Here's a first look inside of Toronto's futuristic cafe!
Strange Love Cafe is reinventing the wheel of coffee shops with its newest location in downtown Toronto.
The mood-enhancing cafe is attempting to slow city dwellers down by offering them introspective activities while speeding them up with mushroom-infused coffees, juices and shots.
Now before we get ahead of ourselves, the mushrooms aren't shrooms or psychedelic. They're carefully chosen along with other ingredients by the cafe's Naturopathic doctor, James Yoon, who told Narcity the mushrooms he incorporates have been practiced for "hundreds if not thousands of years in traditional herbal medicine as well as traditional Chinese medicine."
The cafe has two locations in Toronto, one on Spadina and one on Queen West, and its third location on University Avenue will be having its grand opening on October 18.
Infused coffee & beverages
When you hear mood-enhancing mushrooms, you may raise a brow, but Strange Love is using herbal medicine, Chinese medicine and naturopathy to give you a kick in the right direction.
Along with their regular teas, coffee and lattes Strange Love offers three boosts made from mushrooms, herbs and other ingredients that can be mixed in with your drink of choice.
"These booster shots are essentially things that you can add to your coffee or teas as a way to basically help support your stressful lifestyle and give you more of a boost throughout the day," said Yoon.
The Brain Boost, one of the most popular boosts according to Yoon, is made from ginkgo bilboa, bacopa, and lion's mane mushrooms and helps with sharpness and productivity.
The Energy Boost helps with mental stamina, energy and endurance and is made from ashwaghandha, rhodiola, cordyceps mushrooms, and guarana.
The Stress Reset boost helps with sleep, well-being and calmness and is made up of reishi, lemon balm, holy basil and passion flower.
Each boost is an extra $2.50 and can be included in any drink, and if you're an on-the-go kind of person you can also grab one of the boosters in a shot or juice from "The Feelings Fridge."
The cafe space
The cafe space is modern, elegant and every marble lover's fantasy. The open-concept space inside of 1 University Ave.'s building lobby has a wrap-around marble coffee bar situated in front of a wall of post-it notes surrounding the quote "All you need is love."
Each post-it note is a stranger's confession to the notes' prompt, which are things along the lines of "What childhood dream am I neglecting?"
Two cubed chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and to the left of the bar is seating. Coffee goers can choose from a long wooden table or small two-seated tables pushed against the window.
Next to the cash register, 'The Feelings Fridge' is tropical AF with a pink and green leafy design. The fridge is filled to the brim with the cafe's juices, boost shots and snacks.
Community reset from hustle to holistic
In downtown Toronto, it's pretty rare to catch someone at a coffee shop taking 10 minutes away from their lives to focus on their mental, emotional or physical well being but Strange Love Cafe is trying to change that.
General Manager Marvin Macalino says they're "giving people ways to live a more holistic lifestyle."
The cafe has three interactive activities for customers to participate in, including a BioCharger, also known as a human recharging station, HeartMath, a guided breathing and heart rate monitor and a gratitude wall with prompts so deep they could put you into therapy.
The BioCharger NG definitely intrigued me the most –next to the gratitude wall (because snooping through other people's hopes and dreams is always fun.)
To use the charger, you can sit down at the table, choose your preferred settings and spend ten minutes soaking up the electromagnetic energy field made up of voltage, light, harmonics and pulsed electromagnetic energy that supposedly impacts your wellness and cellular health, according to Strange Love.
While you're soaking up your energy bath, you can also spend some time colouring in their adult colouring books since they do recommend your phone stay six feet away from the charger.
The HeartMath station is perfect for wellness lovers with a competitive streak. The machine connects to your earlobe and your chest and monitors your heart rate and breathing to determine what level of coherence you're in and records your scores so you can compete with yourself next time around.
Macalino says, "These techniques are really designed to get you to be more mindful of how you're breathing because it directly impacts your heart rate and your overall mood."
All in all, Strange Love is a strange yet wonderful experience that steps out of the traditional coffee chain mould and into the world of wellness.
Address: 1 University Ave., Toronto, ON
Why You Need To Go: To try a mushroom-infused coffee and connect with an energy-fueled human charger.
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