Matter of Taste (Kitchener)

One of my resolutions for 2011 (say what you will) is to stop holding grudges.

In this case, to stop holding grudges with undeserving-of-said-grudge coffee shops. After surprisingly rude treatment by one of the employees at Uptown Waterloo’s Matter of Taste on my first visit there, I’d steered clear of both locations until a blustery day steered our feet Downtown. M had a craving for an Americano, and I just wanted to feel my toes again. On our first trip past the storefront, M looked over with a hopeful smile, I made some sort of grumbly noise, and we trekked on.

But as luck (and Sunday hours) would have it, we ended up back in front of Kitchener’s Matter of Taste. Neither of us had been to this location before, so I swallowed my fear of snarly baristas and followed M.

Said fear disappeared immediately. MoT offers an almost academic sensory overdose, not in the sense of rulers and pencils, but an offering of ideas and histories and flavours, if you’re interested in digging deeper. I was distracted by the open baskets of coffee beans, the almost-abstract landscapes with graffiti overlay on the walls, the charts of coffee aromas and how to tie them all together, the (sadly occupied but definitely comfortable-looking) armchairs and couches… it took M ordering his Americano to bring me back to the menu. I requested a London Fog, and we snagged one of the tables after the young man at the counter told us he’d bring our drinks out (definitely a nice touch!)

Both drinks were what we needed – M needed the caffeine kick and enjoyed that the Americano’s strong flavours broke through the haze a stubborn cold put on his sense of taste, and I enjoyed the vanilla kick and perfectly foamed milk of my Fog. According to their website, MoT actually holds latte art competitions, where baristas create artistic masterpieces on the surface of foamed milk.

We stayed for a second round; M grabbed a coffee and I ventured to the tea shelf and “smell tested” the sample vials of the black and green teas (completely missing the shelf of herbal, white, and rooibos), and chose the green Cinnamon Sibu. (YUM.)

Toes warmed and well-caffeinated, we headed out into the chill – but we’ll be back.

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