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Feb 25, 2009 06:57 AM

1lb of good coffee for 10 dollars?

The recession is hitting me hard and I'm looking for ways to save while still enjoying food and drink.

I'm looking for a Toronto coffee seller where I can get 1 lb. of coffee for 10$. I've been buying at Ideal, where it is around $13 for a lb. (and you get a free coffee!!)
I think this is a pretty great price, and I like their coffee-
but I'm wondering if there is anywhere selling coffee for a bit less.
I prefer fair trade organic.


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  1. There is a small, environmentally friendly company in Toronto that roasts horizontally traded Oaxacan coffee and chocolate (and they make some interesting chocolates). They're called ChocoSol, and you can find them at Dufferin Grove Farmers' Market on Thursday afternoons and at the Wychwood Green Barn market on Saturday mornings. Their Oaxacan (Mexican) coffee is wonderful and is priced at $10 per pound. I assume you're looking for beans, which is all they sell.

    1. House of Spice in Kensington Market carries coffees for around $7.50/lb. I don't know if its fair trade though.

      2 Replies
      1. re: baby_tran

        thanks- I will check out both Kensington and Dufferin Grove- ChocoSol looks great, btw...

        1. re: baby_tran

          I buy from House of Spice - have done for at least 20 years. They now have both regular and fair trade coffees - the fair trade ones are slightly more expensive. But both are dirt cheap for what they are. I think it's because they lack the trendoid factor. I love the Thai Blend (Carlos' special mixture) and the Royal Blend. Both full-roasted and delicious.

          1. re: Kagemusha

            Costco's fair trade beans will run $12-$14 for a 2 lb bag, but there won't be much selection, and the beans will be roasted quite a few days prior (no roasting date on the bag). They may have a roasting service in the Vaughan store, but I have not been there.

            Greenbeanery has fresh roasted fair trade beans for $12-$18 /lb, and non fair trade for $9-$15/lb. Their advantage is location, selection, and freshness of roast.

            Green Beanery
            565 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S, CA

            1. re: jayt90

              Yeah, I buy Costco's Zavida Organica, which is Organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified, for about $12.90 for 907g (2 lb.). Not sure if they all have it, but it's at the Wilson Ave. store on a regular basis.

              1. re: Yongeman

                If I recall, that is a blend of beans from several areas, somewhat widespread. It is regularly in the Ajax and Scarboro locations. How is it? Do you get tired of it at the end of the bag?

                1. re: jayt90

                  Good questions, jayt90. It states that it's a "blend of sustainable Arabica beans...primarily shade-grown in Central and South America."
                  I have tried lots of different coffees, but I do like the Central American ones. I used to freeze whatever I couldn't use in a week, but this resealable bag is pretty effective. The very last of the bag may suffer a bit, but on the whole, it's good. I finally got a good grinder and just grind enough for 4 or 5 days at a time. I think it's hard to beat for the price.
                  For those who are used to fresh roasted coffee it may be a bit of a stretch...the best before date on the bag that I bought last week is Jan. 6, 2010!

                  1. re: Yongeman

                    I don't know what their price/lb is, but try giving Merchants of Green Coffee a call. They're in Riverside, and they supply all the local shops. Their coffee is delicious.

                    1. re: gabdullah

                      The price is $16/lb for the single roast they have available.

                      Of the green beans on their website, they can provide 3 out of 21 listed.

                      Merchants Of Green Coffee
                      2 Matilda St, Toronto, ON M4M, CA

                  2. re: jayt90

                    I used to buy the Costco organic/fair trade beans you are referring to and liked it very much. We have been roasting our beans for the last year and a bit and get amazing beans form Birds and Beans, which set us back $35 for 5 lbs of green beans. The price of a roaster is quickly offset.

                    I have been to the Green Beanery and found their service so awful (I felt like I was disturbing them, they could not give me info on the beans, etc.) that I decided never again. I stick with Birds and Beans.

                    1. re: pâté chinois

                      For 'burb dwellers, Costco's price/selection range is very tough to beat. Frozen, sealed bags of beans keep well with no noticeable flavor compromise to the bottom of the bag. Can't see the point of spending more for what's often a flavor "placebo" effect.

                      1. re: pâté chinois

                        That's great advice about the roaster, pc. If I had the time, I'd happily do it that way, but as it is, the Costco option is best for me and not too much of a flavour compromise.

                        1. re: Yongeman

                          Yongeman, just so you know, roasting a batch of coffee (enough for 2 good coffee drinkers) takes only 5 minutes. I usually roast as I'm doing the dishes (at night, for the following morning), so no real time committment is involved. But I agree with you that it's not as convenient as opening a bag of roasted coffee ;-)

                          1. re: pâté chinois

                            Thanks for that input about roasting, pate chinois (how do you get the accents?). I'd probably love doing that, so I may look into getting a roaster. Any info on where to look in the TO area? Cheers.

                            1. re: Yongeman

                              The cheapest place to buy a roaster is at the Greenbeanery. I bought a BEHMOR drum roaster there about 3 or 4 months ago and have been very happy with it. I recently bought 30 lbs of green beans for $125 and I roast about 12 oz every week or so. It takes about 22 minutes to roast that amount.

                              MofG has the FreshRoast Plus 8 Coffee Roaster listed on their site but it is rarely in stock. It was out of stock when I checked today and wasn't in stock months back. I remember their price was around $160 for it back in November. It was selling for around $100 at the GB then.

                              After buying the roaster, one lb of coffee is around $4.75, as 12 oz of green beans nets about 10 oz of fresh coffee.

                              1. re: foodyDudey

                                I bought a Cafe Rosto ($189) from Greenbeanery but it is problematic. It is nicely designed and well built, in Korea, and it will roast 6 oz in 8 minutes, very evenly, and has a cool down routine. But I have had three of them in two years, and they seem to lose power after 4 or 5 months of weekly use.
                                At this time my Rosto is out of warranty, and I will have to clean it internally or replace the heater ($25).
                                In the meantime, I have gone back to a tried and true wok method. I heat up a cast iron wok (fairly light weight, thin walled) over a gas flame, and add 8 oz green beans, stirring constantly for 5-6 minutes until the second crack sound appears.
                                Some people use a cast iron frypan the same way, but it should be under a range hood, and with the smoke detector disabled!

                                1. re: jayt90

                                  I would buy something cheaper if I thought it was going to work, but I don't think a coffee roaster made of plastic is worth it's weight in beans. For roughly $200 more than the Cafe Rosto, you get a MUCH more substantial machine. When yoiu see the difference, the CR is really only worth $50 tops My BEHMOR is running perfectly, and does not require as much maintenance as someone who does not even own one mentioned in another thread.

                                  1. re: foodyDudey

                                    I haven't seen the Behmor, and it wasn't available two years ago. Maybe the beanery will let me trade up.

                                    1. re: jayt90

                                      It only came out about a year ago. The story of it's development is interesting.
                                      You can read a bit about it here:
                                      You should ask about some sort of trade up. I bet the price may increase, since the USD is worth much more than beaver bux now.

                                    2. re: foodyDudey

                                      I'd been meaning to check back with you and forgot :-(

                                      Have you figured out how to get a successful dark roast with that machine?

                                      1. re: embee

                                        I thought you were just ignoring me as I didn't get any email response from you. :-)

                                        Yes, put about 20% less beans in the drum than the program selected. For exanple, in the last batch I roasted 12 oz. of beans but selected the "1 lb" program. You really need to do this under a big range hood, or outside as the smoke reducer is not able to process all the smoke you get when roasting like this. I just drank a cappuccino from beans I roasted yesterday... it's nothing like anyhing you can get retail.

                                    3. re: jayt90

                                      Sweet Maria's has a very interesting review of that machine. It seems you need a voltage regulator to keep it working. I don't know whether this addresses your current issues, but try:


                                      I can't imagine the Green Beanery offering a trade-in, but let us know if they do. I assumed their non-service would improve when they opened the big cafe/store, but they seem as out of it as they were on Brunswick.

                                      While my Hearthware roaster works very well, I can't recommend it. Its screaming noise level makes it hard to hear the cracks and quickly becomes unbearable.

                                      1. re: embee

                                        I don't think you need a voltage regulator unless you had bad wiring in your home which caused the voltage at the outlet to drop too low. Even if it did drop, it is only going to cause the roast time to extend a bit, and you can use the method I mentioned above to take care of that. (less beans )
                                        Greenbeanery has a dedicated service technician now, which they didn't have when "Bruce" was taking care of service. The new guy seems competent. They still have the Brunswick location, that's where I picked up my 30 lbs of beans.

                                        1. re: foodyDudey

                                          That post didn't thread nicely. The comment was about jayt90's Cafe Rosto, which seems to suffer from chronic voltage issues. This might have some connection with his chronic "lose power" experiences.

                                          1. re: embee

                                            I moved the Cafe Rosto to the laundry room (close to the electricity box) last night, and did two batches of Guatemala beans, the first at 10 minutes, the second at 13, and both were similar: brown, medium, and acidic.
                                            I'll blend them with my Kenya Makwa, which I'll do a bit darker in the cast iron wok.
                                            I have no idea how to add a voltage regulator or where to get one at reasonable cost. I bought a popcorn maker at Wal-Mart as a back up to Cafe Rosto, and I expect I'll give the greenbeanery technician a call. They have an extended warranty option, with 50% off on repairs. They also have repair instructions on the web site, but I don't know what is required yet.

                                            1. re: jayt90

                                              I doubt you need a voltage regulator. It's better to buy a new roaster than add the expense of a voltage regulator. Keep in mind that most roasters draw at least 800 va so you need a good sized transformer. What you would require is usually called a VARIAC, or autotransformer.
                                              This link may help you:

                                              Personally, I would not take that route.

                                  2. re: Yongeman

                                    A French keyboard helps for the accents... yes, I'm French-Canadian and just need my accents! :-)

                                    My roaster is a FreshRoast Plus 8 coffee roaster. I got it for about $100 at Birds and Beans in Nov. 2007, am roasting every day and it is still going strong. They don't seem to carry a roaster anymore, though. I'm sure they'll help you if you call them and ask, though.

                                    1. re: pâté chinois

                                      Merci beaucoup, pc. That's a reasonable price for the roaster. Is it electric? Sorry, I really have no experience with coffee roasting.

                                      I answered my own question by googling it. Thanks.

                          2. re: Yongeman

                            Just an update on the Costco coffee that I discussed in the previous post. It's currently on special for $9.99 for 2 lbs! Bought some today with an expiry date of Feb. 13, 2010!! Bet it would be really 'yummy' by then.

                      2. You don't have to leave the hood, Louis aka Cafe Azoriano at the corner of Baldwin and Augusta, fair trade organic $9.99. Go with the Privateer Dark if you're used to Ideal.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: chef_vegabond

                          TAN coffee at Queen close to Ossington is great...better than Ideal imho...