Toronto Coffee and Tea Expo – The inaugural Toronto Coffee and Tea Expo this past weekend was filled to the brim with coffee and tea disciples lining up to experience some of the most select products available from Toronto’s diverse local businesses. The idea for the Toronto Coffee and Tea Expo has been brewing for over a year stemming from the organizers’ love of all things coffee and tea. They noticed how Toronto’s café culture was expanding and diversifying all over the city, so what better way to highlight and support our local businesses than to bring them all together in one pot (so to speak).
“We’re big coffee and tea fans and we think there’s an opportunity for a show here, kinda like the Food and Wine Show, but specific to this industry. We’re figuring we can grow year after year,” says Ben Dankiw, one of the four main event planners. They all agree that this is a passion project which most of the attendees at the show can relate to.
Samples, exclusive products, barista demonstrations, and workshops were happening in every corner of the Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo. One of the main highlights was the “Best Cup” competition, with winners Misha’s Mundi serving up the smoothest, most-organic-process-I’ve-ever-heard-of brew. “Misha stands for coatis which are animals native to South America,” says one of the founders of the Peruvian-Canadian company. “We started a small nursery, we raise them, take care of them, and they eat the ripened coffee berries whole and process it in their digestive system. The amino acids break down the acidity of the coffee which makes a smooth, rich coffee.”
Apparently, these coatis are part of the raccoon family (I doubt they act similarly to our Toronto raccoons…I hope). Truth be told, this coffee was smooth, rich and delicious all thanks to South American raccoon poo (I never thought I’d write that sentence).
Tea was just as popular in this space, with plenty of booths and products to explore, which included a workshop on how to create your own personal signature tea blend, an organic maple-ghee-matcha drink, and samples of traditional, organic, and other exclusive teas. One jam-packed booth was Chaiwala, a local Toronto company that has perfected fresh masala chai.
Lucan Woods, one of the founders of the expo and the coffee aficionado of the team says, “The vision for the show is that in Toronto we have a diverse, multicultural café culture and we have some amazingly passionate people here, and the aim of the expo is to celebrate that.”
And for those of us who are still a bit jittery today because we were celebrating our café culture heritage hard this past weekend, we can say, “Until next time, Toronto Coffee & Tea Expo. Now, back to our daily grind.”