Part of the Flywheel work culture is our downtown office, a caffeine-lover’s paradise surrounded by coffee shops. To celebrate International Coffee Day today (October 1) we put our neighbourhood brews to the test. Behold, the blind latte taste test!
In this corner we have our designer Mia, a 26-year-old who drinks 5-8 coffees per week and prefers a black drip cup of joe from Mable’s. In the other corner we have content marketer Shane, a 41-year-old who drinks about 4 lattes per week and can’t pass up his favourite, Jimmy’s. Both judges closed their eyes for the entire test, and made honest comments about each drink.
We selected the four closest cafes, all within a couple minutes’ walk from our office at 130 Spadina Ave, just south of Chinatown in Toronto’s Fashion District. The local players were Le Gourmand, most famous for their devilishly delicious cookies; StrangeLove, known for their colourful anti-nap mural; and The Roastery, home to our city’s artists as part of the 401 Richmond building. We also chose to test lattes versus drip coffee so we could get a sense of the coffee quality as well as the barista’s skills. As a control, we also got a Starbuck latte, and Shane made a latte using our office coffee machine (which he had never done before). Let’s get ready to rumble!
While Shane felt the foam was “thick and good,” Mia felt there wasn’t enough of it. Both agreed there was too strong of a coffee taste in relation to the milk.
Shane’s rating: 6/10
Mia’s rating: 5.5/10
The fan favourite emerged quickly with this cup. Shane called it simply “better” as it was “unique, earthy, and chocolatey.” Mia described it as the nicest espresso base - a “playful” and non-generic latte. Although they agreed the foam was thin and lacking, this latte still came out on top.
Shane’s rating: 7.5/10
Mia’s rating: 8/10
Mia was okay with this one, saying the foam was so bubbly it was almost a cappuccino. Shane called it “store bought coffee” and said he’d rather get Starbucks.
Shane’s rating: 6.5/10
Mia’s rating: 7/10
Shane felt the coffee was mild and the foam was “loose.” Mia agreed she didn’t get the expected microbubbles. Both our judges were able to guess that this was the Starbucks latte.
Mia’s rating: 6/10
To make sure we couldn’t do any better before critiquing our neighbours, we included this control cup. To Shane’s dismay, it wasn’t as easy as expected, and he concluded “an idiot made it” while Mia felt it was “not the worst taste ever.”
Shane’s rating: 1.5/10
Mia’s rating: 3.5/10
In the aftermath of this microbubble-filled marathon, both our judges declared StrangeLove’s latte to be the unanimous title-winner. As they continued on through the day (now totally hopped up), Shane continued to rave over it, and has since bought three more lattes from StrangeLove. So if you ever want to stop by and meet the team, we know where to get the best coffee around.