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Espresso Beans

Where can I buy the best Espresso beans in town?

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  1. A lot of the better coffee places in town get their beans from Union.


    1 Reply
    1. re: SnackHappy

      Testing out the new place-linking feature for Café Union.

      Seems like there is a bug with accented words, unfortunately.

      Café Union
      148 Rue Jean-Talon W, Montreal, QC H2R2X1, CA

    2. Based on some earlier messages on this board that I found, I just tried a place called Terre. It's a bit out of the way (at least for me) but their beans are terrific. I'm afraid I can't remember the exact name but it was something-d'oro. It's supposed to be their best-known coffee. The place is up above the 40, west of St. Laurent, on Port Royal.

      Anyway, I ended up with some of that one as well as two others to test. I'm working on my first batch of the ... d'oro now and it's the best I've ever tasted. Wonderful crema, great color and it smells oh so good.

      The other place I've often seen recommended is Cafe Italia...somewhere around Jean Talon and St. Laurent. I plan to check them out as soon as I've gone through the beans I bought from Terre.


      5 Replies
      1. re: Eldor

        "Based on some earlier messages on this board that I found, I just tried a place called Terre."
        The name's Terra. And, yes, its espresso beans, especially the Goccia D'Oro blend, can be excellent. Too bad the store's so out of the way. www.terracaf.ca/en/index.asp

        Caffè ArtJava sells the vibrant Leftist blend from Gimme Coffee. Pricey, though. Don't know if Café Veritas is willing to part with its 49th Parallel beans.

        1. re: carswell

          Wow the place is out of the way but I will make the trip if the coffee is worth it.
          It seems Terra is just a street over from Marche Transatlantique,
          Carswell, would you say thier beans are better than Union's "Cafe Italia" Blend?

          Thanks for your suggestions Eldor & Carswell

          1. re: InterFoodie

            Haven't done side-by-side (or even week-by-week) comparisons, InterFoodie, so it's hard to say. There have also been reports of variations in quality at both Terra and Union (not surprising given that coffee is a crop, though some of the reports were pretty shocking). That said, when the Goccia D'Oro's good, it's really good. Whether it's worth the schlepp depends on any number of factors. If you're the type who buys whole beans and grinds them for each cup, who obsesses over your machine's water temperature and pressure, who shuns pressurized portafilters, who times his extractions and who drinks a lot of straight espressos (as opposed to milk-based coffee drinks), then it's probably worth seeing whether the blend is to your taste. If you aren't, it's probably not going to make that much difference.

            1. re: InterFoodie

              Coffeegeek is reporting that Old Montreal's Café Veritas is selling 49th Parallel beans. Also, the excellent Intelligentsia beans are about to be sold in Montreal for the first time. See www.chowhound.com/topics/98712#2738066

              1. re: carswell

                Carswell, thanks for your feedback.
                I am serious about my coffee some might say a little too serious.
                Nice straight shot does it for me everytime and I'm thankful we have soo much great coffee in this town.
                I will keep watching the posts and try out the suggestions.

                Once again many thanks to all the posters

          1. re: carswell

            There are 3 places that sell great espresso blends. Caffe Art Java (Gimme coffee), Veritas (49th Parallel roasters) and Caffe in Gamba (Intelligentsia). I have yet to find a local roaster remotely approaching the quality of these 3 roasters.

            I suggest you try out: Leftist (Gimme), Epic (49th Parallel), Black Cat (Intelligentsia) and Kid-O (Intelligentsia). They each have their own character, so you'll just have to try them out.

            Ask for roast dates because espresso beans deteriorate very quickly. They usually peak around 4-10 days, then it's all downhill. I don't keep any beans older than about a month.

          2. I would recommend Cafe Santé Veritas, they have the 49th parallel "EPIC".
            This is truly good beans.

            1. Tried some very fresh Black Cat Intelligentsia from Caffe in Gamba and loved it. We usually get our beans from Cafe Union on Jean-Talon. Their Bar Espresso blend is very good and a pretty good deal at 9$ a pound.

              1. I enjoy my coffee, but when I start reading the coffee-related posts on here, I feel like I must be missing something. I usually buy beans from Santropol or Nelligan (local roaster that recently appeared at my Provigo) - and I think it's pretty good. I'm curious to know how these beans compare to intelligentsia, etc? Is it heretical to even ask?Then again, I make my coffee in one of those stove-top perk-type things, and make it into a latte - so I guess I'm like the ones carswell is referring to below, to whom it might not make that much difference.

                9 Replies
                1. re: stak

                  If you grind your beans fresh for each pot, you owe it to yourself to try one or more of these premium blends. It'd surprise me if you couldn't taste the difference, though only you can say whether it's worth the extra hassle and cash. If you have your beans ground at the store, whichever coffee you buy is going to be stale after a day or two.

                  I find Zoka's Paladino blend to be versatile (good for espresso machines, moka pots, French press and drip), forgiving and, most importantly, delicious. It and Intelligentsia and 49th Parallel beans, as well as several others, can often be had at Caffè in Gamba on Park Ave. For Gimme! beans, head to ArtJava.

                  1. re: carswell

                    Hi guys, first time poster, but i've been lurking around for a while.
                    After reading so many threads about coffee and coffee beans in montreal, i thought I'd share my opinions on the montreal coffee scene.

                    First of all, the three shops mentionned (CiG, Veritas, Art Java) are all excellent places to acquire beans. However, contrarly to what most people think on this board, I do not find the 49th parallel to be such great beans.

                    From my experience with my setup (La pavoni pro / Rancilio silvia / Rancilio rocky), the most interesting blends were:

                    -Intelly Black cat (for chocolate lovers)
                    -Intelly Kid'o (for people who prefer floral / fruity notes to a big hard chocolate attack)

                    -Pt's Bella vista (my personal favorite, the extractions on both the sylvia and the pavoni are superb with this blend)

                    -Zoka paladino (for a blend that's relatively versatile as carswell said)

                    Those coffee roasters are premium quality distributors / manufacturers of beans and they will certainly knock the socks off of anyone who is used to the starbucks / toi et moi cafe insipid espressos.

                    Another thing, those of you who swear by italian blends really need to try the blends of the producers mentionned above. In Italy, coffee beans are often expensive, and the blends are rarely composed of top quality arabica beans. They also tend to be heavy on the robusta which creates a great crema, but tastes like burnt tires.

                    That was my 2 cents.

                    One last question, I've been desperatly trying to find counter culture beans in montreal. They supposedly don't deliver in Canada. Does anyone know someone who sells those beans?

                    1. re: Jhn

                      Welcome to CH and thanks for your coffee report!

                      "I've been desperatly trying to find counter culture beans in montreal. They supposedly don't deliver in Canada."

                      I'm just wondering - have you tried to order through their site? The country drop-down menu on the first screen in their checkout process lists a few non-US country options, including Canada, Australia and France, but I haven't actually tried to put an order through myself.

                      You could also try writing to them directly to find out if they have any Montreal distributors. There are email and phone options on their contact page


                      Good luck!

                      1. re: kpzoo

                        There are no Montreal distributors as of yet (just to save you some time).

                        1. re: Anth

                          Aha! We are lucky to have such an expert on the board. :-)

                          1. re: kpzoo

                            Thanks for the info anth.
                            That's what Jf a CiG said also, but he did manage to get a small batch for the regional's of WBC.

                            I'll definitly try writing them. The reviews of their roasts where stellar on both coffeegeek and homebarista.

                            1. re: kpzoo

                              It's my goal to start branching out in the other threads, my love for food pre-dated my coffee fanaticism :) But thanks, I'm glad to be able to contribute.

                        2. re: Jhn

                          Heads up, Jhn! Caffe in Gamba has just received a shipment of Counter Culture beans. Am currently enjoying the No. 46 blend. As I recall, Gamba also has Espresso Toscana, Espresso La Forza and Valle del Santuario, a Peruvian single origin that JF says kicks ass.

                      2. re: stak

                        You might be missing something. I was until about a year ago when I became seriously obsessed with coffee (maybe a little bit too obsessed if you ask those close to me). I find that there is a very noticeable difference between the beans sold at Caffe in Gamba and Veritas (I've never bought beans from Art Java but have had their espresso in-store on a few occasions) and those sold at Provigo, Starbucks, etc. Aside from bean and roast quality, I think the biggest difference is freshness. Purists will tell you that if your coffee is more than two weeks past its "roasted-on" date then it is stale and will taste as such. Unfortunately most of the coffee on the shelves of grocery stores and chain coffeeshops is already well past this two week mark.
                        That being said, it's definitely not heretical to ask how other beans compare to Intelligentsia et al. There is certainly a price difference so I think you have to decide whether it's worth it for you. If you've never had beans roasted by Intelligentsia, 49th Parallel, Zoka, PT's or any of the other beans that CiG sell then I would certainly recommend giving them a try and deciding for yourself.
                        P.S. I don't think there's anything wrong with using a stove-top method to make your coffee. There are many wonderful approaches to enjoying coffee. I would recommend grinding your beans right before making your coffee though for maximum enjoyment.