The Monkey Grind Espresso Bar

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The Monkey Grind Espresso & Wine Bar
The Monkey Grind Espresso Bar Sign, originally uploaded by andai.

I was down in the Greenwood area to visit a friend some months ago when I noticed the Monkey Grind Espresso Bar sign. This shop and sign is located right on North 85th Street. On seeing this sign, my first thoughts were, “now there’s a really awesome sign… I have to try their coffee”. Alas, the shop was closed. This was on a Sunday late afternoon about 6:00 PM or so.

Now it just so happened that last weekend, I was close enough to take a detour and drop in for a cuppa… so I did. I enjoyed chatting with the barista as she told me a little about the place. Now right off the bat, I must say there are some things that I do like about the Monkey Grind Espresso & Bar

  • Really cool logo – one of the best logos I have seen – actually this is what attracted me to the store
  • Great barista – very friendly and fun to chat with
  • Small, cosy with great ambience and nice coffeehouse feel to it. I was there in the late morning so I don’t know what the evening ambience for wine drinking is like so I
  • Their support for and use of Fair Trade Certified coffee beans
  • Did I say really cool logo? Works really great on the t-shirts they sell

Ok that being said, here are the things that I didn’t like about the place

  • My main disappointment with my latte was that they use of Tony’s Coffee roast beans. So here is the interesting thing about Tony’s Coffee. I know of an espresso stand on Capital Hill that also uses Tony’s Coffee beans and I very clearly remember not liking their espresso. At that time I really didn’t think about it other than deciding that I probably wasn’t going to be going back there for my latte but now here is a second coffee shop that uses their beans and once again I really did not enjoy my latte.
  • The other part of it is that I asked for a double but the barista made me a single. No big deal since I reminded her that I had ordered a double so she quickly pulled another shot and poured it into my latte. But the funny thing is that even with two shots, the coffee wasn’t really a good strong solid latte. Now I don’t know if that is a result of them using Tony’s Coffee roast or whether its was the skill of the barista. I certainly would have liked the latte to have been stronger.

So what do I think? My first reaction would be to suggest that they change the roast. But I don’t know is that is really the right answer. I am now thinking that I would like to find another shop that also uses Tony’s Coffee and see if the issue is indeed the roast being used rather than the skill of the barista. If it is indeed the roast, then I would suggest that they either get a different, more flavourful roast or source from a different roaster. Of course if it is the barista, maybe they may need to work more on creating better espresso drinks. I do know however that I didn’t really enjoy my latte and that does not make for repeat business.

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