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Jul 27, 2008 04:21 PM

Good Coffee in NW Calgary?

I have recently moved to Calgary into the Hillhurst neighbourhood and and will work near the University campus. I know that Calgary has some great coffee spots (Artigiano, Bumpy's, Kawa, Cafe Beano), however all these great places are either downtown or south of downtown. Are there any quality coffee spots similar to the afore mentioned places in between these two points? I've tried Higher Ground -- which is good but very inconvenient during morning rush hour.


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  1. Sadly, the Kensington area is awash in mediocre to terrible coffeehouses. You might get lucky, depending on how flexible your standards are and if you get the rare employee who knows/cares about coffee, to get a decent shot at The House or The Roasterie. The House had a brief period when Will (of Phil and Sebastian) was working there and naturally you could get one of the best cups in the city then- now not so much, but as I say you might get lucky.

    You can get a nice espresso at Pulcinella, at least I did.

    I'd avoid the coffee (espresso and espresso based drinks I mean) at Higher Ground (sorry, but any "coffeehouse" that uses superautomatic machines and Canterbury beans does not get a cent of my biz), Peppino's, Heartland, and Sungate (but please try the Malaysian curry there- just avoid the mouldy Seattle's Best dreck).

    I'd love to tell you that Artigiano or Phil and Sebastian were looking at a Kensington location but I've heard nothing. Which is too bad because the area needs a really good coffeehouse.

    As the the rest of the NW- well there are Good Earth locations in the NW, aren't there? I go to the one on campus (ICT bldg) daily when I'm teaching... if not, there's always the desktop presspot.

    6 Replies
    1. re: John Manzo

      Replying to myself- I got an espresso at the campus GE today for the first time in a while and (1) it was a very nice shot, and (2) there are picture of staff latte art on the board next to the espresso machine- never expected to see that at a chain coffeehouse!

      1. re: John Manzo

        Good to hear. Sounds like Good Earth's game is improving. Incidentally one of the stops on my 5 city family vacation includes my hometown which boasts about 10 Tim Hortons and not a single Starbucks or Second Cup...I am pinning my hopes on the one independent that opened downtown recently, wish me luck :)

          1. re: yen

            The blink-and-you'll-miss-it stop on the 401 known as Cornwall On. Mom lives just outside town in Long Sault, 5 min from beaches but an hour plus from good coffee, It turns out the independent closed and TimHos is the only game in town...unfortunately it doesn't agree with me so I've been rather undercaffeinated of late.

            At the moment we're in the Muskokas on Bass Island and we've been enjoying Muskoka coffee...more on that later :)

      2. re: John Manzo

        Fuel for Gold opened a kiosk in the Food Court of the MacEwan Student Centre (MacHall) at the University of Calgary in September 2011. They are serving Phil & Sebastian coffee and espresso and I believe their baristas are trained at P & S.

        1. re: glbrown

          ooh thanks! that will be a treat walk in warmer weather (i'm in the research park by brentwood station). still hoping for a P&S on our side of the river but i think it is wishful thinking...

      3. There's an independent coffee shop on 19th st between Kensington and 5th ave but I have no idea how good it is.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sharonanne

          Central Blends? Well they do roast their own (Blends on Edmonton Trail)- worth a shot!

          1. re: John Manzo


            I tried Central Blends -- an Americano -- pretty mediocre, in my opinion.

            It looks like I will be bringing my bodum and own coffee to work. I will figure out the hike between the research park and where the Good Earth is for the occassional "outing coffee". New to the U of C campus and don't know where anything is but my building.

            Thanks again. And I will keep up hopes for good coffee spot in Kensington...

        2. The coffee itself is nowhere near the Artigiano/Kawa/Bumpy tier, but for while-away-the-day neighbourhood coffee house ambiance you're not going to beat Weeds, up the hill at 1903 20th Ave. (And their double espresso functions as a more than acceptable Americano.)

          1. Weeds Cafe on 20th Ave NW and around 19 St has 49th Parallel coffee and is definitely worth checking out.