Review: Bicerin Espresso Bar

This week has been Christmas shopping week for us.  On the last day off we shared together, we sauntered from the University of Toronto campus to the Eaton Centre, reluctantly giving into the commercialism of the season.  In the winter, in Toronto, if you are going to walk any distance in the cold it is absolutely necessary that you duck into a coffee shop somewhere along the way to warm up.  We made a stop at Bicerin.

Upon arriving at this cafe, things felt eerily familiar.  We strolled through Baldwin Village (part of Little Japan I take it) and into this espresso oasis squished between some Asian restaurants.  We learned from the barista that the cafe used to be called TAN Coffee, which we had visited before.  No wonder it looked so familiar.  I guess in the last year or so TAN had a name change and interior make over.

The cafe is small, nothing too fancy, but comfortable for the most part.  The only complaint was it was frigid inside. I heard a couple of customers complaining,  everyone with their coats scarves still on.  The cafe has a large menu, but we stayed true to our vocation: Latte tasting.  After ordering we moved to the bar at the window, taking a couple photos along the way (which – are much nicer than the shots taken on my awful camera phone, partly due to our slightly superior DSLR but mostly due to my wife’s aura of awesomeness).

I have to admit that the lattes turned out better than I had hoped for.  With the in-house roasted beans that allegedly carried tasting notes of caramel and vanilla, the milk was steamed and poured with excellence.  In fact, the latte art swirled into our mugs may even rival the infamous Fahrenheit.  The foam was pleasant, and I think this photo gives an idea of the texture:

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I really enjoyed the latte.  It wasn’t as sweet and memorable as those being served up at Fahrenheit but it was still delicious.  I could tell the beans were freshly roasted and on the darker side of a medium roast.  I thought I could taste the vanilla, but I may have just been deceiving myself.  As far as the milk preparation was concerned everything was all good.

Overall this place has a impoverished-college-hipster kind of feel, with customers exhibiting ironic mustaches and all. Bicerin is not a yuppie frequented Starbucks, it is the real deal, mustaches aside.  While the latte was very good, the barista didn’t seem too enthused about her product. Bicerin Espresso also serves the drink of their namesake.  When we asked about it, the barista replied, “It’s just a cappuccino with chocolate.”

I was hoping for a little more detail, and maybe some passion.

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