May 2, 2014
Community Bakehouse announced for landmark Calgary location
Corbeaux Bakehouse to open this September under award-winning US chef Keith Luce
Calgary, AB, May 2, 2014… Ending at least part of the speculation about what will take over the landmark Melrose Cafe & Bar space, the Calgary brothers behind Fratello Coffee Roasters and Analog Cafes, Chris and Russ Prefontaine, announced today their newest venture will open this September in the former restaurant and patio space.
More than just a bakery, Corbeaux Bakehouse will offer exceptional breads, world-class pastries and a rotating menu inspired by only the finest ingredients, with everything crafted in-house. The culinary team will be led by award winning and seasoned chef Keith Luce who eagerly accepted the Prefontaine’s offer to move to Canada with his family to be part of Calgary’s culinary community.
Luce’s resume and career accolades are impressive to say the least. He’s been recognized by the prestigious James Beard Foundation as a Rising Star Chef Winner and Best New Restaurant Nominee, Food & Wine magazine has recognized him as Best Chef and he was even appointed to the United States Culinary Diplomatic Corps to name only but a few of his accomplishments. However, it was his approachable charm and excitement about doing something new and noteworthy in Calgary that made Russ and Chris realize instantly they’d found their man.
“Keith’s as seasoned as they come but what really excited us most was his excitement about Calgary and how aligned he was with our vision for this special place,” said Chris Prefontaine.
Leaders in Western Canada’s third wave coffee movement, the Prefontaines have long been supporters of direct trade, working closely with coffee farmers to know and understand where their product comes from.
Now they plan to take what they’ve learned and loved about coffee, and with Luce and his team’s help, apply that to bread and all the great things that go along with it. Small-production ancient grains. Local ingredients. A fierce emphasis on freshness. And knowing who makes your bread and food. Knowing their name, their story and why they believe in what they do.
“It’s an Old World approach, but with a fresh new energy,” said Luce. “The Corbeaux experience will begin with respect for ingredients and technique, but ultimately it’s about going back to the basics and creating a community bakehouse that brings people together in the heart of the City,” he said.
Additional details on the team and offering will be shared over the coming months.
About Corbeaux Bakehouse:
Opening in September 2014, the completely redesigned space will be a gathering spot for Calgary’s bread-loving community. A welcoming place to fuel up in the mornings. An opportunity to reconnect at lunch. And a warm place to linger with friends over a meal and a glass of wine on the way home. Stay connected at www.corbeaux.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/corbeauxbakehouse or on Twitter and Instagram @corbeauxbakehouse.
We recently returned from a trip to Nicaragua where I got to meet some new producers and taste some amazing coffee from them and some of the producers that we have been working with for years. This really seems like a great year for quality from Nicaragua. One of the major differences between this trip and previous trips to Nicaragua was the drying techniques that are now popping up around the country. We saw multiple producers using raised African beds and parabolic dryers to dry their product. The goal was to slow the drying process down to increase quality and consistency.
This year we are excited to announce that we have had the opportunity to work with some new people in Bolivia. The company we are working with is Agritrade, they work with around 500 different farmers to collect coffee from all over Bolivia and bring it to their wet mill in Caranavi in cherry form. The coffee makes the trek from up to 4 hours away down the mountains to Caranavi every evening by taxi. Agritrade pays top dollar for only the finest coffee coming from the farms and also pays for the transport by taxi so that there are no additional expenses incurred by the farmers. Once at the Wet Mill it is then sorted by hand to insure only the best cherries get through, this is on top of the meticulous sorting that the farmers have done before it is ever put in the taxi.
One of the most interesting things about this wet mill is how many options they have to process the coffee, they have 6 fermentation tanks, 3 mechanical driers, a concrete patio, African raised beds and Covered African raised beds. This helps ensure that each coffee is processed exactly the best way to bring out the flavours that their customers request.
After it is processed and dried it is stored in Caranavi in a temperature controlled room for 2 month before being shipped to the dry mill at El Alto. The dry mill is a mostly typical dry mill, they remove the parchment then run the coffee through density shakers and finally it is hand sorted to make sure no damaged beans get through, the only real difference between this dry mill and most other specialty dry mills is the black light sorting it goes through. As it is being hand sorted it passes through these black light tents where imperfections that are previously invisible to the eye are shown as little white dots, though not a defect in the coffee this coffee is removed, what this does in increase the clarity of the cup, making the flavours of each particular coffee pop out more and become more exciting.
At every step of the process the coffee is cupped to insure that the product is still what was agreed upon at time of purchase.
One of the biggest challenges in finding good Bolivian coffee is the small size of the farms, with most farms being 3 to 8 hectares, it becomes difficult to find quality coffee in the quantity we need by just dealing with individual farms. This is where Agritrade comes in, with the ability to work with over 500 farms and find the best coffee from all of those and then pass on this quality to us it makes it significantly easier.
For instance this year we will be buying from 5 different farms that Agritrade works with and has a good standing relationship with already, so instead of hunting down these farms from all over Bolivia we now have it much easier because of Agritrade. We are looking forward to working with Agritrade in the coming years; it is my hope that next trip down to Bolivia the farms that we are buying from this year will continue to be as good or better so that we can develop more of a relationship with the farmer. If we can find this kind of consistency we can then start playing with processing types to create the best and most interesting coffee for our customers. We believe they have already found the best Bolivia has to offer and through their continuous improvements in milling and experimenting we expect it to get even better!
Written by David Schindel, Lead Coffee Roaster, Fratello Coffee.
Continual improvement is something every farmer we work with strives for but few have the level of commitment that Eleane Mierisch does. This is Fratello Coffee’s 5th year working with the Miersch family and have written about them a lot. We wanted to focus on Eleane in this post as she is a big reason for the consistent quality coffee coming from their farms.
Eleane is the second oldest child of Erwin Mierisch Sr. who was one of the early leaders in specialty coffee in Nicaragua. Eleane gave up a nursing career to take care of her ailing mother, that was over 6 years ago and though her mother passed she has stayed to help with the family business.
Eleane oversees the family farms in Nicaragua but her real passion is the dry mill in Matagalpa. She told us that “We are still quite a small dry mill so the focus has to be on quality.” And that focus on quality really shines through in the cup.
Her favorite job in the dry mill is the quality control, and to maintain that she repeatedly cups the lots that are processed there. The other highlights of her job include experimenting with the multiple different drying techniques and most importantly maintaining and building the team of people that work at the dry mill. Her goal is that everyone enjoys working there and finds it rewarding, because if the workers are enjoying their jobs it is much easier to keep the high qualities of products coming out that her customers have come to expect.
One of the ways she is improving is by putting up African Raised beds as an alternative way to dry the coffee, before this the coffee was dried on a concrete patio. The Raised bed is a drying style that many believe increase the pleasant acidities in coffee. Making them stand out even more from the majority of coffee coming from Nicaragua.
The biggest way that she is improving is by communicating with her clients and finding out what types of coffees and processing methods they prefer what drying method they are most interested in. In this way she is learning what other methods her clients have seen from other countries on how to process so she can not only tailor the best coffee to each of her clients, but it also gives her more ideas on how to experiment and make the coffee better for everyone.
In February of 2012 we were first introduced with Mauricio Salaverria of Divisadero Café Farms when touring El Salvador. We were impressed with what we saw at his farms Finca VilllaGalicia and Finca Himalaya, both in the Concepcion de Ataco which is in the Ahuachapán region in Western El Salvador. What impressed us the most was the care we saw in all steps of production. From his nursery, to his drying practices, the health of his farm and care of their harvesting. Its wasn’t until this past visit in February 2013 though that we made the important decision to work with Mauricio and bring his coffee into Calgary, Canada. We are thrilled to also say that this year, Mauricio won 2nd place in the El Salvador Cup of Excellence competition! It is no wonder he was a top winning coffee when you look at how they harvest only the perfectly ripened cherries.
The lot we chose was also originally selected to be entered into the Cup of Excellence Competition; however Mauricio was anxious to begin working with Fratello Coffee as well and agreed that this could come to Calgary instead. This was our top choice out of 30 unique lots we cupped.
The honey processed coffee at VillaGalicia is world class! The mucilage left on the beans made moving the coffee on the African beds very difficult as it was thick like toffee! This requires continual movement of that coffee, every 30 minutes, day and night for the first few days during the drying process. Mauricio is also one of the few producers we have come across who is already aware of the great importance of drying his coffee properly. He knows, through working with his Australian roasters, that in order to extend the quality of his green bean freshness, that proper slow drying is required.
History of Finca VillaGalicia
More than a century and a quarter ago Don Manuel Ariz left Galicia, Spain and arrived in concepcion de Ataco, Ahuachapán to a truly magical area that was known by the locals as the site of “elevated springs”. In that time period coffee planting was beginning to take hold so Señor Ariz smartly proceeded to invest in small plots of land nearby, beginning with 13.5 flat, clay-lime soil hectares of what today is VillaGalicia farm, hence the name.
Producer Mauricio (Moe) Salaverria continues the family tradition of specialty coffees which includes 6 small farms ranging in altitude from 1000 to 1600 mts and investing in a ecological Micro Mill as part of Divisadero Café Farms . The coffee is treated separately by tablones and dryed slowly in African beds after being depulped with stored rain water. The picking/harvesting is very selective to assure quality year after year.
The farm has kept its Bourbon varietal yet we have added Pacamara plantings since VillaGalicia is located at a perfect altitude with no wind factor, where the terroir and shrubs are protected with a heavy canopy of shade, specially this days of difficult weather. They have dedicated all their efforts in being an ecologically minded grower with progressive employment for their workers including higher wages. This in part by the added value our coffee gets with a proven and consistent quality.
We are thrilled that Mauricio’s Finca VillaGalicia will be available through Fratello Coffee Roasters and that we are the first to bring this coffee into Canada. We are hopeful that this could be a long lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.