Tuesday, November 25, 2008

CC: Kahawa Coffee House

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What's does "CC" mean?

Subject: Kahawa Coffee House
Location visited: Toronto, ON
Free WiFi ? : yes
Rating: 4+ [see key]



Kona coffee definitely sits in the mythological realm of coffee popularity. It seems that every person I get into a "what's your favorite coffee?" conversation, those that aren't as deeply obsessed as myself always play the Kona card. And while most of those Kona lovers have really never had true cup of Kona (most usally say they had a Kona "blend"), it just goes to show the effective publicity that Kona has laid down over the years.

Hence, whenever I see a coffee company or product with Hawaiian ties, I am skeptical. My most recent interaction with such doubt was with a coffeehouse up in Toronto called the Kahawa Coffee House. Located a bit northwest of Kensington Market, the quaint little coffeehouse not only sounds Hawaiian (maybe more Polynesian) but it also sports a very North Beach logo complete with a hyacinth flower. But I soon found out that the similarities halted there.

The exterior of the joint was nothing elaborate; just a bench, large window, and a very spiffy (and clean-looking) storefront. Inside, the coffeehouse was ablaze with orange and yellows amidst a handful of tables and a cute counter.

Kahawa actually roasts their own coffee in a compact homeroaster on the back counter. Knowing that small does not mean poor, I dove right into my Papua New Guinea drip (not literally of course; I'm too big). The coffee was a light roast, with a nice sweetness complimented by citrus and a tinge of grass; overall pretty good. The espresso on the other hand didn't bode as well, having a minute sweetness overshadowed by a strong dark bitterness. The tea is from Tea in the Sahara.

Finding the place very comfortable and not in cahoots with Kona mythology, I was content to leisurely take in Kahawa. Sure it seems that they could use some more skill in the barista skill realm but coffee-wise, they at least seem to have a fair foundation for the roasting. If you're in the area and looking for a vibrant place to sit and have some decent filtered joe, skip up to Kahawa.

Note: I have nothing against true Kona coffee, simply the blind love that people express having never had actually quality stuff. That's all really...

2 comments:

So Aware said...

It's very interesting that in South St. Pete, Florida, there is a commercial roaster using a very similar name for their coffee of Kahwa. I have been to their roasting location and they seem to be French Canadian. I would be very surprised if there was not a connection.

They offer three blends and one decaf. I have tried their dark and medium roast, and find both to be agreeable to the palate, leaving no bitterness or aftertaste on the tongue, leading me to believe they are using robusta very sparingly if at all.

Anyway, just a comment because the name of the place caught my eye. Your commentary is interesting. As a roaster, cupper in training, always ready to check out the independent shops, there are some interests in common.

Chris said...

Hi,

I just wanted to correct you and give you a little education on the word kahawa and where its derived from.

The word is not Hawaiian and there is no realtion to Kona coffee.

The word kahawa is the meaning for coffee in Swahili, which is the langauage spoken in much of East Africa. It also sounds very similar to coffee in Arabic "qahwah".

regards