Introducing: Thor Espresso Bar, which has “the coolest espresso machine on the planet”
There’s more to making good espresso than having really cool gadgets. That’s why Patrick Tu—who opened Thor Espresso Bar on Wednesday with his partner Tom Junek—is pretty excited that the company roasting his beans is Richmond Hill’s Social Coffee and Tea Co. The folks there helped Thor come up with its house blend, a mixture of beans from Brazil, Panama and Ethiopia. Still, Tu, a former IT professional who taught himself how to pull espresso shots on a machine at home, does have some pretty great tools on hand. He can’t help but show off his Versalab M3 grinder, which produces an impossibly fluffy, fine grind, and the Slayer, once dubbed “the coolest espresso machine on the planet.”
Tu’s been holed up for the past three months becoming intimately acquainted with his new toy, which allows the barista to manually control pressure throughout the pull. He has it down to a science, and says it’s not something a barista would want to play with during the morning rush. A hand-operated paddle adjusts the pressure from one to nine (a standard espresso machine exerts level-nine pressure continuously). For a shot at Thor, Tu will typically start the extraction at a three, ramp it up to a full nine about halfway, then ease it back to three near the end.
“Starting it off low, you’re almost massaging the beans,” Tu says. “You’re giving it time to absorb the water and release the essences and play up some of those subtleties that you don’t get when you go, wham, full nine.” Easing the pressure at the end of the shot, he tells us, can help reduce bitterness. He’s as meticulous as any career barista could be: if the shot doesn’t look great coming out, the customer’s going to have to wait for a better one.
Patrons have the option of choosing between the house blend ($2.25 per shot) or the featured blend (this week, it’s the low-yielding Esmeralda Special Geisha at $4 per shot). Thor also offers 10 types of tea, as well as French press coffee ($1.75), all within a minimalist setting in which a mural of Thor wielding a tamper stands out smartly. Pastries from Circles and Squares Bakery are also available.
Owners say that customers have been ordering espresso-based drinks almost exclusively. After all, condo dwellers and young professionals in the area don’t have many coffee options—when it comes to the art of espresso, the Second Cup and King and Bathurst just doesn’t cut it.
Thor Espresso Bar, 35 Bathurst St., Unit 4, 416-451-8736, thorespressobar.com.
13 thoughts on “Introducing: Thor Espresso Bar, which has “the coolest espresso machine on the planet””
Nice coffee and espresso… very good indeed and nice quaint place… love the ending… Second Cup @ king & Bathurst is really dead!! YUK!
Not only does the Slayer represent zero improvement in an espresso you can pull with a basic La Marzocco Linea, you earn the title of being a brand-name whore. Congratulations.
Add to that espresso shots of Esmerlada Geisha, which is a waste of a great coffee in an espresso machine, I have to question whether the proprietor is more enamored with brand names than they know about making good coffee.
So, greg, where do you work? I want some value espresso sans preciousness!
delicious coffee, super nice owners… I will be there often! Don’t listen to “Greg”, he seems like a jerk.
Greg possibly works @ Starbucks or Le Gourmand who is trying to make a comeback or better still, Second Cup! You are bitter!
I don’t know so much on coffee but what I learned in Italy was that the most important thing to making fantastic coffee yes is the machine but most importantly its the water, What can you do to have that quality water like they do in Italy? Napoli is where I had the best coffee from all the cities I traveled over a years time. I will make my way here to have a coffee or 2, excited to see what this machine with adjustments can produce.
Who is this Greg guy?
Dude, this thing is called the “Slayer”. At least pay some damn respect for a machine that experts call “the best” (yes, experts, Greg… not you).
Who the fuck makes fun at something called the Slayer?
Greg… stick to selling your soul to Starbucks, biatch
There’s plenty of room for good espresso in TO. All the haters out there need to chill and applaud the efforts of another coffee artisan who has balls enough to open a business. The Slayer bitching sounds like nothing more than “penis envy” to me…
Good luck Thor! I can’t wait to come in and try an espresso.
One of the best lattés in the city! they also have a modest selection of fantastic treats – there is no reason to ever go back to the Second Cup again!
it’s about time condo-land dwellers (me included) got some great espresso!! Definitely will have to try…..and likely make it a regular java spot.
Great coffee, but opening hours suck. Closes way too early!
The coffee looks delicious!
I love reading these articles because they’re short but iofnrmaitve.
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