a large group of friends.

The best thing about this café is its location. If you want to make a day of it, take your latte to go and walk further into the market on Augusta Avenue to explore.

BEST FOR: Flying solo.

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 First-year social science student planning to major in Criminology or Ethics, Society, and Law.
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