Phil+Sebastian Coffee opened yesterday at the Calgary Farmers' Market, taking over and surprisingly massively renovating the former Bit O Beans space.
I went this morning. I cannot say enough positive about the shop. The equipment is absolutely first rate along lines we have not yet seen in Calgary: Mazzer grinders, a La Marzocco espresso machine, and, and this really shocked me, a Clover by-the-cup brewing system. This hit Vancouver last year and I never expected to see one in Calgary- it makes absoutely outstanding coffee a cup at a time using a proprietary system that is akin to a french press in principle (but not at all in practice- you have to see this baby in action). I never expected to see one here because most brewed coffee fans are perfectly happy with vac-pots and the like, and because (mainly because) a Clover costs $11,000. I sampled an Ethiopian Hacha (sp?) and it was great- but I came for a cappuccino. P+H use Hines Public Market (from Vancouver, first in Calgary with this bean) espresso blend for their espresso-based drinks (the Clover brews various varietals from a roaster in Denver, all very close to the roast though, no worries about stale beans here).
After the friendly Phil pulled my shot (and what a mottled beauty, pure espresso porn) into a lovely Italian ceramic cappo mug, I asked if I could pour the mik, and he obliged, no questions asked (I did not get my morning practice at latte art in my kitchen since I was saving my coffee experience for P+H), and I poured a fairly credible rosetta, though not nearly as good as what they were creating behind the counter. But the cappo- it was absolutely perfect, heavenly, a perfect temperature (no scalded milk, no scalding cup), smooth, not a bit of sugar needed- I had a cappo at Starbucks yesterday (hey, I was desperate) and after requesting it "wet" got a cup of ... well let's just say it was not good. P+H have been practicing on that La Marzocco for a while now and it shows.
I can finally say with absolute confidence that we have a pure coffee purveyor that can go toe-to-toe with the best in Vancouver. yes, we still have Bumpy's, which is outstanding, but is still not purely or even mainly about coffee. We have the sublime Java Jamboree in Cochrane, but Cochrane is quite a jog for many of us. Communitea in Canmore- outstanding, but a stretch to say it's a Calgary spot.
Cappo was $3.50 and very, very much worth it. I also picked up two 3/4 lb packs of their espresso blend beans; these are not cheap at $13 for 12 oz but when you consider the cost of shipping from Hines per se (or making the trip to Vancouver) it's not that bad- quality beans are never cheap, but coffee is still almost too-good value. This works out to about $18/lb; a 1-lb bag of, say, Oso Negro from Community Natural Foods in $15.95 and is really not as good a bean as this. It's a fari price for above-fair-trade beans from great roasters.
This is huge for Calgary.