From the horse's mouth: Caffe Artigiano opening "around Feb 1"
- John Manzo Jan 11, 2008 11:46 AM
I wrote the public relations contact asking about updated on opening, hours, if food was availabe (CA sells some of most incredble sandwiches I've ever had in Canada), if they were selling the same beans as other locations, if they'd have a Clover brewer, and about other possible locations. Here was the reply:
The Calgary location is slated to open around Feb 1st. It is at 332-6th Ave
S.W., in the Calgary downtown core. It will open from 6 am - 6 pm Monday to
Friday and 7 am to 4 pm Saturday/Sunday.
They will sell food and coffee beans (whole bean coffee menus may differ
slightly at different locations), not sure about the Clover yet.
There are plans for more locations, and we are working on a new website with
up to date info."
Open SUNDAYS? That's a shock, but good to hear.
if they actually do remain open on sundays, I will have a chance to go there. Not even their coffee is worth hauling my bedraggled butt into downtown traffic to pay highway robbery parking fees on weekdays. So the lucky people who work there won't have to glare at me and my noisy toddlers in line :) . My fingers are crossed for the brunch.
ooh transcend sounds like a class act- one of these days I'm gonna order their beans.
A clover is a by-the-cup brewing system, which is new in itself as brewed coffee is usually done with some sort of pot or insulated coffee receptacle (think Tim Hortons) and not by the cup. The Clover entails ONE cup's worth of any beans on offer (Phil and Sebastian always has three options for example) being ground to order and then brewed in the Clover, which combines french press and vacuum aspects to put out exactly one cup of superfine coffee.
There are other ways to do by-the-cup brewing- some places use small press pots or single ceramic drip containers, but these aren't nearly as fast (the Clover takes something like 20 seconds whereas a french press takes 4 minutes) and of course there's the "cool" factor too.
Strider, I use my home machine more than ever since the days when (to quote peter v) "you can have Big Mountain, or you can have Big Mountain" are long past in Calgary. I relish new places opening primarily so I can try new quality beans. 3 years ago I pretty much only used Big Mountain espresso blend at home because that was the only fresh quality microroaster available here unless I bought some Vivace at Java Jamboree, which is a pretty big trip to buy coffee. Today I use a rotation of Hines (from P&S), 49th Parallel Epic, 49th Parallel Organic, Intelligentsia Black Cat (which I buy from Communitea in Canmore- I wish somebody in Calgary used this outstanding espresso blend), Big Mountain, Mountain View Roasterie (which now supplies The House in Kensington), and sometimes a blend from Fratello when I want something dark. All of these are fresh and just waitiing for the home barista to explore.
Artigiano uses (I think) a proprietary blend from 49th Parallel that is Artigiano branded, and I can't wait to toss that into the mix!
BM is all over town, and from what I can tell the best place to purchase is at Bumpy's. They give about equal shelf space to both BM and 49th, and the last time I bought BM espresso there it was only three days post roast- the problem is that unless you buy it there, there is no way to know how old the beans are. That said, BM does bag some outstanding product, I just wish the owner was willing to post roast dates on the bags. At Bumpy's you know the BM is fresh; at say Co-op, there is no way to know if your beans are days or months post roast. So it's worth it to pay the couple of extra bucks to get fresh Big Mountain at Bumpy's.
Oh, also, they pull BM at Purple Perk and unfortunately do a bad job of it (last couple of times I went at least), but when you buy beans they are from the same stock they use at the espresso bar, so that's another good option for fresh BM beans. Problem is that they don't stock nearly as much of the better stuff (like Yirgacheffe or Sidamo) at Purple Perk as they do at Bumpy's.
On the beans freshness issue- lots of good things happening thanks in part to the sea change ushered in by local shops with higher standards. Yesterday I did something I have not done for over a year: bought house blend beans from Good Earth. On the bag is a sell-by date and it is 3 months after they put it on the shelf (vs 14 months at Starbucks!), and it goes on the shelf a day or so after roasting. My bag said May 5, so I know it was roasted around Feb 4. It's their "blackbird espresso," roasted by Fratello, and it is very, very good. Additionally, there is a roast date on the bags at Caffe Beano- they fill paper take home bags but they can tell you when the beans were roasted.
A year ago, the only place in town to get coffee beans where you knew the roast date was Java Jamboree, because Vivace and Josuma dated their bags. Now you can get this info at Good Earth (again if you know the formula). P&S, Bumpy's, and the House since they've started to sell Mountain View Roasterie (which has dated its product from day 1), as well as on many of the beans sold at Community Natural Foods (eg Oso Negro- word to the wise: buy their "medium" roast blend for espresso; it's actually quite dark, and their "dark" or God forbid "very dark" is charcoal). Artigiano will only up the ante, but they're not starting a trend- they're helping it grow.