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Best pre-ground espresso (affordable) to buy in Guy-Concordia area

socialhvn Oct 28, 2010 08:00 AM

Right now I have been buying Van Houtte Venetian. It's really not bad. However I'd like to try something different, without breaking the bank either. The Van Houtte is about $10 for 10.5 oz.

I don't mean to offend espresso connoisseurs with the 'pre-ground'... But I'm just a student and can't afford a $200 espresso grinder. Moreover, if I were to spend that money, I ought to put it toward a new espresso machine altogether as mine is a 10+ year hand-me-down (that has been brought into repair numerous times) LOL But it actually works great and makes a great latte.

So any suggestions? It can just be grocery brands, if not, please send me somewhere in the Guy-Concordia area.

  1. o
    otso Oct 29, 2010 09:26 AM

    I want to make 2 suggestions. I too was a struggling student when I got my first real espresso machine, so I identify strongly with your plight.
    1. As noted, Cafe Myriade on McKay is absolutely unquestionably the best source of high quality / freshly roasted beans in the city, hands down. (unless you want a really classic Italian-style espresso blend, then go to Cafe Union on Jean Talon) Especially for the quality and freshness, Myriade's prices (go for the 49th Parallel) are totally reasonable. Fresh beans really matter for espresso.
    2. I have made serious espresso at home for over 30 years, and my experience is that the grinder is much more important for great coffee than a new espresso machine. On a student budget I would consider one of the Japanese ceramic burr hand grinders (Kyocera or Hario brand). It will take you two minutes or so to hand grind the beans for one cup -- but it will taste like heaven if you use freshly roasted beans (like from Myriade). You can pick up a Hario online for about $40, and a Kyocera for about $70. They both have their fans (check out the home-barista.com grinder forum.) Orphanespresso.com in Troy, Idaho (!) has Kyoceras (they ship to Canada quickly), but mainly they have a couple of youtube videos on using them (the guy in the video, Doug, looks like he lives in rural Idaho, but he really knows everything about espresso). Espressotec.com in Vancouver has the Harios (for $32 and $39 plus shipping.)

    Have fun and stay caffeinated!

    1 Reply
    1. re: otso
      carswell Oct 29, 2010 09:46 AM

      Caffè in Gamba on Parc sells Hario Skerton hand-cranked grinders. IIRC, they run about $55. I absolutely agree that grinding beans with a burr grinder just before using them is prerequisite to producing excellent espresso. Also, assuming you've got your machine's water temperature and pressure right, it's probably the one thing you can do that will make the biggest improvement in the quality of your brew. No matter how good the beans are, they start going stale within minutes of being ground.

      BTW, Caffè in Gamba sells beans that are every bit as interesting and fresh as Myriade's. They have a greater variety, too, though there's actually very little overlap.

    2. s
      socialhvn Oct 29, 2010 07:27 AM

      Thanks all... very helpful. I'll look for Santropol at Frigo Vert and PA today, and I will also stop in Myriade.

      3990 Rue Saint Urbain, Montreal, QC H2W 1T8, CA

      1. m
        montrealwaitress Oct 28, 2010 09:29 AM

        When I don't want to splurge on Myriade espresso, I get Santropol, I like the Classique because it's smooth but if you want something with a bit more bite, the Noir is good. The organic stand at the Atwater market sells it - ground or whole. I can't remember if I've seen it at P.A.. Also check out Le Frigo Vert on MacKay, they might sell it. It's also 10 or 10.75 a bag depending on the retailer.

        3990 Rue Saint Urbain, Montreal, QC H2W 1T8, CA

        3 Replies
        1. re: montrealwaitress
          pyropaul99 Oct 28, 2010 02:22 PM

          Myridade sells their 49th Parallel beans at $14 for 16oz - so this is cheaper than the $10 for 10.5oz the original poster mentioned he's already paying. I'd also posit that the Myriade beans are better than the Van Houtte ones. A burr grinder is needed if you have an electric espresso machine - for a stove top model a regular blade grinder is fine.


          1. re: pyropaul99
            kpzoo Oct 28, 2010 07:02 PM

            > A burr grinder is needed if you have an electric espresso machine - for a stove top model a regular blade grinder is fine.

            Thank you for the clarification - that must explain why I've been doing OK with my cheapo blade grinder - I use a stove-top moka coffeepot. ;-)

            1. re: pyropaul99
              Fintastic Oct 28, 2010 08:58 PM

              Agreed - Myriade actually sells 49th beans below the prices listed on their website. At $14 for a pound of either Epic or Organic Espresso, its a great deal. Plus, they always offer to grind it for you, which I'm sure they would do to whatever coarseness you wanted. I don't think you'll find cheaper beans that are guaranteed to be roasted recently (49th prints this on their bags).

          2. s
            sweettoothMTL Oct 28, 2010 08:42 AM

            Most supermarket chains (Metro, Loblaws, IGA) have started to carry Brulerie St-denis/Deux marie coffee, which is a step up from Van houtte. It's been a while but the deux-marie espresso blend is pretty good (not sure whether you want espresso or not).

            More expensive, in the area, Café Myriade will sell you the best coffee. I've never bought beans there specifically, but based on past experiences at In Gamba , Veritas and Caffe Art Java, they always offer to grind the beans when you purchase a bag (no extra cost).

            Veritas Cafe
            480 Boul Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC H2Y3Y7, CA

            Caffe Art Java
            525 Prom Du Centropolis, Laval, QC H7T0A3, CA

            1 Reply
            1. re: sweettoothMTL
              kpzoo Oct 28, 2010 09:05 AM

              I second Brûlerie St-Denis - I've been buying their Kenya blend (beans) and it's great.

              > I do shop at marche du fort. Is there one you would recommend (an espresso you have bought)?

              No, sorry - I don't shop there, was just a thought. ;-)

            2. kpzoo Oct 28, 2010 08:23 AM

              Have you tried Marché PA on Fort?

              re: pre-ground - I'm not sure you need a $200 grinder - I bought mine for $10, used, and it works fine. Mind you, I'm no connoisseur, either. ;-)

              You could also check out Café Myriade but I'm not sure whether they sell pre-ground or beans only.

              2 Replies
              1. re: kpzoo
                socialhvn Oct 28, 2010 08:43 AM

                I do shop at marche du fort. Is there one you would recommend (an espresso you have bought)? I took a quick look at the coffees the keep in the back corner but I thought they only had coffee and not espresso.

                Also, I have been to myriade... I know they sell and its a bit more expensive. If someone else tried it and says its good I might try it. Although I like the latte they prepare for me there, it is very smooth and I wouldn't mind a slightly more bold taste for at home.

                1. re: socialhvn
                  foodie_mtl Oct 28, 2010 10:29 AM

                  Myriade does sell beans and they will also grind them for you. I don't know if I would say it's more expensive. I find their 49th Epic very well priced. Do the math and you'll see! I believe they sell 1 lb bags (which is 16 oz).

                  I have been buying beans from them for over a year now and I used to have them grind the beans for me. I invested in a good grinder and have since been buying the beans whole.

                  What you will get from Myriade will be much fresher than any grocery store and in my opinion, the best option around that area, if not the island.

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