Hailed Coffee in Toronto, Ontario marries classic Middle Eastern and European coffee traditions in a contemporary setting. It stands in bright contrast to its surroundings on a sleepy stretch of Gerrard Street East. The only coffee house of its kind in the city, Hailed is a destination for Arabic coffee aficionados longing for a taste of home.
Arabic coffee is light and aromatic, often likened to tea. It is sipped in households across Arabia at the end of long days. Prepared using select Yemeni and Ethiopian beans that are roasted until golden, it is gently simmered together with precious spices such as cardamom, cloves, and saffron. When it comes to Arabic coffee, “Everyone has an opinion on the ‘right’ way to make Arabic coffee.” Owner Salim Bamakhrama describes the experience of drinking Arabic Coffee as, “An incredibly communal experience at heart that gets people talking, often across generations.”
The scent of hail, or cardamon in Arabic, suffuses the cafe. It provides a bridge to the cafe’s Italian drinks, which are pulled from an Italian Della Corte espresso machine. “One of our signatures is the Hailed cappuccino,” says barista Rachel Rose. An in-house specialty, the cardamom syrup, is infused into the espresso drink in what the coffee house calls the “Hailed Shot”. The Hailed shot is an example of the fusion of cultures and flavours Hailed coffee is uniquely presenting.
A trained architect, Salim envisioned Hailed as a lively cultural hub. At the crossroads of four distinct Toronto neighbourhoods: Chinatown East, Riverdale, Leslieville and Little India, he seeks to unite disparate communities around a shared love of coffee.
“Yes, we serve authentic Middle Eastern fare,” he said, “but we didn’t want to create an interior that felt stifled by tradition. We designed Hailed as an open dynamic space for people to come as they are and trade experiences.”
On a typical Sunday morning, the coffee house is a buzz with chatter and clinking glasses. The atmosphere harks back to cultural traditions thousands of years in the making. Yet Hailed Coffee, in its mission to gather people together from different backgrounds, looks ahead.