The Espresso Institute of North America

By Wayne MacPhail

The little, blue Dymo label on the metal door belies what's just behind it. But in an nondescript alley in mid-town Toronto, a former tool and die shop has been transformed into the Espresso Institute of North America. The institute is the work of Ezra Braves, a seasoned espresso bar owner and coffee nerd/scientist. Braves' institute trains baristas how to use the high tech equipment that roasts and renders beans into top notch coffee. It also helps cafe owner wannabes consider their options, understand the complex social dynamics and science of a great espresso bar and, well, goes into the obsessive detail of bean colour, providence and the thousand natural flavours that coffee is heir to. Plus, from time to time, Braves just kicks back and makes his own perfect coffee, just for him, or whoever drops by.