Kensington Market has no shortage of coffee spots, but the only good espresso spot I had was at Krepesz. However, in the last couple of months, I’ve had the pleasure of dropping by Cafe Pamenar a couple of times, and they have been added to good Kensington espresso spots. I’ve had different baristas prepare shots for me on both occasions and had excellent shots both times. Based on the technique. execution and care that I saw in the preparation of my shots by a few baristas, I am confident that the training and dedication exists for preparing great espresso. With this kind of discipline, I don’t believe the good shots were a coincidence, so before I describe the shots, let me replay some of the background conversations I had with the baristas.
I was first attracted by Cafe Pamenar as they are primarily serving coffee from Discovery Coffee in Victoria. Not surprising as Cafe Pamenar’s owner worked there while he lived in Victoria and has a personal relationship with one of Victoria’s top roasters. During my second visit, I was sipping a shot of the Discovery espresso blend and remarked how fruity and floral I found it. The barista owner responded how that’s what they are shooting for in the way that they pull. He described how they ease up a little on the dose and pull it faster for a bit shorter time, as compared to the way Discovery is suggesting pulling the shot as they are emphasizing the caramels and chocolates notes more. This appreciations and understanding of nuances as well as the confidence to execute on your opinion and taste is something that I rarely find in Toronto cafés.
In terms of equipment to prepare the coffee, a 3-group La Marzocco Linea is the reliable consistent workhorse, and it is paired with 2 Anfim Super Caimanos with timers. One of the Anfims usually has the current Discovery Espresso, while the other grinder usually has something a challenging single origin that excited the baristas. Both times the single origin was from Discovery when I have been in. Bottomless portafilters are used to pull the shots which have been carefully watched carefully and timed.
The Discovery Espresso blend that I had was a three bean blend of a Panamian, Colombian, and Costa Rican coffee. The nose was dominated by a floral fruity sweetness that continued into the first sip with stone fruit and sweet apple flavours on a light nutty cacoa background. Lighter creamy sweetness filled the mouth with very subtle acidity. The nice long finsh was sweet and lightly floral. Acidity was towards the lighter side with a fruity theme.
Conclusions: Good Spot (Ratings Guide)
Great espresso that is carefully prepared with preparation understanding and confidence to serve based on palette. Something that is not found too often in Toronto, but that I’ll be enjoying during my visits to Kensington market.
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