As if we couldn’t already get a cheaper version of anything in Chinatown, knock-off coffee shops have been cropping up all around Toronto’s West End. Only for the most penny-pinching of caffeine addicts, these “cafés” are a shining example of the shameless brand rip-offs we (and our wallets) have grown to love.
For instance, Smell Espresso Bar is a bit like Aroma Espresso Bar, but the owners preferred not to use a thesaurus.
Jim Hortons prides itself on its subpar service, filthy dining area, coffee that tastes like dishwater, and its “commitment to providing customers with an authentic knock-off Tim Hortons experience.” Meanwhile, First Cup promises its customers that “your First Cup will be your last.”
For all you hipsters out there who are starting to find Starbucks a little too mainstream, there’s Stardollars, which, as its name would suggest, only accepts space currency.
Chinatown’s Mercury Espresso Bar has the same name as its upscale counterpart on Queen St E, but they put actual mercury in their coffee. No one goes there twice.
Timothy’s World Coffee is still Timothy’s World Coffee. No comment.
Finally, for those of you with more discerning taste buds, Balsac’s is widely known for its “high quality” low quality coffee, tea bags, and teabags.