Having spent many years in Edmonton, I was spoiled by spectacular espresso joints like Leva , Transcend, and Da Capo. Even as a non coffee drinker, these places enabled me to enjoy what ever present joe drinkers all around me actively endorse. You can then, sympathize with my musings when the trendy Elysian caught my eye in Vancouver and matched my Alma mater’s cafes. Finally, a pretentious hipster roost to call home in my new city. You can imagine my pleasant surprise then when 49th Parallel opened up on Main Street. Not only did they serve their delicious cappuccinos in rad teal cups, you could enjoy them on a rustic, abnormally large street side patio.
Now, Vancouver’s immaculate cafe scene seems miles away as my relocation to Calgary has officially come into effect. And thus was born Cappuccino Quest: It’s about more than just good espresso.
Calgary, as it’s turning out, has many pleasant surprises. In my new hood of Renfrew I am bikeably close to many quaint neighbourhoods such as Kensigton, Inglewood, and Eau Claire. Unsurprisingly then, these areas also have many an ambient cafe. Unfortunately, the perfect cappuccino quest has not yet been attained here.
On our first day in Calgary we headed to Kensington and 10th street to find a satisfying java fix. We first tried out The House where we were served by a lovely barista who fortunately recommended three different coffee places because the one he made us wasn’t …. you know. We traipsed a few doors down to The Roasterie which looked like a hip happening place surrounded by punk rockers and old hippies. I liked their haphazardly displayed coffee bean sacs and their Dali mural on their menu. That was about it.
The following weekend we tried barista number one’s recommendation and went to Caffe Beano on 17th ave. This place was also very well populated and had a well-postered community bulletin board, which I read. The cappuccino here was good, if you like bitter cappuccinos, which I do not. But I may go back there if I need to know what community events are on. To the lady who kept her care idling while she spent her time getting coffee- people and people’s babies on patios don’t like sitting in exhaust.
At the top of everyone’s list, including Yelp and Urban Spoon was Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters. We therefore trekked down Edmonton trail, along the Bow River trail, and up 26th street to discover that down town Calgary is certainly in a valley. Upon our sweaty arrival we noticed a bumpin’ crowd of the yuppie d.i.n.k. persuasion. The crowds turned out to be an indication of good cappuccino! Again, if you like it a bit bitter, which I don’t. This is why I usually only drink, gasp, chai lattes.
Inglewood’s Gravity Espresso and Wine Bar is chill and their cappuccino is good-ish. I’ll be checking it out later for it’s evening libation menu.
On a most recent weekend excursion through newly tarred down town Calgary, and past the gentrified, but nicely urban planned, east village, we deviously stumbled upon Village Ice Cream which smells fabulous and I’m sure is great but we didn’t stay because we were looking for coffee. Not too far from there was Caffe Rosso, a fabulously modern place with long reclaimed wood tables and National Geographics to read. Their cappuccino was good! And it wasn’t bitter! Slightly tepid but what do I know about coffee, nothing!