I expected to visit more coffee shops over the holidays than I did. I did manage to check out a couple, and the reviews will be coming shortly.
It’s becoming a tradition for us to travel to see our parents over the holidays. It’s a time when we get to catch up with family that we weren’t able to see during the semester, buried in books and deadlines as we were. I had a couple hours to myself one afternoon in Burlington (which is just west of Toronto) and followed my nose into Tamp Espresso.
Before I go on, I should note that the chances of finding a good latte outside of a major urban center, at least in Ontario, is slim to none. Starbucks, Second Cup, and Tim Horton’s abound, but that’s about it. Burlington is one of the cities that is lucky enough to have a great exception: Tamp.
The cafe is located downtown Burlington, littered with its many scenic paths along Lake Ontario. I visited on a lazy afternoon, bringing some books I was wanting to skim. The store was inviting, with some seating along a bar, at tables, or in padded chairs. The menu was awesome when it came to coffee. They brewed anyway you wanted, whether French Press, Syphon, or Aeropress. The espresso fare was great too. My only qualm was that the pricing was quite high for the slow-bar coffee services. I don’t remember details but I think some cups were pushing the eight dollar mark. Espresso prices were standard.
My latte was delicious. It had a robust dark chocolate taste, though it lacked some the sweetness that I prefer. I was surprised at how well the milk was textured and poured. The latte art was above and beyond my expectations, forgoing the usual rosetta, for a more stylized offset version. Anyone West of Toronto needs to check this place out. Of my coffee adventures thus far, the barista at Tamp has won first place in his pour.
One other point that drew me to Tamp was the neighbouring tobacconist-barber hybrid. While cigars may not be your thing, this shop was beautiful, with dark wood trim, a large walk-in humidor, and an ol’ fashioned barber working in the back. I was informed that they specialize in hot-towel shaves, which seems pretty old school. If you are the type to enjoy a cigar now and then, I am sure it would pair excellently with a syphoned coffee from Tamp next door.