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About Us

About the Company

Founded in 1995 by David Thompson, Dark City is an extension of a coffee shop called Coffee Tree, opened up by David and friends.
Coffee Tree was the first street front retail coffee roaster in Toronto opening in 1987.

Dark City’s main focus back then was roasting coffee, daily, in plain view of our customers, even taking on special requests for single pounds. The concept expanded on the roaster/ cafe concept by adding a full-on restaurant, including bar, and live jazz every week.

There were poetry readings, special guest performers and after
hour parties. Located at 307 Danforth Avenue, it became one of the coolest places to go in Riverdale. After shutting down the Danforth location, in 1999, Dark City became solely dedicated to roasting and delivering the finest, freshest coffee, directly to our customer’s homes.

Dark City has never advertised and never followed trends. When large chains came along with

their dark roast everything, we wouldn’t do it. It is almost criminal to over-roast high quality coffee and lose all of the subtleties in exchange for charred carbon taste.

When the 3rd wave (Dark City is pre-wave) of coffee- thinking came through along with their under-roasted, hipster, sour coffee, we wouldn’t do it. – repetitive content. We have always stayed true to our core principals of roasting – coffee to bring out the best result and that means no under-roasting and no over-roasting.

When Dark City started, nobody was doing fresh roast, delivered to
your door the next day. Now there are endless knockoff roasters doing the very same thing.

They might be cheaper too, but at what price to you? To be honest, Dark City has never been too concerned with the cost of the coffees
we buy. There is only one principal we adhere to, and that is this: Any coffee we sell you must have to make your knees buckle or do backflips!

Want to know more about our history, read about us in Roast Magazine.

DAVID THOMPSON

Role: Owner and Head Roaster & Coffee Perfectionist

Why Dark City Coffee: For some odd reason, my beloved grandmother decided to turn me into a coffee addict at the tender age of five years old. She let me dip buttered bread into her coffee and I’ve been hooked on coffee ever since.

I’m interested in roasting high-end coffees, coffees that buckle your knees and make my customers fall to the ground in high-end gratitude. Creating and acquiring new, rare, amazing coffee is my life passion, and Dark City allows me to manifest it, beginning at 4am, every day.

My Favourite Coffee:
Sourcing a new coffee is akin to finding buried treasure for me. There is always the new treasure to find and then introduce to our growing fellow coffee-addicted customers. I tend to gravitate to the ‘naturals’ for their fruity complexity. Ethiopians are usually my go-to coffees.

On Roasting Coffee:
The most important aspect of roasting coffee is attention to the roast. You have to be 100% focused on the development of the roast with no distractions! (No phone calls, no texts while roasting. You have to follow the progression of the roast and constantly make heat adjustments in order to achieve the optimal profile for the bean. Don’t mess with the process, when Im roasting, it’s an art that cannot be interrupted.

Passions other than Coffee:
Cooking, Sailing, Rocketry, Music

Favourite thing to do in the City:
Dining, the a live music show

 

JULLY GRITZAN

Role: Administrator/Customer service/front house Putting out David’s fires
Why Dark City Coffee: In 2010 I had my very first sip of fresh roasted quality coffee from Dark City Coffee I was completely hooked. By 2013 I started working there and my passion for both the company and the coffee seems to grow with each passing month. Love what you do, right?

Why I love working at DCC:
I really enjoy the process of helping people discover coffee: roasting it fresh, brewing it right, and drinking it together. I believe that work can be a source of joy and wonder. My partners and I both work and play hard. Which means joy is never too far off–and when you’re tasting world-class coffee, wonder never ceases to exist. And then there’s the great music we play while working!

My favourite coffee:
As I have access to so many great quality coffees my favorites change continuously. Last week it was the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Natural Worka this week is Bali Kintamani Natural.

Passions other than coffee:
I love music and love singing! I am a member of Scarborough Harmony Chorus (of Harmony Inc.) It is an inclusive, all female group that is passionate about singing 4-part harmony and bringing this joy of song to others.

I’m also a kick-ass athletic girl. Yoga, pilates, kick boxing, weight lifting, hiking and sailing are my physical passions.

Favourite thing to do in the City:
Sitting on a patio listening to live music with a glass of wine in the company of friends and family

 

KEVIN PLENER

Role: Roaster Satisfying David’s penchant for coffee perfection!

Why Dark City Coffee: What could you do every day for the rest of your days without looking back and thinking you should have done something else? For me its coffee!

Working at Dark City Coffee is like exploring exotic parts of the world one cup at a time, and there is an endless and ever-evolving selection of some of the finest and rarest coffees in the world. One more thing – we all love the same music!

Favourite Dark City Coffee:
These days, it’s a blend of Colombian and a Brazilian Peaberry, medium roast. Or, I’m liking an El Salvadorian, natural processed micro-lot and a Natural Yirgacheffe.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a real, down-to-earth guy. For example, another fave was an in-house blend that we roast for a downtown café. If you really want to know what my favourite Dark City Coffee is, ask me tomorrow.

On Roasting Coffee – ‘Respect the Bean!’:
The most important aspect of a roast to me is respecting the bean. I think of the origin and all the hands that worked to get the bean to my roaster. If you listen carefully the bean will tell its story and how it wants to be roasted. I see myself as another set of hands helping the bean along in its journey to your cup.

Passions other than coffee:
My family. Watching my two children grow and discover who they are is the ultimate magic of living. Watching them explore their world with the widest of eyes, where everything is new and holds endless potential never ceases to amaze me. It
keeps me grounded and reminds me of the importance of retaining my own innocence as I age.

I also love to test drive an assortment of wines and Scotches to expand my palate and flavour vocabulary, but never while driving or babysitting.

Favourite thing to do in the City: Exploring High Park in the spring

 

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