Café: Lit Espresso Bar

Location: 810 College Street, Toronto, ON
Other Locations: 221 Roncesvalles Avenue, Toronto, ON


Lit has been on my list of places to try when it opened. So yesterday’s visit to the new College Street location was long overdue. I was excited to taste the Stumptown Hair Bender brewed in a café, since I not had much luck with it at home on one previous occasion, as I had found it too bright for my palette.

From a machine setup point of view, I was excited when I walked in and saw a three-group La Mazrocco Mistral paired with large Mazzer. Like everybody else, I’m a sucker for Kees Van Der Westen design.

When I asked what to expect with the Hair Bender, I was told lots of complexity and sweetness.

After ordering, I was served in a 4 oz sized, classcially styled brown and white cup with nice thick walls. Larger cup like this has its advantages for smelling, but I still prefer smaller espresso cups.

Aroma was bright and layered with complexity with traces of floweriness and chocolate.

Initial taste had dominating brightness which continued for quite a while, and then moved to chocolate and toasty flavours with a bit of sweeteness. It had medium mouthfeel, perhaps leaning on the thin side. The aftertaste was my favourite part: lots of dark chocolate with good sweetness. Made me forget to ask for water.

When the barista asked my impressions, I mentioned that it was too bright for me, but that I really like the aftertaste. He mentioned that the coffee was about 4 days old, and that it probably needs a few more days for degassing.

Conclusions: Good Spot (Ratings Guide)

Nice to have someone else in town dedicated to produce great coffee in the west coast style. I think this blend is too bright for my taste, and I think on this day it was exasperated by its over freshness. Would have liked a tad more mouthfeel too. With a few more days of degassing, I think my impression would have been a B+. If you love bright coffee, you will probably have a higher rating.

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