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From Alberta to Esmeralda by Mark Prince
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MarkPrince
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Posted Sun Aug 26, 2007, 12:00am
Subject: From Alberta to Esmeralda by Mark Prince
 

From Alberta to Esmeralda
by Mark Prince

A look at the growing coffee scene in Alberta with latte art throwdowns, the start of a revolution in culinary coffee there, and more. Plus insanity as the real deal Esmeralda Especiale is thrown at the espresso grinder.
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fookoonetwork
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Posted Sun Aug 26, 2007, 1:37am
Subject: Re: From Alberta to Esmeralda by Mark Prince
 

Your observations about single origin espresso and Esmeralda were interesting.  Given the cost of espresso per shot versus any form of brewed coffee, espresso can be quite expensive with the caveat being was it worth the cost?  For example, one batch of a 140 grams of green beans will yield either two pots of vacuum pot coffee ~ 20 oz each or 4 shots of 3X basket naked porta filter shots of espresso.  

The attempt to make coffee a superior culinary item in select coffee shops has always made me wonder about its quality with respect to what one can do at home.  I have had Clover-ed coffee twice and both times has been disappointing.  For the Clover there should be no technique problems.  Espresso is a different story and over the years, the best shot of espresso from a commercial establishment falls to Espresso Vivace - where even there it was variable.  You as a quasi coffee professional would receive special treatment when you walk into a coffee shop.  It should be possible to raise commercial coffee experiences to the level of a 4 star restaurant, but I have yet to encounter it.  That would require a level of quality that does not waver much from experience to experience.
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Rockies
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Posted Sun Aug 26, 2007, 6:11am
Subject: Re: From Alberta to Esmeralda by Mark Prince
 

Nice write up, Mark.  Glad to see that the small revolution going on in Calgary is being noticed.  One thing that comes through in your article is something I have always said - coffee people in the Calgary market are some of the nicest folks you will meet.  Les at JJ and the guys at P&S always have time to talk a bit of coffee and remember who the coffee fanatics are.  

The local roaster you can't recall that Bumpy's is serving is Big Mountain.  It is owned by Wade & Georgina, another couple of great people.  The Bumpy's location used to be their cafe where they roasted and served their coffee.  They are also supplying one of the local grocery chains.

It's a shame P&S wasn't open while you were there, it is quite a sight to see the lineups they are drawing on the weekends.  A very welcome addition to the farmer's market.  And they have had some Ethiopian on the Clover in the last while that is just sublime.

I don't know if I dare say it, but I really think coffee in Calgary has turned a corner.  Looking at what is available today versus 3-4 years ago is really quite something.  And the credit really has to go to people like Les of JJ and the owners of Bumpy's, and all the great dedicated baristas like Jason.

They keep making great coffee, so I'll keep drinking it.

Now if only that corner could be turned in Toronto, where I find myself working nowadays.  :)
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John_Manzo
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Posted Sun Aug 26, 2007, 10:55am
Subject: Re: From Alberta to Esmeralda by Mark Prince
 

Again, very sad to have missed all the fun, Mark.

Beano uses Fratello beans, but I heard a couple of days ago that they might be using (instead of or in addition to I do not know) ones from Mountain View Roasterie, a newer roaster in Didsbury (about 45 mins north of Calgary)- I've had great experiences with MVR and have their organic La Amistad (Costa Rica) in my grinder right now, MVR is the first local roaster to provide roast dates on bags.
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John_Manzo
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Posted Sun Aug 26, 2007, 6:49pm
Subject: Re: From Alberta to Esmeralda by Mark Prince
 

Mark, "wallah" means "merchant" in Urdu/Hindi. The term is "voila." I didn't even take French in school (in the US) and I know that! :-)

Not meaning to be an ass, but I've seen this in other writings of yours.
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pizzo
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Posted Tue Aug 28, 2007, 6:44pm
Subject: Re: From Alberta to Esmeralda by Mark Prince
 

Mark, My Elektra's & Macap,s look small @ bumpy's But they make great coffee! Were looking at changing the units with the new elektra "Kappa" and "Nino" grinder. I'm also sad your experiance in Calgary could have benn better.
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nicfortin
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Posted Tue Aug 28, 2007, 10:25pm
Subject: Re: From Alberta to Esmeralda by Mark Prince
 

thanks agains for your coffee/road trip to Calgary area. The jam was awesome and very energizing for us coffee enthusiasts (for me for sure! ;-) around here.
Lucky you with Esmeralda! I was shocked when I saw pics of you putting this coffee thru "espresso taste test"! ;-)
Knowing your opinion on SO...
That kind of experiment is something I'll be looking into it. Any "cheaper" coffee in the Esmeralda caliber you would recommend, maybe from same origin/farmer not CoE winner?

Thx again great article... as usual! :)

nic

 
Enjoy your coffees with Respect  :^)
===============
BGA0531
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MarkPrince
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Posted Tue Aug 28, 2007, 11:32pm
Subject: Re: From Alberta to Esmeralda by Mark Prince
 

John_Manzo Said:

Mark, "wallah" means "merchant" in Urdu/Hindi. The term is "voila." I didn't even take French in school (in the US) and I know that! :-)

Not meaning to be an ass, but I've seen this in other writings of yours.

Posted August 26, 2007 link

Thanks for pointing it out, but I don't plan on changing it anytime soon. I picked up the phrase travelling with Aussies through europe for two years. It's been part of my writing style and speech ever since, and I like it that way lol ;)

Mark

 
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MarkPrince
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Posted Tue Aug 28, 2007, 11:34pm
Subject: Re: From Alberta to Esmeralda by Mark Prince
 

pizzo Said:

Mark, My Elektra's & Macap,s look small @ bumpy's But they make great coffee! Were looking at changing the units with the new elektra "Kappa" and "Nino" grinder. I'm also sad your experiance in Calgary could have benn better.

Posted August 28, 2007 link

Re Nina - very cool. I didn't know they were shipping yet tho! That's a kick ass grinder.

Re Calgary experience being bad? It was pretty good overall! Every place doing good coffee was doing just that - good coffee. Not everything's to my own personal taste, but I'm not one to call a shot bad just because it doesn't have heaps of body, chocolate, caramels, fruits and low acid ;)

Mark

 
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CoffDrop
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Posted Thu Aug 30, 2007, 8:55pm
Subject: Re: From Alberta to Esmeralda by Mark Prince
 

John_Manzo Said:

Mark, "wallah" means "merchant" in Urdu/Hindi. The term is "voila." I didn't even take French in school (in the US) and I know that! :-)

Not meaning to be an ass, but I've seen this in other writings of yours.

Posted August 26, 2007 link

MarkPrince Said:

Thanks for pointing it out, but I don't plan on changing it anytime soon. I picked up the phrase travelling with Aussies through europe for two years. It's been part of my writing style and speech ever since, and I like it that way lol ;)

Mark

Posted August 28, 2007 link

Funny, I got called on the same thing last week when I made a post here a few days ago!  I, too, spell it the way I say it.

Anyway, haven't been to Calgary in about two years now.  I used to stay at a friend's place there on my way to and from Fernie, BC.  Sounds like there's much more going on with coffee now.  Used to go into Big Mtn coffee before it was Bumpy's and had a few chats with Wade about the business.  First time I had seen a nekid, excuse me, a naked portafilter in use.  There was another place in town that I had tried once or twice, but the coffee wasn't very good - I think it shut down a while back.

Thanks for the write up.  I'll have to check out some of these new places, if and when I get chance to get up there again (the aforementioned friend now lives in Vancouver).
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