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Good New Coffee

I just wanted to bring to everyone attention that Manic Coffee (college and bathurst) recently opened shop (they've been running for a good 3 weeks now) and hands down, has to be one of the best coffee bars in the city (if not the best). And there's some stiff competition with Mercury, Bulldog, Cherry Bomb, etc.

They have consistently poured be the best cap's and latte's everytime I've been in there and Intelli beans speak for themselves.

This very well could be on par with Vancouver's Artigiano's and Elyssian Room (i think Manic's owner used to work at the Elyssian room and one of the partners used to be at Artigiano's). Toronto coffee geeks should put this on their list as a "must hit".

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  1. I've been to Manic twice now in the past week, I am addicted. It's a bit of a trek just for a coffee, but entirely worth it. Both times I got a latte, am keen to try espresso but they seem to be having teething probs with the machine/grinder/new staff so I'll wait another week or so for that... Delicious! Full-bodied, chocolatey flavour, 3.25 % milk steamed to perfection (not too hot, too many places here make it way too hot and homo milk is not usually used). On my first visit I had a small brownie, sufficiently gooey.
    My only problem was the new staff who are obviously being trained in the art of coffee-making, they are young and a little too eager, and the wait time was about 7 minutes on my second visit due to decaf beans being out on the regular grinder. Hopefully those issues will be sorted out soon...
    Definitely my new favourite coffee place.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kiwiFRUIT

      I've been in a few times now and have had no issue with the service being impacted by training. Have had espresso and cappuccino made both by Matt (the owner) and another very capable barista (didn't catch his name, tall, thin and mustachioed). All were amongst the best I've had anywhere in Toronto (particularly the straight espresso). My only disappointment was that the last time I was in I had my heart set on a cup brewed from the Clover, but it was being serviced.

      I haven't tried the food yet, but it's apparently being sourced from Wanda's Pie in the Sky.

      I also picked up a half-pound of Intelligentsia beans for home (a Salvadoran coffee). They were well priced for such high quality beans ($9, I think, maybe $8) and very fresh (roasted Monday of the week I bought them).

      -Josh

    2. I've been dying to try Manic! What are the prices like?

      7 Replies
      1. re: nicopop

        I also had a great cappuccino made my Matt...great coffee-art as well!!! The muffins looked delicious but I resisted temptation.

        1. re: nicopop

          A double espresso is $2.50, a macchiato is $2.75. I'm not sure about the cappuccinos and lattes, since I don't much drink them except they're definitely not more than $3. A small cup from the Clover is $2.50, but you can also get it large.

          Cookies, scones, etc. from Wanda's Pie In the Sky run from $1.25-$2.50.

          1. re: lsk

            More than reasonable for what sounds like amazing beverages. Thanks!

            1. re: nicopop

              No problem, but a few corrections: a latte is $3.25 and a cup from the Clover is $2. Prices for to-go Americanos and lattes vary.

              1. re: lsk

                Just found out the vegan friendly pumpkin cookies are not from Wandas! They are from another supplier. They are absolutely amazing. Definitely not what i was expecting from a vegan cookie (read hard, dry, bland brick). I've never had a cookie that was as interesting as this..and i'm not even vegan!

                1. re: goodcookiedrift

                  agreed - amazing

                  1. re: goodcookiedrift

                    I tried that vegan pumpkin cookie on your recommendation, goodcookiedrift, and I have to resoundingly agree that it is astonishingly delicious! I had a "I can't believe this is vegan!" moment when I bit into it because it was so good -- chewy with sufficient tenderness, flavourful, moist, and well-spiced. I heroically held back about two-three bites to give them to my friends and they too were amazed they were vegan.

                    I want to buy a dozen of them and give them to my newly vegan friend who's still adjusting to giving up traditional baked goods.

          2. Can't wait to try this place - where exactly at College and Bathurst? How early do they open on week-ends? Do they serve any cooked food or just pastries?

            4 Replies
            1. re: peppermint pate

              Went today. Service was great. They seem very happy to see new faces in the shop. They said the have been open for only a week and a half. They have just pastries to eat, but everything looked yummy. I can't remember when they open on the weekends, but I think it was either 7am or 9am. I know they open at 7 on week days. It's just a shame that the place is out of my way otherwise I'd frequent it more often.

              1. re: kmoore

                Thanks for the info kmoore. Where exactly is this place at Bathurst and College?

                1. re: peppermint pate

                  It's almost across from Sneaky Dee's. 426 College Street.

              2. re: peppermint pate

                ..the pasteries, I only saw squares when I was there at 2pm, are from Pie In The Sky, I believe they are also available at Whole Foods...

              3. Just went, this place was great, thanks for the tip off gcd...the staff was friendly and knowlegable, I ordered my usual, double espresso long, he explained that when they pull long it gets a bit bitter, so, they use more coffee per shot to make it strong...I gotta say, it was delicious, no bitterness and a variety of complimentary flavours...smoky, toasty, plus one heck of a buzz! (but no shakes)...the Intelligensia beans they use are quite special, as I was told, Intelli has set up its own type of fair trade with farms, basically employing them to grow organically for them and paying them approprately, and simillair to wine growing they monitor the fields closely and will produce limited releases if there is something special to be found in a crop, like a wine vintage...sounds good to me!...they are also bike positive, picking up on the vibe I love at Jet Fuel in Cabbagetown...

                ...my new spot...

                2 Replies
                1. re: Recyclor

                  While we were there they were still taking all sorts of measurements... not sure what they have planned. You are correct recyclor, those are pie in the sky treats.

                  1. re: kmoore

                    Went this morning around 7:30. Really nice guys running the place. When I arrived, two of them were huddled around the espresso machine chatting about the thing -- I love coffee geeks. Very good espresso. Quite a thick crema, but surprisingly dark. I will be back, for sure.

                2. Rumor has it that Manic is serving the Esmeralda Especial. FYI, this is the bean that goes for $130 per lb and $16 for 2 cups. The idea of an $8 cup of coffee is quite ridiculous...almost to the point where the sheer absurdity of it has tempted and rationalized me to try it.

                  Not sure if this is true or not, but I will try to confirm this with Matt. Or if anyone else has insight, please do share.

                  ps: from friends who've had it....it is definitely the best cup of coffee you will ever have.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: goodcookiedrift

                    According to the National Post (who had an article about Manic a couple of days ago), the Esmerelda will be available October 19). The Post says it'll be $15/cup: http://www.canada.com/components/prin...

                    It's not clear if this will be coffee from the auction lot, or non-auction coffee - I understand Intelligentsia had both.

                    -Josh

                    1. re: detritus

                      It's $15/cup for an Esmerelda. which is a great deal because I heard Mercury was trying to sell it for $25/cup! ridiculous!

                      Manic is really well priced for what you're getting. Great coffee, great value!

                      1. re: detritus

                        you misunderstand, Mercury was selling it for $25 a press...that's about 24 oz. there's no markup at all

                    2. Yay, I've been waiting for them to open and then forgot about it. How does the coffee compare to Aroma up at Bloor?

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: jinxed

                        Much better, IMHO. Probably the best coffee in the city, both espresso-based and brewed.

                        Particularly, they're using a Clover for brewed coffee (the only one in the city). It's a pretty incredible machine.

                        -Josh

                        1. re: detritus

                          Toronto has only one Clover? Seriously? We have two (and one more, soon) in Calgary. But these things move west to east.

                          What's the espresso machine at Manic?

                          1. re: John Manzo

                            It's surprising isn't it, especially since Ottawa has 2 Clovers and purportedly a third as well. Manic's main espresso machine is a 2-group Synesso.

                            1. re: lsk

                              Who in Ottawa has the Clovers? I'm going to be there next week and would like to check them out.

                              1. re: cheesymama

                                Bridgehead. same thing. 2 group syneso and a clover. they don't know how to use the syneso as well as Manic, Elyssian or Artigiano's.

                                1. re: goodcookiedrift

                                  Thanks! I'll check them out when I'm there next week.

                        2. re: jinxed

                          Comparing Aroma to Manic would be like comparing the Stem to the Bymark.

                          No offense to the stem. just sayin....

                          1. re: goodcookiedrift

                            ....I'm really looking forward to trying out the coffee here!
                            Does anyone know if they have internet service? Is it a place that you can stay for an hour or two, or is that not so welcome?

                            1. re: jinxed

                              It's very welcoming, lots of tables/chairs. No internet, AFAIK.

                              -Josh

                              1. re: detritus

                                Definitely the kind of place you can hang out. Great vibe.

                        3. this is so exciting . . . I'm heading there as soon as possible.

                          to carry me thru till I get there, anyone know which Intelli coffees they sell there? Is Intelli just available brewed or can you buy the beans too?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: orangewasabi

                            They have beans for sale. I picked up 1/2lb of Black Cat today, it was roasted on Monday (I think they get shipments each Wednesday).

                            I bought a single-origin from El Salvador last week (don't remember what it was called). They've had 5-6 different coffees each time I've been in.

                            Beans were $9 for a 1/2lb, $16 for a pound.

                            -Josh

                          2. was passing through the neighbourhood this morning and thought i'd drop in.

                            the vibe is as per your usual coffee house and the newness still has it a bit threadbare. can't wait for it to perk up with some art and then it'll feel much cozier than the open space they've got.

                            LOVED the people. as per my search for the elusive plantation india a beans they were helpful in offering why they often don't carry it (oiliness) but understood what it was that i was looking for in overall flavour.

                            got a machiatto and it was delish. no pressure and tonnes of love from them. they seem to have a great following with lots of people streaming in through the morning to get stuff to go. i much prefer them to bulldog.

                            1. I dropped by last weekend (thanks to your post) and I must say, it was a wonderful experience.

                              To be blunt, it was the best latte I've had. Period. After finishing my first, I odered my second without hesitation.

                              Compared to Bulldog, Manic is in a different league.

                              1. I finally had a chance to check this place out on the week-end. Definitely liked the vibe but agree with pinstripeprincess that they room could use a bit of cozying up. Very friendly barristas. A couple of us had lattes - in a word, excellent, arguably the best latte in the city right now. Great foam, latte art, perfect temperature and really tasty.

                                My only quibble was with the americano - although the 2 people who had them said the taste was great, they were served with the crema only partly intact. This was because they opened the spout on the water full blast which, of course, breaks up the crema which is an integral part of the drink. At Black Camel, another place where I love the coffee, they know to let the water pour in slowly down the side of the cup so the crema ramains intact.

                                But the latte was simply to die for - definitely a welcome new addition to the city's coffee scene. Interestingly, I noticed a new coffee bar is opening a couple of doors down from Manic. Looks like we have a serious coffee bar renaissance going on in the city - it's about time!!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: peppermint pate

                                  Apparently the space is only licensed for 36 seats but they are planning to install a bar. Best beans, machine, service and general coffee house out there right now. The brew from the Clover is AMAZING, no need for sugar or cream.

                                  1. re: Ender

                                    It's great to know they're planning to put a bar in, since sometimes, I just to prefer to drop by for an espresso or a macchiato. I dropped by on Saturday this past weekend and it was absolutely packed to the point there wasn't a free table for a good twenty minutes. (This isn't a complaint because it's great that they're getting lots of business and I'm absolutely all for that.)

                                    I know everyone's been raving about the Clover, but I have to put in my $0.02. Clover-brewed coffee comes out with a clarity in mouthfeel and taste that is simply astonishing. It really brings out the best in whatever excellent Intelly beans they use. I used to drink coffee with sugar, but I don't even bother with it anymore.

                                2. Thank you! I just had the best latte of my life and look forward to going back and trying a cup from the clover. I also bought myself 1/2 pound of intelligentsia beans to try at home. I would never had known about this place if it wasn't for this board, it is not anywhere near my 'hood, but I will definitely be back. Thanks for the tip!

                                  1. Not sure how it would score with the "coffee geeks" out there, but I had a really good latte from Bisogno on Sherbourne the other day. Not that it matters, but they even drew a little design in the foam which was cute. The proprietors seemed really nice and knowledgeable about espresso.

                                    Good to have an alternative to Star-mega-bucks in the 'hood.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: spades

                                      One cannot do latte art unless the milk is properly microfoamed. It's not just cute- it's a mark of a quality drink.

                                    2. I went there yesterday and had two Clover brews (one there and one to go), and they were amazing. The vegan pumpkin cookie was also delicious, moist, flavourful, decadent in richness. Will definitely be returning with some writing materials to spend some more time there in the future!