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Where to get coffee beans that won't break the bank but taste good? San Francisco transplant needs help.

Kitchen Imp Sep 22, 2009 06:50 AM

I've just moved to Toronto from the San Francisco Bay Area, where I've been spoiled with excellent coffee beans available from the supermarket. I'm trying to find a source of beans that are as good as what I'm used to -- Peets, for those of you who are familiar with it, or Trader Joe's French Roast -- for less than $10/lb. Is this possible?

I've been drinking Medaglia d'Oro, which I can live with. Yesterday I made the mistake of trying President's Choice in a can. Oops.

I keep thinking there must be something better. Where do you get good, full-bodied, tasty, eye-opening beans? Pre-ground is ok.

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  1. n
    Nyleve RE: Kitchen Imp Sep 22, 2009 06:54 AM

    Kensington Market - House of Spice. Get either the Royal Blend or Thai Blend. Both good and hefty without the hefty price tag. They'll grind it for you if you want, or you can get just beans.

    1. dannyboy RE: Kitchen Imp Sep 22, 2009 07:45 AM

      Lit Espresso Bar, Roncesvalles in the west end --- The have Stumptown beans, 3/4 lb for $12, really really nice stuff

      1. b
        blogs RE: Kitchen Imp Sep 22, 2009 08:01 AM

        Everyday Gourmet Coffee
        Lower level and the St. Lawrence Market

        I Deal Coffee
        Kensington Market
        84 Nassau Street, Toronto, ON

        Moonbean Coffee
        Kensington Market
        30 St Andrew St, Toronto

        All of the above roast their coffee onsite and have good products. Pricing will be in the $9 to $14 range and you will know your beans are fresh

        5 Replies
        1. re: blogs
          Danybear RE: blogs Sep 22, 2009 09:02 AM

          May seem mundane, but I buy my beans at COSTCO. I purchase Starbucks French Roast for about half what Starbucks stores charges. A good selection of coffee.

          1. re: Danybear
            Yongeman RE: Danybear Sep 22, 2009 11:30 AM

            I concur with DB about Costco. Obviously not as freshly roasted as the local places, but quite good. I buy Zavida Organic, Rainforest Alliance Certified. It's 2 lb. for less than $13! That's only $6.50/lb. Vacuum sealed.

            1. re: Yongeman
              Davwud RE: Yongeman Sep 23, 2009 04:41 AM

              I stock up as much as I can with the William Spartivento beans at Costco when they do the road show. Really good beans. I grind my self so I can afford to keep them around a little longer.



              1. re: Yongeman
                pâté chinois RE: Yongeman Sep 25, 2009 07:33 AM

                I second Costco's Zavida Organic coffee. I usually roast my own coffee beans but when roasting is not an option, I get Zavida.

            2. re: blogs
              Googs RE: blogs Sep 25, 2009 05:18 PM

              I'll happily 2nd Everyday Gourmet. I can get just about anything that I would buy at the St Lawrence Market right in my own neighbourhood. If I run low on coffee, though, I'll make a special trip to the SLM just for that.

            3. c
              currycue RE: Kitchen Imp Sep 22, 2009 02:28 PM

              If you're living too far from these places and the grocery store is your only option. Try these guys:


              I like their Zen blend, but it's all good. And they deliver!

              3 Replies
              1. re: currycue
                foodyDudey RE: currycue Sep 22, 2009 06:44 PM

                It will be well over $10/lb after you factor in the postage etc. My 2 lb orders were usually over $30 and that's one reason I roast my own now. Dark City has great coffee, just not at the price the poster requested.

                1. re: foodyDudey
                  currycue RE: foodyDudey Sep 23, 2009 08:58 AM

                  True, they are a little pricey. I get my beans from Ideal, personally, they opened up near my house, however, I'm getting really fed up with their grinder issues. Always too course and inconsistent. Wondering what grinder you use or can recommend for a pump espresso machine. I'd much rather the grind be too fine than too course (I tend to make lattes anyway)


                  1. re: currycue
                    foodyDudey RE: currycue Sep 24, 2009 02:46 PM

                    I have a Rancilio grinder and espresso machine. See here for pictures: http://www.greenbeanery.ca/bean/catal...

                    I bought mine in November 2007 and it's been flawless.

              2. jayt90 RE: Kitchen Imp Sep 22, 2009 05:52 PM

                Greenbeanery at Bathurst and Bloor has a large selection of roasted coffee, mostly $7-$10/lb.
                Green beans at $5/lb, too.
                It is a not for profit place, and it usually undercuts the prices at the specialty places noted in previous posts.

                2 Replies
                1. re: jayt90
                  foodyDudey RE: jayt90 Sep 22, 2009 06:45 PM

                  Green Beanery is a great place to buy fresh and roasted coffee, roasters and any other related items. That's where I buy all my supplies now.

                  1. re: jayt90
                    basileater RE: jayt90 Sep 24, 2009 02:27 PM

                    I purchase green beans from the Greenbeanery. It's a great place. The initial investment in the roaster was about $200 but we have made our money back many times in savings from purchasing the beans green. Also I hate shopping so I prefer to buy a big lot and roast as I go. Cheap, good, ethical -what's not to love?

                  2. a
                    Abbeshay RE: Kitchen Imp Sep 22, 2009 06:51 PM

                    I buy my beans at Whole Foods Market in the city. They sell big vacuum packed bags, I think they're nearly a pound and a half, for approximately 13.00 each. I buy two bags-one to use right away and the other goes straight into the freezer. This system lasts me about a month and a half and then I just buy some more. The beans I buy are labeled "French Roast" on the shelf but the bag says "Italian Roast", I don't know why. However, the taste of these beans is comparable to Starbucks French Roast beans and I'm satisfied that I'm saving at least 5 bucks per bag.

                    1. Davwud RE: Kitchen Imp Sep 23, 2009 04:43 AM

                      The new Longo's in Aurora has a nice selection. I assume the others do as well.


                      1. d
                        Dalexl RE: Kitchen Imp about 5 hours ago


                        Directly from the source, the same as you'd get at their Costco road Show.

                        If you have a good Espresso Machine, I recommend the "Grand Italia" Full city roast. It's the same as the "Vivaldi" that you can find at Costco William Spartivento road show. I have an Expobar Brewtus IV-R which is high-end Prosumer Coffee Machine. This machine break the bank, but I never looked back or regretted it, in fact for me it's totally worth it. The William Spartivento Coffee is the best I could find for price and it's a reliable source.

                        If you like Drip Coffee, they have the Kilimandjaro Pea Berry very tasty, particular, eye-opening beans. I didn't try theirs, but when I roasted my own beans with the Gene-Cafe Coffee Roaster, the Tanzanian Pea Berry was my favorite, so I figure theirs must be good too.

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