Thursday, February 27th, 2014
Saying goodbye to something you love is never easy, even if you know it’s time. For Matt, that time was a couple years ago and now, it seems my time has come as well.
As of tomorrow, my eight-year run as co-owner/co-founder of Mercury Espresso Bar will come to an end.
This decision was extremely difficult to make, but I know that it’s right, it’s time. Over the last year, the demands of running Mercury, starting up Hitch and trying to be the husband and father my family deserves has taken its toll, and in the end I feel like I haven’t given any of them the amount of attention and focus that they deserve. And so, something had to give – and that something is Mercury.
Eight years ago, we took possession of this space, gaudy, fluorescent-lit, drop-ceilinged, red vinyl-clad knock-off of a sub shop in the heart of a neighbourhood that was, well, let’s just say not the same neighbourhood that it is today, and with our own hands turned it into this, a place where people to come to meet, hang out, talk, read, listen to music, do the crossword, catch up on work, check out art, nap and last but not least, drink some of the most kick-ass coffee to be found in this entire city. Of that I’m pretty f%#kin proud.
Through Mercury I’ve met a lot of pretty amazing people over the years – some are staff, some are customers, some are suppliers, but all are friends and they, just like this place, will always be a part of my life in one way or another.
So let me just finish by saying what I really want to say, and that’s thank you. Thank you for being the best customers, best staff, best suppliers, best friends and the best job anyone could ask for. You all make this place what it is and without you, it wouldn’t be any better than the gaudy little sub shop it grew out of.
I love you all and look forward to having a coffee with you on the other side of the bar.
Take care. Be well.
Oh, and for those of you afraid of or resistant to change, please know that other than me leaving, nothing else will be any different here. It’ll still be the same crazy, passionate staff with talent up to their eyeballs, using amazing coffee to make you the consistently incredible, kick-ass drinks you’ve come to expect outta here.
And yes, there’s a good chance they’ll still be playing their same crazy music, maybe a little bit too loud. Just like you’ve also come to expect.
Thursday, January 12th, 2012
Here’s a link to a great piece (and part of a great series) that blogTO did on one of the fantastic staff members that I’m so fucking lucky to have working here at the shop. Without the likes of Aerin and the rest of the crew we’d be just another shop with an unremarkable staff serving up
unremarkable coffee (well, we’d still be serving the same coffee we do now so maybe not unremarkable, though I do realize it’s not just what’s in the cup but the person putting it there, as well).
Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.
Friday, December 9th, 2011
For those of you who’ve heard the buzz and have been inquiring about the details of the Pop Up Shop happening here next Thursday December 15th, here’s a link to Mr Fidel Gastros site which has everything you need to know…
and for those of you who haven’t heard I have 3 things to say to you :
1. Spicy Poutine and Bacon Sandwich
2. Chorizo Sausage Macaroni & 3 Cheese Sandwich
3. Cayenne, Cilantro and Beer Soaked Pulled Pork, Virginia Ham, Caramelized Onions & Havarti Cheese Sandwich
and if you’re still not convinced then let me also throw in :
4. Sticky Toffee Pudding
5. Mercury Coffee
Thursday, December 1st, 2011
As some of you may or may not know, my time as co-owner of Mercury is coming to an end. I will be resigning my position as of December 31, 2011. This was not entirely an easy decision as I love Mercury, our wonderful staff and our amazing customers. But there comes a time when you just know it’s time to move on.
Over the past near six years, I have made so many new friends and learned so much from everyone I have had the honour of crossing paths with. I also met my beautiful wife Katie here. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the last few years of my life. But now it’s time to start another chapter.
Katie and I will be moving across the world to sunny Australia, where she is from to spend some time with our family and friends there. Our move will not be right away, but more likely in the last half of 2012.
Now, I’m not all that good at sentimental goodbyes (or even just plain goodbyes for that matter), so I will keep this short. I would much rather say goodbye to you all in person as that is how we got together in the first place. So come on down to the shop and let’s have a coffee together to celebrate amazing friendships that wouldn’t have been possible without this awesome little hole in the wall that you all crafted into what it is now.
When we first opened the doors of Mercury back on March 20, 2006, we had no idea what was to be in store for us. All we wanted was a place that we could drink kick ass coffee and listen to music that we wanted to listen to. Little did we know that all of you would want the same things as us, and for that, I am truly grateful.
This has been such a humbling time in my life as there has not been a day that goes by that I haven’t learned something new. Whether it be coffee related or what….
So like I said, I want to keep this short as it’s easy to ramble on and on. So thank you Leslieville for all your support and patience as we’ve grown. Thank you to all of the amazing coffee roasters that have supplies us with the best coffee I’ve ever tasted. Thank you Doug Tiller for being a great friend and business partner. Thank you to my wonderful wife Katie for all of your love support. And thank you to everyone who has graced our bar as a barista. You guys are the best staff I could have ever hoped to work with over these past few years. You’re all so talented and passionate.
Please, do come in and see me before the end of the year and let’s have a coffee together before I have to pay for them.
See you soon folks…. You all ROCK!
Thank you for the past 5 ¾ years!
Saturday, September 10th, 2011
Since we opened our doors almost six years ago we’ve been constantly evolving, the sole purpose of which is to bring you the best cup of coffee possible.
That evolution continues…
Starting in October, we will be adjusting some of our take-out drink sizing. Each espresso drink will be offered in just one specific size, and that size will reflect that particular beverages perfect balance of espresso and milk. This will allow us to serve you a higher quality beverage that’s more consistent with our “for here” sizes, which is how they were originally crafted and intended.
Thank you for evolving with us.
Latte : Espresso with Steamed Milk 12oz
Mocha : Latte with our shop-made Cocoa Syrup added 12oz
Chai Latte : Our shop-made real Chai Tea Concentrate with Steamed Milk 12oz
Cappuccino : Espresso with Silky Foam 8oz
Flat White : Espresso with Steamed Milk 8oz
Americano : Espresso and Hot Water 12oz/8oz
Daily Brew : 12oz/8oz
Monday, March 14th, 2011
Things are shaping up quite nicely for this weekend’s birthday bash. We have eleven bands lined up to rock your socks off on Sunday afternoon, and a variety of things going on on Saturday.
So let’s begin with Saturday.
Come out and enjoy a coffee on us. We’ll have a separate line going for this as I’m sure it’ll be a hit on it’s own. We’ll be pressing George Howell’s Alchemy Blend in 8 and 12oz sizes for your drinking pleasure. So come down and have a go at it. Although the coffee is free, we will have a donation jar set up at the station to raise money for Coffee Kids, so please leave a little in the jar if you can. We will also be running a silent auction over the two days. We have at least three sets of great prizes ready so come in and place your bids and we’ll announce the winners on Sunday evening. That’ll go on throughout the day and come mid afternoon we’ll start getting ready for the evening festivities. At 7pm, we’ll be starting into the barista jam. As stated in the two previous posts, this will consist of the latte art showdown and for anyone interested in bringing their favourite coffee and brewing apparatus, we’ll have a manual brew-off as well. And speaking of manual brews, our pals down at Terroir/George Howell Coffee Co. have sent us some pretty special coffee that we’ll brew up throughout the weekend. To go along with the evening festivities, we’ll have some beer and some edibles available. All we ask is that you drop some coins in the Coffee Kids jar. Saturday’s events will go until late so make sure you get down and enjoy some geekery and everything else the night has to offer.
On Sunday, we have bands. Eleven of them. I have the line up ready and it goes as follows:
1:00-1:30: Nolan, Ken & Aerin
1:30-2:00: The Bait & Switch
2:00-2:30: Stiff Toys
2:30-3:00: Suitcase Sam & his Spectacular Two Man Band
3:00-3:30: Black Walls
3:30-4:00: Soup Kitchen Line-Up
4:00-4:30: Annelise Noronha
5:00-5:30: The Bitters
So there you have it. An afternoon of magical musical mayhem courtesy of Mercury staff, former staff and our awesome customers.
Oh ya…. Did I mention BIRTHDAY CAKE? Well I just did. So come one, come all to the biggest bash in the last millennium(we’ll try, I promise).
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MERCURY ESPRESSO BAR! See you in a few days.
Friday, March 4th, 2011
Less than three weeks to go folks…. Five years. And we’re gonna do it up properly for everyone.
So let’s take it from the start. Saturday March Nineteenth at Seven in the morning, we’ll open our doors and business will run as usual. That is, with one small difference. Our *DAILY BREW will be free (small and medium sizes only), thanks to our friends at George Howell/Terroir Coffee Company (http://www.terroircoffee.com/). We’ve been serving their coffees now since November 2010 and we can’t believe how off the charts awesome it is. It is truly a pleasure to be able to work with these amazing people and their coffees. This will go on throughout the day and all the next day.
Seven o’ clock in the evening rolls around…. you’re coming in for your evening shot of espresso…. Hmmmm. There are more people in here than normal, and there’s a lot of coffee talk and yes… you see it….. BEER. The good people at Mill Street Brewery (http://millstreetbrerery.com/) have graciously supplied us with beer. This is for you. All we ask is that you make a donation to a very worthwhile organization called Coffee Kids (http://coffeekids.org/). Please check out he website and read about this great cause.
Not only is there beer, but there are other prizes lurking about the shop. What are they you ask? You’ll have to come and find out. Not only beer and prizes will take up the evening. The focus, as always at Mercury will be the coffee and the baristas. We’ll be holding a good old fashioned Barista Showdown. So if you’re ready (and you really should be), there’ll be Latte Art Shenanigans that’ll only cost you Five Bucks a pour to strut yer stuff and the winner takes the pot. Let’s see if we can get ourselves a Manual Brew Show-Off going too. Bring your coffee and your manual brew paraphernalia and we’ll serve up our favourite coffees to whoever wants ‘em. But I suppose you’ll need food to keep you going as well. The folks down at George Brown College’s Culinary and Hospitality Program and The George Brown The Chefs’ House Restaurant (http://georgebrown.ca/thechefshouse/index.aspx) are going to bring by some nibble for us to snack on throughout the night.
We plan on making it as awesome for you guys as we can.
Now go home and get some sleep ’cause there’s a full day ahead of you.
We open at Eight in the morning as per usual. Again, free *Daily Brew in 12oz and 8oz sizes. As the morning starts to turn into afternoon, you’ll notice the drums, amplifiers and guitars appear in the front corner. Live music will commence some time between 11am and 12pm. There are a lot of musicians playing. Some you’ll know from behind our bar. Some you’ll know from meeting them in line to order your coffee every day. And some you’ll know from now on. Pretty awesome eh? So here they are, in no order yet:
Gay, Edison’s Torpedo, Black Walls, Silver Speakers, The Bait and Switch, Stiff Toys, Annelise Noronha, Soup Kitchen Line Up, Suitcase Sam and His Spectacular Two-Man Band, and The Bitters. WOW!
We will hand out more prizes on The 20th as well. Now seeing as Sunday March 20th is our actual 5th birthday, we will have cake. And we’ve heard rumours that there will be pizza being baked in a portable woof-fired pizza oven out on the patio. This is not confirmed yet but we’re working on making it happen for you. AND THERE WILL BE CAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We want to thank everyone who has made it possible over the last five years for us to keep going. We also want to thank all of the great baristas who work with us at Mercury every day (Neil, Robin, Aerin, Nolan, Ken, Kasia and Josh) and the string of them who have made there way through here at some point in time (Alex, Mike, Emily, Jacki, Alice, Adrian, Ashley, Drew, Rezza, Nick, Damien, Amber, Sameer, Addy, AJ, Emma, Sasha, Matt, Chris, Katie, Adam, Ben, Doug… I think (hope) I got them all).
Five years is a while and we plan on a while more yet. So come down or up or over to Mercury on March 19th and 20th and say hi.
CHEERS TO MUTHAF@#%KIN’ FIVE YEARS!
*Free coffee limited to one per person per visit
Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
So…. Five years has nearly come and passed since we started this thing on March 20, 2006. Can’t believe our little one is ready for Kindergarten already. It seems like only yesterday…….
But it’s not. It was five years ago. In that time, we’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing people. We’ve worked with some of the best baristas and made coffee with some of the most amazing beans in the world from the best coffee roasters we know of. We’ve learned new techniques and new brewing methods. This is the best thing about this industry. We have not stopped learning in five years. And we know there is so much more to absorb. We’re not going to go any further into coffee in this post, as it’s not what we intended to write about at all. This post is the first of a few over the next five weeks to get you ready for our weekend of birthday celebrations.
“The birthday weekend is when?” you ask.
“Why, it’s Saturday March 19th and Sunday March 20th” we say.
“What will happen on said weekend?” you ask.
To which we reply, “Lots of stuff.”
Hmmm….. Lots of stuff. Sounds fun, eh? Here are a few things we have planned:
SATURDAY MARCH 19, 2011
Festivities will start on the evening of the 19th. There will be a lot of coffee-geeking. We’re going to hold an all-out, no-holds-barred Barista Jam. Latte art, signature drink (in which alcohol is most definitely welcome), and manual brew throwdowns. In the next post, we’ll include the “Rules and Regulations” for these events.
There will be booze.
There will be cake.
There will be snacks.
There will be prizes.
This sounds like a very barista oriented evening but we do encourage everyone to come out and check it out. You’ll see what an amazing community of folks we have in the coffee world.
So let this be the FIRST OFFICIAL INVITE to Mercury Espresso Bar’s Fifth Birthday Bash. Calling all baristas from far and wide! Whether you’re a home barista or a old pro, we want to see you struttin’ yer stuff on the 19th here at Mercury.
We will also be taking donations for Coffee Kids, a great organization that helps children in coffee producing countries. Here is a link to their website so you can check them out:
SUNDAY MARCH 20, 2011
There will be bands. All day. You can come and check out some of your favourite Mercury Baristas doing what they do when they’re not making coffee. This’ll be most of us. Some of the musical entertainment will include:
The Bitters (Aerin Fogel)
Gay (Neil Rankin)
Soup Kitchen Line Up (Matthew Taylor)
Black Walls (Ken Reaume)
Edison’s Torpedo (Matthew Taylor)
Aerin Fogel, Nolan Kramer and Ken Reaume may get up together and rock your socks off as well.
There will be more to add over the next couple weeks. Hopefully some of your favourite Mercury Baristas from the past will make an appearance as well.
Along with all the music there will be *free coffee, more cake, and more prizes.
We will be adding to this list of awesomeness so keep checking back as we keep you posted on the weekend’s events.
So that is what it is. MERCURY TURNS FIVE. Come one… Come ALL!! Let’s celebrate together and make it an amazing Birthday Bash!
YOU ARE OFFICIALLY INVITED!
Mercury Espresso Bar
*Free coffee is limited to our Daily Brew selection and is also limited to one cup per customer per visit.
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
So…. We are trying out a new coffee roaster everyone. This is very exciting for us and we can wait for you to try these amazing coffees. Terroir Roasters out of Acton, Massachusetts…. These guys are freaking awesome. When I was at the roastery back in October, I cupped six coffees with them and of those six, three were the best coffees I’ve ever tasted. They focus on the highest quality Single Origin coffees. Many of these are Single Estate, and Single Varietals as well. Their focus is to roast these beans to bring out the optimum flavours in each coffee. Some of them may be a bit lighter than you are used to but trust me, they are out of this world in the full flavour department.
We’re running, as of the end of this week, A brand new blend that will go in your Lattes and Americanos. It’s actually so new, it hasn’t been named yet. The blend consists of beans from Brazil, Costa Rica and El Salvador. On it’s own as a shot, it starts off with a tangerine-like citrus and rounds out with hints of almond and a bold dark chocolate finish. When milk is added, the citrus mellows out and the almond becomes sweeter . But that dark chocolate is what shines through. Because of this, we’ve decided to put that on as our mainstay. It’ll be on our roster around the beginning of the weekend.
Now for the Espresso….. We will be rotating Single Origin Espressos. Please let us know which ones are your favourites so we can bring those ones back. Using Single Origin Espressos lets us convey Certain flavours that are very specific to that one particular coffee. We have been working on pulling Single Origins for five years now and some have worked, while others… well, let’s just say we’ll leave those ones out of the portafiltres. Through Terroir, we have found a few that work so well that I could barely belive they were Single Origins. They are so well balanced. This brings me to our first Featured Single Origin Espresso from Terroir: Kenya Mamuto. This is such an amazing shot. The flavours start out with a tart blackberry jam and then meld into a dry cocoa. It has everything a good shot should; body, balance and acidity. All that and amazing flavours to boot. It will start running tomorrow (Thursday November 24)
And now, a very exciting addition to our brewing roster at Mercury…. We will be offering Siphons and Chemexes as a brew service after 1pm daily. These will showcase some of the best coffees we can find. Besure to ask about these when you come in for your coffee. These will start after this weekend. The first coffee on the Siphon will be Ethiopia Yirgacheffe from the Konga Co-Op. This one changed the way I think about coffee. So subtle but so full of flavour. Notes of blueberry, star anise and bergamont. It’s a light roasted coffee and that’s exactly what this one should be. On the Chemex, we’ll be serving Up the Kenya Mamuto as well. Tasting it this way is so different from tasting it as an espresso. The blackberry tartness is still there but that underlying flavours are a real mix of sweet and savoury. You should definitely check this out.
Anyhow… That’s my piece. A bit long winded I know but we’re just so excited about the changes going on at Mercury. Come on down and give it a go. Try something you might not have tried before. It’ll be a blast!
Monday, November 1st, 2010
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