Archive for the 'Cafes' Category


Well, it’s been well over a year since I’ve posted anything in this blog. I still sign posts around the internet with this address… so I thought maybe I should get around to making a post.

As some of you may know, I no longer am working in the coffee industry on a regular basis. My last stint as a barista was this past summer in Calgary where I almost exclusively steamed milk at Phil & Sebastian Coffee at the Calgary Farmers Market. Good times were had at P&S. The staff there have such dedication and passion for coffee. I wouldn’t hesitate to say there are very few places like it in North America, if not the entire world.


I am finishing up my Bachelor of Science degree at the University of British Columbia. I have approximately 2 months left to finish off a few courses and my thesis. Most of my time these days is spent deforming rocks and trying to measure the permeability of the faults I create by deforming them. Yes, it is actually exciting, and yes, now I know all kinds of things about percolation networks and fluid flow through interconnected porosity. How does that have anything to do with coffee? Well, indirectly, percolation theory can help explain the distribution of water through a puck of coffee loaded in your portafilter. I’ve yet to really explore that side of the science of coffee, but it will definitely be something to consider.

Possibly the most interesting development in the past year is that I am now a homebrewer. My roommate Dave and old Pearson friend Alex are partners in this venture and we have proven ourselves to be competent brewmasters. Our best batch so far has been a variant on local microbrewer Storm’s Hurricane IPA. It was a superb example of a west coast IPA, with lots of hops (dry hopped too!), but a pleasant balance that seems to be missing in a lot of commercial examples. Tonight involved the bottling of our newest beer, Paul’s Porter. Named for hockey great Paul Coffey, it’s a strong coffee porter. Once it has been fully bottle conditioned, we are expecting a 6.5% robust porter with a backdrop of  coffee (we used a 6 cup mokha pot of local roaster Ethical Bean’s Ethiopia coffee that Dave happened to have on hand). It’s tasting decent already, and that’s warm and without any carbonation. Looks like a porter too, the beer is black and opaque.

My current coffee situation involves me buying retail coffee for the first time in probably 5 years. My regular roasters are 49th Parallel and Intelligentsia. 49th has proven to be a consistent, excellent roaster. My regular bean from them is their Caffe Artigiano Yergacheffe since the Kerrisdale Artigiano is less than a minute walk from my apartment. It’s always fresh and is a very balanced, quality Yerg best made in my Chemex. When I’m looking for a treat though, I head down to Elysian Coffee at Ash and Broadway where they usually have some tasty offerings from 49th, like today’s Clover of Beloya. For those of you that have not experienced the latest issue of this wonderfully crisp, berry-laden natural Ethiopian coffee, I recommend you visit the folks at Elysian (or 49th in Kits for that matter). The people watching from the bar there is great too.



Going down to Seattle for a couple of days to check out the scene there. I’ve only spent a few hours in Seattle before on a bus-airplane layover on my way to San Francisco. I plan to hit up the new Stumptown locations, my old faves Victrola and Vivace, hopefully Trabant and whatever else I might stumble upon. Sakae and I are planning on walking everywhere (well, within downtown, Pioneer Square area and Capitol Hill), so it should be interesting.  Lunch on Friday is going to be at Salumi (yay!!).Hope to pick up some good bottled beer too.I know this is last minute, but any suggestions out there for a good bottled beer store around downtown/Capitol Hill or anywhere else within a couple miles from Pike Place? I want to get to Bottleworks, but I think it might be too far for me to get out to.  

More guest shifts

I will again be working at Phil and Sebastian Coffee this weekend, but this time both Saturday and Sunday. It’s supposed to be a bit cooler, so it’s a perfect time to peruse the market. Introduce yourself… I’m the one with the plaid fedora…

Guest Barista-ing

To all my Calgary readers, I will be pulling shots and helping out the guys at Phil&Sebastian this Saturday from 9-5. They’re located in the Calgary Farmer’s Market at the old CFB Calgary Currie Barracks. My other posts extol the virtues of P&S, so read the archives if you want to know how amazing these two guys (and their coffee) are. Working there makes me even more aware of what these guys are really doing, and I can assure you I can only think of one other shop in Canada that takes such a detailed approach to coffee.

Hope to see some of you on Saturday!

Life’s not bad on the prairies

I must say, after a day of pounding the singletrack trails of the Powderface area in the Elbow Valley out in Kananaskis Country, sipping on some Calgary brewed Big Rock Beer, eating some garden grown salad greens and barbecued vegetables and pork, then sitting down to a hand ground cup of french pressed 2006 Carmen Estate – Best of Panama, roasted by Novo Coffee and provided by Phil and Sebastian, life is pretty good here. 

So yeah, I think the biggest thing I need to say to my very few readers (well, actually stats have been up in the last few days!), if you live in Calgary, make Phil and Sebastian your coffee destination. If you haven’t been yet, or you don’t know where they are, they have a kiosk in the Calgary Farmer’s Market, located in the former CFB Calgary Currie Barracks.The two of them, plus Kat, formerly of Cafe Fantastico in Victoria, and Will, provide the city with some of the finest coffee available, bringing in goods from Intelligentsia, Novo and Hines. They’ve got a 3 group semi-automatic La Marzocco FB80, a few Anfim grinders, a Ditting and a Clover 1s. 

It’s like a mini-Elysian Room. 

Seriously though, I can honestly say that if they did not exist, and if John wasn’t bringing in 49th Parallel coffee into Bumpy’s, I would be much less happy with my situation in Calgary. So thank you John from Bumpy’s and Phil and Sebastian. I am now glad to be in Calgary. 

In other news, I have been out pretty much every weekend for some sort of mountain adventure. Last week had my friend Quinn and I camp in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park. I even brought the trusty hand grinder and the french press to have some of 49th’s Wild Forest Washed Gizmeret Ethiopia coffee. We hiked on the Saturday up Elk Pass, into BC, down into Elk Lakes and up to Petain Falls. If you ever get a chance, do this (really long) hike, and you will not regret it. The falls are spectacular. 

Today, Quinn and his friend Karla and I rode the Powderface Creek and Prairie Creek trails on our mountain bikes. I tell you, after a couple of years not riding technical high country trails, it hurt, but it was so awesome flying down the slopes, avoiding trees, roots, rocks and mud. 

Here’s a picture from our Petain Falls trip (just click on the link… wordpress isn’t giving me an option to thumbnail this dude). 

Back in Calgary

Despite my hopes to acquire a job in the mineral exploration industry, I have returned home to Calgary to save on rent and spend some time here. I’ve paid a visit to Bumpy’s and managed to chat with a few old friends there. The cappuccinos courtesy of Mike, were excellent. As I think I’ve got a job lined up in the downtown core (yes, that means this summer, I’m no longer employed in the coffee industry), I’ll probably be frequenting Bumpy’s a fair bit.

I’ve yet to visit Phil and Sebastian in the Farmer’s Market. I really really want to, but this past weekend didn’t work out. So I’m aiming for Friday before a barbeque I plan on going to in the area.

I’m on my last bit of Intelly’s Gaturiri Kenya Auction Lot… it was an excellent coffee that allowed me to get through a whole lot of early morning mapping at my 2nd year geology field school last week.

Big congrats to Heather Perry, 2007 USBC champion, and all of the other finalists. It was quite the competition from what I read!


There was an article in Thursday’s Vancouver Sun about Wicked. Here’s the link. If you’ve found my blog from searching about the cafe after reading the article, that’s not Arthur! That’s Alberto. Oops. There are a few other inaccuracies, but I won’t be too nitpicky.

But today, I pulled my last shift at the cafe until September (pending my return, which is most likely), so don’t expect to see my face in there anytime soon. It was awesome, and much caffeine was consumed. I even pulled this off. It’s soy and 6 oz. I think it’s pretty sweet…

Now back to the packing.

On tap

49th Parallel El Salvador La Montaña
Excellent coffee for everyday drinking. Well expressed acidity and classic El Salvador profile.

Bulleit Bourbon
By far the best bourbon available in BC for the price. $35 for a bottle gets you the highest rye content bourbon on the market. Lots of spice and typical bourbon corn sweetness. Excellent on its own, but also makes a mean Old Fashioned. Better than Knob Creek in my books and pretty close to Woodford Reserve.

The Phonograph

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