Somehow, word gets out that I’m kind of a coffee guy – and I get asked what my favourite coffee is, and also get asked about coffee brewing.
For the freshest roasted beans, I would recommend Transcend. Their main shop is on the southside, a block south of Argyll Road, just east of 99 Street. They also have a location next to the Garneau Theatre on 109 Street – parking can be tricky there sometimes. On 109 Street and 102nd Ave, Mother’s Market, where Mother’s Music used to be, it’s open Friday, Saturday & Sunday.
While the Transcend beans may be the freshest, I’ve found that Sunterra carries 49th Parallel’s coffee, and it is very fresh (just double check the roast date on the bag). Their Epic Espresso is my current favourite – and I really like the fact that it comes in 454g bags, instead of the 340g bags sold by Transcend. (Those 340g bags are a pet peeve, as they don’t last me a full week – whereas the 1lb. bags do.)
At 3 Banana’s in Churchill Square, you can get Intelligentsia Black Cat Espresso – bought a bag the other day for $22 for a 454g bag. Not quite as fresh roasted as the other two unless you catch them on the right day.
When brewing coffee, I use my espresso machine. It’s awesome – and I can have an Americano in less than a minute. A latte I can make in about 90 seconds
If the machine has been off for a while, or I’m camping or something, I use an Aeropress to make coffee. These are sold at Transcend (and other places around the city I’m sure). These make very good coffee! I just have to grind my coffee a little coarser than what I use in my espresso machine.
Regarding grinding beans – this is the best way to get the most from your coffee beans. Don’t buy pre-ground coffee. The consensus on sites like coffegeek.com and home-barista.com, is that the grinder is the most important piece of hardware when making coffee. Look for a burr grinder, not a blade – there are some decent ones available, but they can get pricey. Check out the coffeegeek and home-barista forums for recommendations. The forums also get into the different brewing methods – it’s not all about espresso
My coffee set-up is here – yes, it’s probably excessive to many, but it’s been an investment that has served (and still serves) me well for about 7 years so far!