Saturday, September 29, 2007

INTELLIGENTSIA is coming to Mercury!!!

This coming Wednesday we will be switching some of our old blends and picking up some new ones from Intelligentsia. If that doesn't sound like a big deal, then let me assure you that it totally, totally is.

Intelligentsia is a swell bunch of dudes hailing from Chicago, who in many ways are analogous to Mercury itself. This is to say that they are unstoppably passionate about coffee, and just so happen to be on the cutting edge of ethical business practice as well. They have pioneered a groundbreaking system of coffee importation known as Direct Trade, which involves purchasing coffee directly from the coffee growers themselves. On average, the Direct Trade arrangement puts 25% more income in the pockets of the farmers when compared with Fair Trade. Thankfully, sound morals don't have to conflict with the quality of the product, as your first sip will immediately confirm.

People get ready for:

The Black Cat Espresso Blend
has a combination of coffees from Latin and South America. full body/ notes of chocolate, caramel, and dried fruit/ lingering sweet finish. Black Cat produces a sublime shot of espresso, and is equally dazzling for traditional coffee.

Kid O
has a combination of coffees from Indonesia and the Americas that produces a creamy and slightly nutty espresso with hints of fruit. Equally good for traditional coffee.

Speaking of traditional coffee, we are also please to be bringing the french press into our everyday line up.

Our first feature will be
The Tres Santos, Colombia- Micro-Lot: Melange is a combination of two exemplary coffees, perfectly complementing one another’s characteristics in the cup. With it's smooth maple sweetness, balanced body of crisp red apples, baked pears, and molasses, finishing into a clean, crisp, mildly citric aftertaste, you'll be hooked. It's a fine press indeed.

Damien and I are passing time cleaning and listening to Otis... if this sounds like a good time (I assure you it is) then come on down, pick up a broom, and groove a little with us tonight. Ok so we won't make you clean, but we will happily make you a coffee and dance as we do it.

Off the record, On the QT, and very Hush Hush
Alice " it's not brain science" Berg
Damien "it's not rocket surgery" Zielinski

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Monsooned Malabar: A Coffee With a Cool History

By Ben

When the British finally came around to enjoying coffee (though not as much as tea, I guess), they looked to their colonies to provide them this vital, vital resource. Temperate India was a logical choice for growing beans, and it became a major supplier.

But the trip back to Europe was a long one by sea, and the beans, stored in the leaky hold of the wooden trading ships, went off, ever-so-slightly. The resulting coffee was mysteriously delicious, however, mellow and dark, smoky, but not too acidic. It was like blue cheese I guess? But not blue, or made out of milk.

Since then, we have made huge advances in having ships that are not made out of wood technology, and so this peculiar kind of coffee has undergone a change as well. Now, beans grown in the Malabar region of Kerala, in India, are allowed to become dampened during Monsoon season before they are dried out and roasted. The process is called, awesomely, "Monsooning." It is the opposite of sun tanning, scientifically speaking. And so, now we can all enjoy Monsooned Malabar, available at your friendly neighbourhood Mercury Espresso Bar for a measly nine bucks per half pound.

The end!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hey there buddy! I Alice Berg have made it out of the rabbit hole and back to Mercury. As amazing as my time off was, I'm happy to be back in my east end hang out. I'm pulling shots with Damien (my blog buddy) tonight.
Seeing as this is the first blog in a while I would like to take a little time out and say "HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAMIEN." Our very own Damien turned 25 this weekend (they grow up right in front of your eyes don't they. Well he doesn't look a day over 24. Skin like a baby's....
If you are in the market for beans I tell you "Look No Further!" We have a huge selection bagged up for your take home enjoyment. We have the classics ( Quick Silver, Mad Hatter, Espresso, Decaf s.w.p) as well as a few more feature bean. The Extra butter seems to be going quick. Great if you are into the smooth and dark side of things. There is also the India Monsoon Malabar, and the Yemen Mocha Matari (My very favourite) if you feel like going for something special. The feature latte is the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe- classic.
Damien do you have anything to say?

"Yes I do, Alice. I'd just like to take this opportunity to hate on Nuit Blanche for a quick second. What's the deal? Scotiabank dangles a carrot in front of the Art Rabbit and we're all supposed to piss ourselves with gratitude that our city is 'getting cooler?' Sorry but I'm not convinced. I love art as much as the next guy, and any forum for it is, at the end of the day, a welcome one, but here are some things to consider: 1) ask anyone who's been working on organizing the 'art thing' and they'll freely tell you how compromised the work of the involved artists has been due to the corporate money driving the whole operation. 2) this exemplifies my theory that structurally, it is totally impossible for anything revolutionary or even of lasting impact to come from something so top-down. Almost by definition, top-down culture is synthetic and prescribed. The power of globalizing forces in co-opting independent expression is one of dilution and digestible commodification. In other words, such art can be entertaining and little more. Hopefully I'll be proven wrong this year.

Mercury is a perfect example of the many grassroots movements around the city that are breeding grounds for culture I would deem actually meaningful.

Note: When I turned 25 I immediately became 36% more cynical. Thankfully, my latte art also improved 17%, and my shots are 22% more delicious."

Over and Out
A wall and D bird

Thursday, September 20, 2007

G'day fellow coffee consumers and customers,

Alice is on vacation catching up on her sanity. But no worries, Matt, Neil and myself (Adrian) are in manning the ship, pulling the levers and grinding the gears. Good news for all you espresso fans out there: not only are we pulling Kid-O organic espresso from Intelligensia but as of today we are serving 49th Parallel's Elysian espresso which has been maturing in our cellar for the past week. Get it while you can, because after tomorrow's morning rush it's over. Okay, now let us dispense with the java jive.... jingo jango. Ok, I don't really know where Adrian was going with that but now that's he gone I'm left here to pick up the pieces. That's how we roll here at Mercury. We got each other's back. We're like firemen rushing into a burning house in pairs to we make sure everyone makes it home safely and soundly. We've got the best team (in my opinion) of baristas in Toronto. And with great teamwork you get amazing espresso. Trust me, I'm a barista.

Time for some shameless plugs. This Saturday the Barons and Lengthy will be playing at the Exploding Face zine launch. Come out to the Smiling Buddha at 961 College St. just west of Dovercourt on the south side. Like I said, the Barons will be playing, DJ's will be spinning, we'll be painting bikes and most importantly: COME CHECK OUT THE ZINE. It's pay what you can so you can still afford an espresso the next day when you're nice and hung over. I'd love to see you there. Especially you, the cute one.



Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"Kid-O's in tha' hizz-ouse".

Doug's been yelling that for the past two days and I must agree with his enthusiasm. It really IS the shizzle. Of course any good coffee can be pull badly so that's why I encourage you to get it pulled here at Mercury. But now, if you're stuck in the west end and you need a hit, look up MANIC COFFEE at Bathurst and College on the north east side where Colbalt used to be. They're rocking the only Synesso and Clover machine in Toronto. I must congratulate Matt Lee on opening an establishment that will set the bar even higher in terms of coffee making in Toronto. I look forward to frequenting his joint and geeking out with my fellow nerds.

Congrats to all the participants at the National Barista competition! I was definitely inspired and hope to climb aboard next year's competition and get some free swag, I mean win some medals (or tampers or whatever). And Kim if you're reading this, you'll always be top dog in my books!

BLast off!!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Alice Says: Mercury is really like a '69 two door Dodge Dart...
moving on.

Damien and I are having a marvelous time cleaning and pulling delicious beverages. It's a fantastic day out there sports fans. It might be a touch on the cool side, but the sun is beautiful and the air is fresh. Sounds like walking weather to me. Maybe you all should stand up from your computers/ Blackberrys / iPhones , and take a hop down here for a nice warm drink.

Damien Says:
Here I am! I'm going to shamelessly exploit this opportunity to shamelessly plug the launch party for EXPLODING FACE, the shameless publication put together (in part) by the two most shameless Mercury employees. The party will also feature a live set by the unstoppable force known as Barons and Lengthy... which features another of Mercury's finest. The whole shebang is on September 22nd, which is also my 25th birthday and a Saturday. If you're the kind of person who reads Mercury's blog, then you're the kind of person who's warmly invited! There will also be other radical events that night, like a bicycle painting party, readings by the mag's contributors, and righteous DJ sets. You should come to the Smiling Buddha (just West of Dovercourt on the South side of College) on the 22nd, basically. Do it.

Alice Says: If I were in TO I would be there with bells on. So due to the fact that I cannot attend, I encourage you to go! Have a great night, hang with Damien on his BIRTHDAY, check out a killer band, AND check out Exploding Face.

P.S - There is still some Kid-o left. Get it while you still can!

Over and Out
-D bird and A cat.

Monday, September 17, 2007

That's Right! It's Otis and Alice taking you through Sunday night. I hope your Monday is that much better because of it.
If you pop in Monday you will find a stocked counter filled with ginger molasses/ trail mix / and chocolate chip cookies. And if it couldn't get any better they will be hanging out with Banana Mango and Zucchini Raisin Muffins!! Oh me Oh my.

Feel Like Crap? we have Lemon-Ginger Echinacea Juice (Hot or cold it will surely make you feel better). OR you could try some fresh pressed Lemonade. It's really nice Hot... and ALWAYS made with love. We are all about the love here at the Merc.

We are featuring the Yemen Matari right now. You know what's wrong with this latte? NOTHING! it's awesome.
And a heads up... WE HAVE KID O. Ben says "it's the choice of 9 out of 10 Ninjas", and he would know. So come on down and have an espresso. It might change your life.

over and out
- A wall and Otis

Sunday, September 16, 2007

If Neil and I were goats, this is what we would look like. I must say I enjoy this image for another reason... it's like one of those ink blot things... what do you see? crazy dancing goats? neil and alice? A 1987 Lotus? A '69 two door Dodge Dart?

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Matt was by with some of his gear for the Barista Championships that are goin' on this weekend and it's some pretty fly stuff. It's like a P.Diddy Party. You'll see what I mean in a few days, when all the innovation comes home to the Merc, but until then, if you want a sneak peak, you better scoot down to the competition this Sunday and Monday at the Canadian Coffee and Tea Show and see how it all goes down. It's serious. Matt's serious. I'm serious. Serious about coffee! It's LIFE, man. In a microcosmic cup. Swirls of primordial brown and white, gradually taking form, solidifying. No wonder coffeehouses are such hubs of art and philosophy: coffee is the very stuff of it.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Like the Sax Riff in "Never Gonna Dance Again," Basically

sweaty and mental,
Like Some Kind of Disgusting Animal;
cliffside over crashing waves,
I scream this slobbering ode into torrid sheets of wind for thee:

"Mercury! Who loves ya, baby?
You know, it's not so much the crazy beautiful people that traverse your terracotta tiles,
nor is it the delicious espresso that courses through your veins and out your metal pores-
For how superficial would my 'love' be if that were all?
The truth is that I adore, my dear, adore those tiles and those pores,
and with loving gesture and fond caress
do I shammy your every nook and j-cloth your every cranny."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The cooler weather is moving in and summer will soon be out... But if you move to Florida you would miss Mercury too much. Good thing we have hot drinks.

Our feature is the Papua New Guinea Mawari. Its mellow (not so yellow) and you should really try it.

Heads Up!
The Canadian National Barista Championship is this coming weekend! You should come out and watch Matthew compete with Canada's killer Baristas for the National Barista Championship title. It takes place at the Toronto Congress Centre - 650 Dixon Rd - Sunday September 16th from 12pm-5pm. Then the final is Monday September 17th from 12pm-5pm. So if you want to watch the cream of the crop you should check it out.

Now I will spend some time cleaning (and maybe spend a little time lookin' at spiky, weird plants- if i find any). And here is a little something to look forward to... Tomorrow our very own Damien will be writing a very impressive, very amazing blog! SO RAD!

Over and Out
Alice "HARDCORE!" Berg

Thanks for the coffee and the postcard Angela. You are a real sweetheart. The Merc missed you while you were gone.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

It's a lovely Saturday afternoon and Matthew is back behind the bar. Time to crack the whip he says. I agree. Ten points for anyone that can spot what's missing since his return.

Also returning after a long absence is the Papua New Guinea Mawari roasted by Dark City. Matthew would describe this bean as fan-frickin'-tastic. Actually besides that he says it has a nice caramel sweetness, with a nutty aroma and a spotless finish. Kinda like my closes. HA!

Also if you're in the mood for a musical treat, the lovely and talented Jacqueline Rendell will be playing here on Sunday at around 5pm. She just finished printing her new EP and will also be playing at the Drake on Monday night if you can't get enough. Check out her stuff:

Blast off!


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

I believe that this button was created for Ben and I. We are 100% bling.

We've started a new rap group called Lumbajack 2. We've been heard exclaiming 'TIMBALAND' behind the bar.

Think about it.

It's been a GREAT yet busy morning. I think many of you must have read the blog and misunderstood my joke about free beer and pizza. Ha ha... right.

Tomorrow is a Thursday. Will it be a theme Thursday? I hope so. We may even take it to the extreme and make Friday one too. I miss those days.

The Feature Latte is Ethiopia Yirgacheffe
(A Wall drops some Beats) I think it's great, I think it's real swell
it's a cheap thrill that won't send you to hell
We have mad coffee skill so it all tastes better
We're so hot you better take of your sweater
and respect
(Tony here...)Our espresso is never blonde and always brown
Harmony milk that respects the cow and crema that takes the crown
we got mad skills and talent that thrills/we're organic, our milk won't grow off pills.
We pour our lattes freestyle, we ain't about to spoon-feed y'all some swill.
one life we need to do it right...respect
Our skills we check, to protect our rep, so calm and collected as we go tete a tete,
With the latte set, try a cap and we'll bet, by this time next year round you'll drink espresso yet.
It's a finer grind, open up your mind, you'll never find a surer shot, we leave all others behind,
so kindly form a line, we'll serve you all in time
to get to work with a cup of perk from your favourite Merc, sublime.
Word is bond.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ok so no beer or pizza BUT there is Alice and COFFEE at mercury... so it's not so bad.
We received all of our beans today so the bean shelf is stocked. For all of those who were denied The Mad Hatter Blend or Extra Butter come on it and pick some up (before it's gone again).

special Tuesdays means you can come by and get a special hug from everyone you know along with your coffee, then guy smiley pops up from behind the counter and asks you questions about your grade 5 English teacher... and if you get it wrong, your coffee gets confiscated and given to a homeless child. you might feel sad, but seriously dude, don't be so selfish eh? homeless need coffee too you know.
*That Last part was from Yoni...

Anyway, I hope you all has a beautiful long weekend and I look forward to seeing you all bright and early tomorrow morning. Beer and Pizza anyone?
Oh! and James has not yet had the baby. I'll keep you posted.

A Wall
(off the wall and on the job)

Monday, September 03, 2007

WOW!!!! I found this pic, and I thought it was so cool!! Hawks are so rad! Maybe the best bird out there... but moving on....

No one wants to see Neil dance and that is why he is now taking the reins of this entry. Howdy! Today was truly a Labourious Day, what with all those coffees Alice and I made in the span of three hours. I'd say we made so many that you could fill a swimming pool with them, or maybe a hot tub....I think that's more appropriate for the contents of said pool/tub, although not so appropriate for today's climate. Whew!

Now with the elegance and grace of this here hawk Alice is swooping in to steer us back in the direction of cohesion.

Thank you Neil. IT has been quite a day here at the Merc (as holidays often are). I must give a shout out to Ben and Adrian who gave their all this morning and who still looked amazing by the end of the shift. I should also give Doug a shout out for being so great and good looking.
I'm going to be holding down the fort tonight, so if you feel like winding down your long weekend with a coffee... you know where to find me.

For those of you keeping score out there I have now been orbiting around on this planet for about a week, so I think it's nigh time we erase that "Please Welcome Mr Neil Rankin" sign from the fridge, although Doug has just told me we should keep it. I feel very welcome indeed.

Well loyal travelers, I am off to the races, the bicycle races. See you all when the sun comes up.

Sincerely, Al ICEBERG & Neil Stankin' Rankin.