Sam James Coffee Bar at Harbord and Clinton, offering the basics of espresso-based drinks and select pastries, is arguably Toronto’s hottest new coffee shop.

Owner Sam James doesn’t seem too surprised. His shop is the latest in what is likely the biggest independent coffee shop boom this city has seen.

Since James’ coffee bar opened in August, nine more “independents” have followed in different Toronto neighbourhoods. That makes almost 25 this year, and a couple shops, like local darlings Dark Horse Espresso Bar and Ezra’s Pound, have opened second locations.

Yet, many neighbourhood café owners are predicting the number of independent shops in Toronto will soon multiply.

“I think that next year you’re going to see another 20 (openings), if not another 30,” says Stuart Ross, owner of Bulldog Coffee near Church and Carlton.

“It’s just the hot business right now,” he said.