Pilot Coffee Roasters

Roastery, Lab, Tasting Bar, and Distribution Centre for Direct Trade Coffee

In a forgotten industrial strip backing onto the Greenwood Rail Yard in Toronto’s east end, Williamson Chong has transformed an old building supplies warehouse into a state-of-the-art coffee facility. Named the 2014 Micro Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine, This Pilot ‘hub’ is the first roasting facility in Toronto that is open and accessible to the public.

Utilizing the open plan of the existing concrete block warehouse with exposed structure and service lines, the production cycle has been made transparent. There is a visual slice through the whole operation where customers, baristas, and wholesale clients can learn the narrative of the beans from their arrival from Direct Trade suppliers to their roasting and delivery using Pilot’s full-time bicycle courier.

The rough shell is contrasted by finely detailed small spaces delineated by precise wood-clad shells and elements. Upon entry, the curved tasting bar is designed to maximize education and interaction. It is composed of a  wrap-around concrete counter – like an unfolded paper clip – with a white oak base that conceals a dishwasher, under counter refrigerator, boiler, cold-brew coffee storage, a cash drawer, and most important, the boiler of the Modbar espresso machine. Because the boiler sits beneath the counter, leaving just the heads embedded in the countertop, the baristas can engage with the customers without a physical barrier.

Used for tasting and scenting various blends with scientific precision, the coffee lab and cupping room is slightly shielded from the rest of the operation. Clad in white oak paneling that is also used for the millwork shelves, drawers and cabinetry inside, it holds a bank of various coffee machines, grinders, and testing equipment and is used for training, experimentation and workshops. The custom cupping table is centred on a double paned window overlooking the production area while a glass pocket door for soundproofing and scent containment can either close off the space or open it to the adjacent tasting bar.

The third element is an office tucked at the back with sightlines through a large window to the activity on the floor. Equipped with a 24-kilo Diedrich roaster, the central floor space houses the main production area, storage racks, and packaging tables. This new-concept work environment invites the public in for a first-hand artisanal coffee experience while also educating about the process and precision required to bring great coffee to your table.

In a forgotten industrial strip backing onto the Greenwood Rail Yard in Toronto’s east end, we transformed an old building supplies warehouse into a state-of-the-art coffee facility. Named the 2014 Micro Roaster of the Year by Roast Magazine, This Pilot ‘hub’ is the first roasting facility in Toronto that is open and accessible to the public.

A project completed by Williamson Chong

Project News

Pilot Coffee Roasters published in Interior Design

Cindy Allen, ed., "Best of Year," Interior Design, January 2015, V.86, N.1. p. 114.

On the heels of the finals of the Interior Design Best of Year Awards, Pilot has been published in Interior Design Magazine with the other winners.

designboom Covers Pilot Coffee Roasters

Brigit Lohmann ed., Designboom, Williamson Chong Designs Tasting Bar for Pilot Coffee Roasters in Toronto, January 2015, website.

Designboom just posted some great images and an article about Pilot Coffee Roasters. It was great to meet Birgit Lohmann and take her through the space. We hope you enjoyed the rest of your time in Toronto.

Pilot Coffee Roasters Receives 2014 Interior Design Best of Year Merit Award

Interior design Magazine has just announced the 2014 Best of Year nominees and Pilot Coffee Roasters is a finalist in the Cafe category. We won an Award of Merit and had a wonderful evening cheering on the Toronto offices and their many wins throughout the night!


Globe and Mail: Beyond Doors Open

Alex Bozikovic from The Globe and Mail recommends a visit to Pilot Coffee Roasters in Doors Open Toronto: 10 things you need to see this weekend.

This weekend’s Doors Open festival is an opportunity to explore some of the best of Toronto’s architecture. Running both Saturday and Sunday, the event features 155 of Toronto’s most interesting places, and each year the most popular venues are 19-century ones such as Old City Hall.

But most of Toronto was built after 1950, and its architecture and design is livelier than it’s ever been. Architecture critic Alex Bozikovic picks four Doors Open spots that tell that part of the story – plus a panel discussion of influential architects “redesigning” the city, and four more places outside the festival where you can sightsee, have a coffee or go swimming 21 century-style. All in all, here are ten places and events that should be on your can’t-miss list.

Beyond Doors Open

Beyond the official tours this weekend, there are places across the GTA where you can experience great modern and contemporary design first hand. Here are four that’ll make your Doors Open weekend richer.

Pilot Coffee Roasters

Young architects rarely get to design public buildings – but occasionally find great clients in retail and hospitality. Such as Pilot Coffee Roasters, who hired the ambitious firm Williamson Chong Architects to design their roastery, warehouse and tasting bar near Greenwood and Gerrard. Head down the laneway; inside the warehouse you’ll find a gorgeous, curvy bar of finely detailed white oak and concrete. And excellent coffee.Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. 50 Wagstaff Dr.



Azure Magazine: Bean Counters

‘Office Drama: Three Brilliant Interiors Reinvent the Nine-to-Five’, " Bean Counters," Alison Garwood-Jones, Azure, June 2014

“From roasting to cupping, Pilot’s micro-roastery offers coffee aficionados and baristas a one stop shop for mastering their brewing…” Thank you to Azure for spreading the word on this great coffee shop and especially to Alison Garwood-Jones for the wonderful article.

blogTO: Pilot Coffee Roasters

blogTo calls out one of our newest projects completed for Pilot Coffee Roasters.

Pilot Coffee Roasters have outdone themselves. They moved the roaster at Te Aro into 50 Wagstaff Drive, making a combination roastery, lab, tasting bar and distribution centre that’s slick, gorgeous and technically impressive. It’s unlikely that you’ll find another place in the city (or the country for that matter) that shows off speciality coffee culture functioning at such a high level….


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