Story and Photos by Marlene Wandel
Tom White was always planning to settle down. A transplant from Southern Ontario, White discovered coffee in Florence, and northern Ontario through his tree planting gigs. As a mobile coffee cart, Espresso Joya debuted at the Red Rock Folk Festival, and made appearances at the Kakabeka Falls and Willow Springs Farmers Markets, but the plan was always to develop a bricks and mortar entity downtown.
In the newly renovated space on Cumberland Street, Espresso Joya is the culmination of hard work on White’s part, the workmanship of L.S.L. Construction, and collaboration with local artists. The focus at Espresso Joya is absolutely the best coffee, while outsourcing the other aspects of a coffee shop experience to local partners: Duncan Weller’s figure drawings are on display, Sandpiper Cakes cupcakes and Pinetree Catering sandwiches are in the cooler, and the tea is from International House of Tea.
Rose N Crantz coffee is pouring out of the La Marzocco machine to make a perfect cappuccino, served in a custom Donna Stecky cup. The end effect is a clean, bright space that leaves room to focus on what is on the walls and in your cup. White says his vision was to create a “professional, downtown gallery coffee shop.” Situated steps from office buildings and restaurants with a bus stop right outside the door, the location seems perfect to serve both the daytime and evening coffee needs of the neighbourhood.
Espresso Joya is named after both a beloved family pet, Gioia, which is Italian for joy, and White’s favourite album. It takes little convincing for him to drop Will Oldham’s Joya on the turntable, just as it will take little convincing for those who love coffee to come experience this place a second time.
Espresso Joya is located at 8 South Cumberland Street.