When it comes to coffee houses, there’s a few things I look for:
1. Decent internet. Ample plug-in sockets are an asset.
2. A welcoming decor including enough space to avoid having somebody reading my computer screen or vice-versa (speaking of which I was in a coffee shop and the guy beside me had a glamour shot of himself as his wallpaper…creepy).
3. At least something decent to munch on.
A bonus is always an attempt at a unique interpretation of a coffee concoction.
Tampered press is located at the corner of Crawford and Dundas. It’s a humble exterior complete with a bowl full of dog treats and water on the sidewalk. When you enter, it opens up into a spacious square room containing communal and smaller tables. The high shelves are lined with books (which included what I’m assuming was a get this the hell out of my house donated copy of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons). There’s art on the wall, they take credit cards, adopt the clean spoon/dirty spoon concept and have a tip cup that says “Tips” as opposed to “College Fund” or “Karma Jar”.
The list of beverages included the standard lattes and americanos but I was interested in the dirty chai. I think I’m drawn to dirty things, so I had to ask. Turns out it’s a chai latte laced with espresso which, according to the barista, balances the normal overbearing sweetness of a normal chai tea latte. Sounded good to me, so I ordered a medium for about four bucks. With a skill which was second nature and while discussing the ridiculousness of vegetable bread, she produced a great drink complete with the signature leaf decoration on top. I quite enjoyed it and went up for seconds. The cheese croissant was pretty good as well.
There’s a million coffee shops in Toronto (500 000 if you exclude Starbucks). Some look like they were carved out of a garage and others have a cosiness where you can stretch out, people watch and surf the net with decent wi-fi for the next coffee shop you’ll infiltrate. The Tampered Press is the latter. They make a decent latte, serve a good croissant and have lots of characters to gawk at….and you get a leaf on your latte! As for the name, it might be fun to open up either a dog groomer or a hair studio next door called “The Pampered Tress”. That way, people would get even more confused looking for a coffee shop with a Crawford address who’s storefront actually sits on Dundas.