Detour Coffee was founded with a few simple truths in mind. First, coffee should be fun; secondly, it’s just as much of a vehicle for connection as it is for caffeine.
Launched in Dundas, Ontario in 2009, Detour has since become the supplier of choice for countless top Toronto cafes and hospitality hotspots—including Hotel Victoria and Mossop’s Social House.
Located a few quick steps from the Financial District and Commerce Court, Hotel Victoria is dedicated to helping guests get the most out of their Toronto experience—which, naturally, all begins with a great cup of coffee. Detour’s instant coffee is offered in every room, and downstairs at Mossop’s, the roastery’s beans are the foundation of the coffee menu.
Detour’s roots began in 2008 when founder Kaelin McCowan trekked to Seattle to pick up a Diedrich IR12 roaster. From there, he rented a truck and started the 4,500-km journey home, stopping at notable coffee shops and meeting people all along the way.
“Then he set up shop in the back alleyway in Dundas and started roasting and brewing coffee—and the rest was history,” says Ryan McCabe, Detour’s co-director.
The roastery has grown by leaps and bounds since then, supplying countless cafes in Ontario and beyond with lovingly roasted premium beans—what the company likes to think of as “friendly coffee”.
“When we decided to rebrand Detour a few years ago, we actively wanted to bring more of the encouraging demeanour and openness we felt about coffee internally into our brand for customers to experience,” McCabe explains.
“For us, specialty coffee can feel intimidating to many people, so all ‘friendly’ means is using objects, themes, ideas and flavours to help convey familiarity with the coffee.”
McCabe understands that personal connection deeply. When asked about his favourite thing about coffee, his reply is simple: “The people and the stories.”
Before getting into coffee, McCabe worked at a record store and would make a point of taking a daily coffee break: “Mostly, these were just reasons to stop working, go for a walk, and get caffeinated to make it through a shift,” he says.
“Still, one day, my daily coffee break turned into just asking the barista what I should get or what they liked, and then they made me a pour-over of a single-origin coffee. It was my first pour-over coffee; honestly, it was the first time it became [about the experience], rather than just the accomplice to my break.”
Detour works closely with producers and trusted exporters to source Direct Trade beans, then roasts to highlight origin, region, variety, and processing. Their main goal is to maximize flavour and embrace the sweetness, acidity, aromatics, and texture inherent in each roast.
McCabe admits that it’s the Detour staff’s passion for coffee that sets the roastery apart: “So many specialty roasters do amazing things with similar coffees, roasters, etc. But the passion of people who have worked at Detour through its history up until today is woven into the fabric of the place and made it what it is. And you can feel that in everything we do.”
McCabe urges coffee fans to find that passion for themselves, no matter what’s in the cup. “My hottest take as a person who’s worked in specialty coffee for almost 13 years is that the best coffee is the coffee you like best.
“And that,” he adds, “includes decaf.”