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This post has been updated with new information.
A new specialty café has opened up in Corktown with a goal to bring Toronto’s coffee experience to a whole new level.
Nava Social is a brand new coffee spot developed by a team of expert coffee lovers and innovators. They have a hand-picked curation of specialty coffees that are processed locally and from around the world, along with a highly-extensive knowledge to back it up.
Owner Gabriel Navarro is a seasoned coffee professional and no stranger to coffee shops. Navarro began his career in coffee at Thor Espresso Bar, noting that they were the only coffee spot to give him a shot when he moved to Toronto.
In the 10 years since, Navarro has honed his expertise in coffee––having built out concept spaces for countless coffee shops and pop-ups like with well-known companies like Sorry Coffee and Tokyo Smoke. He has also been hired by the renowned Soho House, overseeing coffee quality control.
Navarro also runs a coffee consultant agency called Napoleons Hat, which has partnered with internationally-recognized brands like Breville, Sigma and Nike to develop new coffee concept spaces and innovations.
Navarro’s latest project is Nava Social, a specialty coffee shop aiming to serve up incredible coffee and educate their customers about the extensive world of coffee by introducing them to new innovations and concepts that are unheard of in Toronto.
The café offers its flagship pour-overs and espresso with fresh beans, roasted locally in Toronto by Java Roasters. They also have a curated selection of beans from Korea and Germany that embody a more unique and “adventurous” coffee experience, as Navarro says.
Nava is dedicated to offering the best coffee available to them, and they have introduced innovative ways to achieve that.
One method they use to enhance the experience involves carefully monitoring the fermentation of a batch of coffee beans––and when they enter a very specific stage, they are vacuum-sealed and frozen to lock in their full-bodied flavour.
Navarro says that the method comes from George Howell, a specialty coffee pioneer, but had only been done at a minimum. He thought, why not do it at a larger scale?
Nava also carries a selection of innovative coffee items. Most notably is an upcoming lineup of ‘Geisha’ coffee products, that include instant and capsule options from Otto Coffee Supply by way of Hatch.
Geisha coffee is known to be one of the most exclusive and unique coffee products in the world, and by nature, are priced accordingly. Navarro says he’s more interested in getting you to try the coffee than the mark up.
“If you don’t have a totally different coffee experience when you take a sip, come back and slap me in the face,” he says.
Every coffee shop in Toronto will likely have a wide-array of dairy-free options for their coffee, but Nava only offers two milk alternatives. They use oat milk from Minor Figures, a popular barista option that can be found at only a handful of coffee shops in Toronto.
Almond, soy and coconut milk, while incredibly popular alternative choices, are not available at Nava. Instead, they have chosen to offer pea milk from the Swedish brand Sproud and have become the first coffee shop in Canada to do so.
The spot has become a local hit since opening earlier this month. Nava takes over the space previously occupied by Odin Coffee Bar––the now-shuttered sister café of Navarro’s alma mater Thor.
Nava Social is located at 514 King Street East in Corktown.