Café by the Lake Menu Choices

Come in to Birds and Beans Coffee and treat yourself to something special! Our coffees are all certified organic, bird friendly,  and fairly traded, boutique coffees. We use Organic Meadow Milk in our latté and cappuccino. Treat yourself with 100% shade grown shaved chocolate on your specialty drink. Even our milk table offers organic milk and sugar. We’re the real deal!

thanksgiving-turkey
Thanksgiving latté art. Always thankful, always giving.

Choose one of Four Freshly Roasted Brewed Coffees

Every day we offer four brewed coffees. Our menu board identifies the coffees on brew and their roasted dates — always within the last few weeks.

Our house coffee, the Daily, is a certified Organic-Bird Friendly® coffee with enough interest for every coffee lover.

You can also choose from our daily Organic-Bird Friendly® bold coffeefeature coffee or decaf.

100% Bird Friendly, Organic Specialty Coffees with Organic Milk

screenshot-2016-12-07-10-44-53We offer the best espresso, latté, cappucino and americano in the city made from the only Bird Friendly espresso in Canada! We blend our espresso to compliment the flavours the organic milk in a latté or cappucino. Our baristas are trained to pour espresso perfectly every time so it has the great great crema and aroma with flavours of chocolate and malt from the approach to the finish.

Cruelty Free Yummy Treats

We bake all of our treats from scratch daily using organic eggs from happy hens (see Chicken Out!). Our breakfast cookie is a daily favourite in the neighbourhood with rolled oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, honey and cranberries.breakfast-cookie

Our chocolate chunk cookies are absolutely without rival! We use our shade grown Plantations Chocolate. We offer a the cookie with either milk or dark chocolate. What a treat!

Cruelty Free Light Lunch

For lunch we offer simple wraps and sandwiches with hand crafted Sopa Organica soups.

soup
Certified Organic, vegan, gluten free soup.

All are certified organic and, so cruelty free! No factory farmed product allowed. We use Wild Planet tuna in our tuna salad, the only canned tuna in Canada getting beter than a passing sustainability grade from Greenpeace. Our egg salad is homemade from fresh certified organic cage free eggs so it is always fresh and tasty. Our sandwich slices are locally raised cruelty free from Rowe Farms. Even our cheddar cheese is certified organic from Quebec, and so produced from well treated animals.

We offer spinach empanadas from the Empanada Company in Long Branch and biscotti from More than Pies. We love to keep it in the “hood”.

Share the Café you Love

Many of you know that Birds and Beans café has offered gift cards for 12 years, but this year they are even better!  Our new gift cards have grown up from being administered manually, to an electronic debit card with great new features.

The gift card has the look and feel of gift cards from major retailers. This ensures your recipient will feel confident using the card, and you will be proud to give it.

giftcard
We are loving the look of our new reloadable electronic gift cards!

 

Once activated, the card can be used at the cafe like a prepaid credit card.

The cards are reloadable, and a 10% discount applies to reloads. So your gift will extend throughout the year!

The card is secure, and transparent. The cardholder can view their current balance and historical transactions online. The cardholder simply enters their card number and their current balance is presented and a link is presented to access to the historical transactions.  The link for cardholders is here.

So isn’t it a good time to introduce your friends and family to your favourite café?

Why is Boxed Water Better?

At Birds and Beans we are forever expanding and deepening our commitment to sustainability. As we learn about issues and find solutions, we weave them into the fabric of what we do. Some years ago, we were struck by a beautiful impactful art project by Chris Jordan that beautifully exposed some consequences of thoughtless plastic waste. We posted this and never ordered water in plastic bottles again.

albatross-ocean-gyre-birds-pictures-04
The remains of a baby albatross and the contents of its stomach.

Birds and Beans is proud to be free from plastic bottles since May 2012.  The life cycle of a plastic bottle has harmful effects to the environment throughout every step of the chain: from formation to disposal. For more information on the life cycle of a plastic water bottle, check out this Ted-Ed video.

We are an official Quench Water Re-fill Location. Bring your reusable water bottle and we are happy to fill it up with filtered tap water. We offer a pitcher of iced water with glasses for customers to enjoy in the cafe. We also offer a bowl of water for the four-legged bunch.

Despite all of these options, people still want to buy water to go. We want to make you happy, so we investigated options to provide a take-out water option without contributing to the Garbage Patch, harming animals who mistake micro plastics for food or degrading the quality of the soil that supports us.

Boxed Water
Boxed Water is Better

The Boxed Water folks in Michigan came up with the great idea of offering water in boxes. Boxes are made from trees, which is a renewable resource. Conservation is important to them, so the trees being used come from well-managed forests. The cartons are 100% recyclable. Less resources are used when shipping the boxed packaging to the locations where water is filled compared to plastic bottles because boxes can be shipped flat. The water inside is purified with UV, carbon and reverse osmosis filtration. As a bonus, know that 1% of Boxed Water revenue is being donated to reforestation and world water relief.

Please enjoy our free filtered water. If you need to, enjoy Boxed Water knowing that it is a more sustainable option than anything packaged in a plastic bottle.

Coffee Bird Photo Post

As spring returns and our beloved migratory songbirds make their way back to Canada from their wintering grounds in Central and South America, we urge you to support them by purchasing certified Bird Friendly® coffee!

American Redstart
American Redstart

 

Our friend and supporter Vincent Falardeau would like to remind us of the beauty of the birds.  He has a permanent show of his photographs in our café.

Indigo Bunting _web II
Indigo Bunting

 

And we would like to remind you of the beauty of the coffee.

Black-throated Green Warbler_web
Black-throated Green Warbler

 

Lets do one simple act that sustains these beautiful birds and enriches our lives with a simple pleasure.

Baltimore Oriole
Baltimore Oriole

 

Help us help the birds.  Buy our certified Bird Friendly® coffee.

Black-throated Blue Warbler_1_1
Black-throated Blue Warbler

 

Help Monarch Butterflies by planting Milkweed

Although it doesn’t have anything to do with coffee or birds, we are happy to see the David Suzuki Foundation’s current #GotMilkweed program aimed at planting more Milkweed to act as host plants for Monarch Butterfly caterpillars. We like it because it points out that helping to save a species (and in this case the phenomenon of the Monarch Migration) is all about habitat.

Milkweed plants are an essential part of the Monarch’s lifecycle but it has been eradicated from much of the butterfly’s range – in cities and in the country thus destroying the butterfly’s natural habitat. The #GotMilkweed campaign’s goal is to replant a milkweed corridor in Toronto to help these insects increase their numbers. If the project succeeds, we would see patches of milkweed plant around us in the place of dull, boring grass.  A new generation of children will learn the pleasure of playing with Milkweed pods and releasing the seeds and we will see more of these beautiful butterflies in the summer and fall.

A Monarch Butterfly visiting a Bergamot plant in our patio garden.
A Monarch Butterfly visiting a Bergamot plant in our patio garden.

It is a small thing that can make a big difference – we see a future where we look for places to plant milkweeds and other plants to provide habitat and food for insects and birds. Imagine, for example, how nice it would be to drive down a highway and see milkweeds and other wildflowers making the scenery much more beautiful than the boring grass monoculture that has become the standard road side treatment.  In the same way, we see a future where people ask for their Fair trade coffee to be Bird Friendly too, so every cup provides habitat for Migratory Songbirds in addition to providing a fair deal for farmers.

More information: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2014/04/got-milkweed/

On a related note – we add our voice to support the proposed changes to Ontario’s Weed Control Act that would remove Milkweed from the list and make it legal to grow. About time! http://www.farms.com/ag-industry-news/ontario-proposes-an-amendment-to-the-weed-control-act-560.aspx About time.

Seeking a Compost Partner

About us:

We are the cafe part of Canada’s leading roaster of Certified Bird Friendly coffee. Our location is unique – unlike any other we’ve seen. Out back we have a lovely patio with a  view of Lake Ontario and a Native wildflower garden. The purpose of the garden is to provide habitat for birds and pollinators and to provide a beautiful backdrop for our patio.

Behind our wildflower garden is a huge composter – where we compost our coffee roaster chaffe, grinds and kitchen scraps. Since we don’t fertilize or water the wildflowers, we really don’t have a great need for the end product but we’re pretty sure someone out there really needs some great organic compost.

Our composter
Our onsite composter at Birds and Beans Café-by-the-Lake

About you:

You are reasonably local to us and are in need of some beautiful rich organic compost. You are willing to do some of the work required such as turning the piles and able to give direction to us on the adjusting the mix of inputs if required.

We’d prefer that you are a Community organization or perhaps involved in community garden but we will consider any one willing to help, You will have to agree to bag and remove the compost at your expense.

So, if this sounds like a match made in heaven to you, drop us a line and we’ll get dirty together….

To contact us, leave a comment here or call 647-439-3294.

Our Wildflower Garden
Our Wildflower Garden

To Bee or not to Bee

There have been a number of disturbing reports about mass bee die offs in the news recently – such as this report of 37 million bees dying in Ontario.

The cause of  these die offs has not yet been establish but it is likely that they are being caused by a relatively new class of pesticides call neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are sprayed like other pesticides but are also increasingly being used to coat seeds of corn (and possibly other crops) so the seed may be sowed earlier — before the temperature and moisture conditions are right for germination and not be eaten by ground dwelling insects. The problem is that the insecticide makes its way into the leaves and the pollen of the plant and the bees take the pollen back to the hives and the pesticide kills the bees. It also appears that pesticide is introduced to the environment during the planting process, exposing bees and other animals at that point too.

bee

It is estimated that the majority of corn now planted in North America is now coated with Neonicotinoids – a rise that coincides with the increase in Bee Colony Collapse disorder. The link has not been proven yet, a fact the chemical companies are quick to point out but the European Union has introduced at 2 year ban on 3 neonicotinoids as a precautionary measure. The evidence is mounting and we suggest that US and Canadian governments should follow the same path – better safe than sorry.  We lived very well before these pesticides were introduced and a temporary ban seems like the right thing to do while the studies are done.

There’s another disturbing fact that doesn’t get mentioned in the stories – the bees that are dying are our domestic honey bees – the ones kept to pollinate crops and make honey.  We’ve moved more and more to a model of agriculture that requires honey bee hives to be brought in to pollinate crops as we’ve reduced the biodiversity in farm fields to the point where they are eco-deserts – nothing much lives there except the crop we are growing. We have replaced the natural pollinators with domesticated bees — essentially hives of agricultural workers. And now, in our never ending quest to maximize yield and minimize immediate cost, we appear to be killing the domestic honey bees – our agricultural partners on whom we are utterly dependent.

If we are unable to keep bees, we won’t be able to grow crops that depend on them for pollination but our governments do not act. If something was killing our cattle, hogs or chickens, we would see action – so why not for the bees? How will our crops be pollinated with out them?

Bird and Pollinator Garden
Our Bird and Pollinator Garden at Birds and Beans Café-by-the-Lake

The simple answer is that they won’t be unless we take steps to protect the biodiversity of pollinators whether they be domesticated or wild. The native wild pollinators are being killed by the same agents as the Honey Bees and they are losing their natural habitat. The loses are hard to quantify because we don’t count them.

Protecting the pollinator diversity requires 2 simple steps.

  1. Provide habitat for the bees and
  2. Stop poisoning the bees.

So, what can we do? I encourage everyone to contact their elected representatives and urge them to support a temporary moratorium on the sale and use of Neonicotinoids. The justification for doing so may be found in something called “The Precautionary Principle” – which says we have a duty to prevent harm to the environment if it is in our power to do so, even though all the evidence is not in – or, in other words, Common Sense.

You can also do your part to help reduce the market for the products of this kind of chemical intensive industrial agriculture. Start by supporting Organic and small scale local farmers. Summer is a great time to purchase local food at a Farmer’s Market – ask the farmers about the the food and how it is grown. Does it cost more to support the small scale farmers? It can do but you get benefits for that extra cost. You are strengthening your community, it is better for the environment and the food tastes better! If we all take some action on this, collectively we will have an impact.

Finally, if you have a garden, plant some native plants that will provide a food source for our native pollinators. Our native bees are in trouble too but nobody is counting them so we don’t have the numbers. We must protect the species that we have, we are going to need them in the future. We have done this behind our cafe and we enjoy seeing a wide variety of bees visiting our native plants.

Water is Free at Birds and Beans Café

We are no longer selling bottled water at the cafe.  I saw a Pop! Tech talk with Chris Jordan about a month ago.  He wanted to engage us in the impact of Pacific Garbage Patch.  Well it worked on me.

He photographed dead albatross chicks who had died from eating the plastic they were fed by their parents who thought it was food.

albatross-ocean-gyre-birds-pictures-04
The remains of a baby albatross and the contents of its stomach.

Here is what Chris Jordan says on his website about this project:

“On Midway Atoll, a remote cluster of islands more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent, the detritus of our mass consumption surfaces in an astonishing place: inside the stomachs of thousands of dead baby albatrosses. The nesting chicks are fed lethal quantities of plastic by their parents, who mistake the floating trash for food as they forage over the vast polluted Pacific Ocean.

Coffee Birds in our Backyard

This post is to bring you a few of the beautiful photographs taken by Vincent Falardeau in our back garden in the Long Branch neighbourhood of the City of Toronto.  These birds spend their winters on shade coffee farms in Central and South America.  Traditional rustic coffee farms are the last refuge for these beautiful creatures as their formerly lush wintering grounds are deforested.

Palm Warbler
Palm Warbler

We want you to understand that they are here.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

They are beautiful.

Indigo Bunting
Indigo Bunting in Eastern Redbud

They will visit if you give them a bit of habitat in your backyard…

Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet

… or your local park

Yellow-rumped Warbler High Park
Yellow-rumped Warbler High Park

And that the most effective thing you can do to help them survive is to drink our Certified Bird Friendly coffee.

American Redstart
American Redstart

See more of these amazing photographs in Vincent’s exhibit at our café.

Why Birds and Beans Café is palm oil free

The mainstream media has picked up the crisis of a small population of orangutans this week.  Their habitat in Indonesia has been relentlessly brought to ruin by palm oil producers over several decades.  According to RainforestPortal.org  “The globally exceptional Tripa peat swamp rainforests of Aceh, Indonesia have been set illegally ablaze by the oil palm industry, threatening to massacre one of the largest and most dense natural populations of orangutans.”

http://www.rainforestportal.org/shared/alerts/sendsm.aspx?id=orangutan_oilpalm

It is only the crisis of the appalling suffering and imminent demise of this population of our close relatives that has brought attention to this perpetual issue forward this week.  Pictures of near dead orangutans with faces pleading like our own gutted me.

But I’m not writing this to have us indulge in sorrow, though that may also be appropriate.  I’m writing this because the cause of this suffering is the production of cheap palm oil… “cheap”, there is an interesting word to use for the destruction of untold natural capital (I feel another post coming on!)

The destruction is happening because we buy and consume palm oil, either directly or indirectly, every day.  If we didn’t, the destruction would stop tomorrow.  It is not easy to eliminate palm oil from one’s diet because it is used in most processed food because it is “cheap”.  While reference to palm oil is disappearing from food labels as the public becomes aware of the environmental and, yes, health problems assoiciated with palm oil, the product is still there disguised as “vegetable oil”.

So in honour of earth hour, Birds and Beans cafe would like to emphasize that we offer absolutely no products that contain palm oil and as owners, David and I have committed to never purchasing products with palm oil in our personal lives (no more processed food).  This hints at another future post (in fact, let’s make it a category)  in which we’ll discuss our contention that the making of conscious food choices is the most important thing we can do for the planet — and we start now.

If earth hour teaches us anything, it must be that our cumulative actions can have impact.  Join us in reducing demand for palm oil and save the last remaining habitat for the orangutans.