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May 8, 2010 06:39 AM

Merchants of Green Coffee. Are they worth the shoe leather?

Who's been? Who knows?

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  1. Went once. Not much selection. High prices. Staff had limited knowledge.
    Since then I have stayed with Greenbeanery, which has good selection and pricing, but limited staff knowledge.

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

    7 Replies
    1. re: jayt90

      I've been there 2 or 3 times in the last couple months and also sent my partner once to pick up some coffee as he lives close by.

      Unless you happen to talk to the owner, who rarely works in the retail space, I find all you encounter are staff that make you feel like serving you is a burden. All short one word answers. Very little desire to help. When I asked when the coffee roaster that they sell (which is out of stock) would be in stock they just replied that they didn't know and made no offer to find out or take my number to call or anything.

      The roastedcoffees they sell retail there to walk-ins are limited to a few selections because their business is mainly wholesale and the coffee would go stale if they had more selection, but they are definitely outstanding and roasted very frequently.They supply The Big Carrot on the Danforth amongst other stores. They also sell a large selection of green beans (ie unroasted).

      If you get a chance to talk to the owner sometime, you will find he is very friendly and is a wealth of knowledge about coffee, but I too am put off by the store staff.

      I've been to the Green Beanery many times too, btw, but mostly for a coffee and not to buy roasted coffee. They do seem to have the biggest selection of green beans in Toronto and a huge selection of coffee machines, roasters, carafes, grinders, etc. but I have never looked to see what roasted beans they have. Their counter staff, though, doesn't seem to be any more friendly than Merchants of Green Coffee to me.

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

      1. re: Flexitarian

        Darn you, Flexitarian. Bad service should come with bad product. Outstanding coffee that's roasted frequently may be worth the indifference. Thanks for both raising and lowering my expectations. I know what to do next.

        1. re: Googs

          Do what I do - buy a roaster and green beans at the Green Beanery, and roast it at home. They every time you read a thread here about the best espresso in Toronto or why the employees in the espresso bars have so much attitude, you can just sit back and laugh, and make yourself another cup at home.

          I checked out the prices at Merchants of Green and I'd say there is not justification for the prices. Even the roasters were much higher in price than the Green Beanery. I've had no problem with GB, and am almost out of my 25lb bag of Espresso Choco, which is great when medium roasted.

          My opinion is that MoG is not worth the chaff that comes off the beans when roasted, and much less the shoe leather on my shoes. :-


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

          1. re: foodyDudey

            I totally agree with you about buying green and roasting. I've done it a few times in the oven and it was great, but a bit of a pain to keep watching the beans so I am buying a roaster as I've noticed a big difference with freshly roasted beans and those more than 5 or so days old.

            I think with MOG and their business being mostly wholesale they just don't care to focus on retail customers or they are just poor managers and don't know how to hire people. I only use them when it is convenient. Either way, their coffee is definitely good. I have noticed their green beans appear to be more expensive than other sources.

            I found their roasted Sumatra very good and the best of what was available there.

            On a final note, I just got back from 6 few weeks in Australia and their coffee culture is much more developed than ours and it is no problem getting a great cup of espresso, capuccino, flat white or regular coffee with no attitude. In Toronto I only go out for coffee for the company, but not the coffee (and certainly not when I've had the best at home!)

        2. re: Flexitarian

          I'm assuming your interest is in green unroasted coffee beans. I've never found Merchants to be worth the trip even though I work about 4 blocks away; very limited selection. By default, most of my purchasing has been on line through Green Beanery, with additional sampling through Everyday Gourmet at SLM and Birds & Bees.

          Of late, I've been dealing with the well known Sweet Maria's in the US; they offer unprecedented knowledge and breadth of careful selection. Even with the seemingly high cost of shipping, the landed price is no more than buying local. Highly recommended.

          The Toronto area of Coffee Geek forums offers up additional information on home roasting and is worth exploring.

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

          1. re: lightbulb

            I totaly agree. I can walk to Merchant's, but I gave up on them long ago. Limited selection, little-to-no knowledge, and high prices. I had really wanted to support them, but it never got better.

            I do buy things at Green Beanery on occasion, but I mainly order from Sweet Maria's.

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

        3. re: jayt90

          Total waste of time. I agree.

          I just order online from PT's Coffee in Topeka, KS and have it shipped to my UPS Store mailbox in Niagara Falls, NY...

        4. remind me again:
          isn't part of the benefit of going to MoGC is that you are supporting fair trade coffee and sustainable practices?
          read about it here:

          anyways, i've bought their coffee a few times and roasted it at home in my oven. it was pretty nice. if i see them at one of the farmers' markets, i will buy their coffee.

          3 Replies
          1. re: atomeyes

            Green Beanery does the same sort of thing and has better quality, selection, and service.


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

            1. re: TexSquared

              To their credit, Green Beanery has an excellent technician in the King Street location.
              If you need service on a coffee machine, grinder, or roaster, or advice on what to buy, this is the place to go to.

              1. re: jayt90

                I agree GB has a very good selection of home roasters and grinders, they have an extremely limited offering of espresso machines. Besides the fairly well regarded Rancillo and Pasquini lines, they fail to carry even a single example of the classic and seldom improved upon Faema E61 grouphead design; a glaring omission IMHO.

                Faema Cafe
                3175 Rutherford Rd, Vaughan, ON , CA