Sorry Coffee Co. 

Is it too late now to say sorry? How Kit and Ace started its own coffee shop.

By: Ashley Jardine | Illustrations: Spencer Pidgeon

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Accidents happen. Sometimes you get overexcited, put something in a place it really shouldn't go and before you know it, you're grinding coffee and serving croissants – in other words, you’ve opened a coffee shop. Here’s how to open a coffee shop the Kit and Ace way (spoiler alert: solving problems with lots of caffeine) in five easy steps.

Pardon. Lo siento. ごめんなさい. Förlåt. Sorry.

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Here’s how it usually goes down: through an obsession and love of coffee, you quickly come to the realisation that nobody can aeropress or filter as well as you do. Whenever a ‘barista’ hands you anything milk-based over 70 degrees, you smile, say thanks and pour the “coffee” down the drain. You torture yourself in this cycle for years, until you release some capital, or crowd source your way to success. Just like that, your coffee shop dream is born.

Alternatively, you can do it the Kit and Ace way. You build a shop that’s a little too big. Only after you’ve signed all the paperwork do you sit down and think about how you’re going to fill all the space. You realise you can’t. You brainstorm ways to make your oversight less obvious, when suddenly someone in a meeting yells, “coffee!”. Your coffee shop dream is born. 

Insider’s tip: When life gives you lemons, make coffee.

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Around the world, Canadians are known for their boundless civility. We hold the door open, we’re ultra-polite and we always say sorry, even when it’s not our fault. We don't want to offend anyone and, as a result, we’ll always bend over backwards to be painfully nice. We could have created a hipster hangout or a high-brow social club, but that just isn’t us. We move fast, we opened a coffee shop – and it’s really good. Some people think that’s audacious, and to them, we say sorry.

Insider’s tip: Always say sorry.

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There are no Instagram likes in a white paper coffee cup. The design on your coffee cup can start conversations and foster connections – that’s why we decided to get our really cool friends to put really cool art all over our coffee cups.

Every three months we partner with a local artist specializing in letters or type, and give them free reign (and coffee) to create our 100 per cent social media-friendly cups. The roll call so far calls up both notable and up-and-coming artists, such as Andrew Kidder, Darren Luchmun, Andre Phomer, and Ben Johnston.

Insider’s tip: Order, drink, display.

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Our coffee is good – and that’s all it needs to be. There’s something romantic in the simplicity of coffee, and we don't ever want to violate that. For winter, we’ve partnered with local roaster, De Mello Palheta, to create a seasonal blend that offers a balanced dichotomy of heavy milk chocolate notes from Brazilian beans, with a hint of acidity and red fruit sweetness from Ethiopian and Kenyan variations. We also feature a rotating selection of single origin coffees to keep things interesting for the locals.

We drink coffee all day, every day, but we know that after a certain hour, you’re more about winding down than powering up. That’s why sometimes caffeine has to take a back seat. We make the chocolate ganache used for our hot chocolate in house with 70 per cent bittersweet chocolate, organic cane sugar, sea salt, cayenne and heavy cream – all the good stuff.

Insider’s tip: We’ll never do a PSL, but if you need your coffee with a side of embellishment, order the Canadiano.

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Coffee isn’t just about caffeine. Your morning flat white is habitual and ritualistic – a practice that may help you wake up, but that also helps ready you for the day ahead. When you live a full-contact, fast-paced life, dialogue can be sparse and communication fleeting. Sorry Coffee Co. is just as much about community as it is those heavy milk chocolate notes and perfectly tempered milk. Fuel up, power down, chill out – life is about balance, and that’s what we hope we’ve achieved at Sorry Coffee Co. And we’re definitely not sorry about that.

Insider’s tip: Build a community and the people will come (hopefully).