After spending four years perfecting her barista skills at Crafted on Ossington, Tenille Clarke decided to venture out on her own. Tucana Coffee is still in its infancy, having only opened its doors to the ever-appreciative Dundas West crowd a mere three weeks ago. When I stop by on Mother’s Day, business is steady, drawing in locals, families, and cool cats alike.
Tucana is a Dundas West oasis with carefully thought-out, understated design elements. The walls are painted a muted pink with chalk-boards outlining the various caffeinated beverages on offer. The eye-catching tropical wallpaper makes the space feel bigger than it is. It’s the kind of place that will exude warmth and feel summery even in Toronto’s colder months. The exterior is still unfinished, but currently boasts a neon sign emblazoned with COFFEE. Tenille mentions that she’s currently on the lookout for another neon sign to add to her collection.
Sipping my delicious cortado, which Tenille says is her favourite to make, I inquire about the beans. They’re from Pilot Coffee Roasters, which are some of Toronto’s best. It goes without saying that the latte art is stunning and smooth micro foam paired perfectly with the espresso.
I also ask about the name. “So, why Tucana?”
“I wanted something unique, a name that would stand out, and Tucana is a constellation. I once knew a dog with the name,” she replies.
Tenille is only 27, but incredibly self-aware. She dreamt up the logo herself, a skull with palm trees, and had a friend at Doublenaut put together the final design. Unlike many local cafés, Tucana feels feminine and edgy. It’s an intimate and welcoming spot you’ll love visiting over and over again. Busy making drink after drink, Tenille kindly answers my questions regarding her favourite drink (she loves both a great shot of espresso and French Press) and the age she first began drinking coffee (age fourteen).
Tucana quite accurately embodies its owner. Like Tenille, it’s both tough and sweet. I’m already looking forward to my next cortado. Toronto’s coffee culture is pretty incredible, and Tucana is adding a much needed jolt to Little Portugal.