We have an incredible team at Analog, with each person sharing different passions and having unique stories. Meet Sam Tolhurst, an Aussie living in Canada and is one of our great barista’s at Analog. Read our interview below on his thoughts towards Canada, coffee and Calgary!
My wife & I have called Calgary home for almost 3 & a half years. We moved here from Cronulla, a happening sunny beachside suburb just south of Sydney in March of 2012.
Weather, Wildlife & Landscape. I come from the Land Downunder, the sunburnt Land of Oz. When we first arrived I didn’t believe that -40 was even on the thermometer let alone reaching it but it happens eventually here every year, but with a thankful heart I look forward to Chinooks. Snow is still a novelty to me, having to go out & sweep the snow off my car & start it earlier than when I need it just so it warms up. From where I am from in Oz this couldn’t be further from normal. The winters can be long here & the beautiful summers never long enough. Crazy weather & all four seasons in a day is one thing I have come to expect from Calgary weather patterns – oh it says rain is forecast, give it 5 minutes it’ll change.
I do never tire of being one of those tourists who will pull off the road to snap a photo of a bear, moose, elk, deer, mountain goat, longhorn sheep, wolves, cougars, coyotes or even a prairie dog or ground squirrel. Although I do admit the difference in this fascination is the same for those who come to Oz & wonder at our kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, koala bears, emus, platypus, & of course our sharks, snakes, crocodiles & drop bears.The Great North is quite a sparse & varied country with most of the population living towards the border with the USA, with mountains, prairies, desert, rock shields & snow for as far as the eye can see but this diversity is a similarity not a difference to Australia with the majority of our population living closer to the coast & on the Eastern side, we have beaches, mountains & valleys, deserts & yes a few small snow fields. I am always in awe of the Rocky Mountains which are spectacularly magnificent my heart does belong to the ocean.
I have been excited to see Calgary grow over the past few years in its finding a passion for all things boutique. Whether that be fashion, coffee, food & wine. All of these areas have very much been huge growth areas in Calgary with a now booming number of ‘foodie’ places to try out on any budget. You can experience exceptional specialty coffee from many regions from around the globe prepared like a science project right here in front of you at many a cafe in Calgary. You can taste the farm freshness with many fine local eateries doing their best to source locally & know the hands & practices of those who have prepared it for them. Our feel like you are in a fashion mecca by having access to some wildly talented local designers who have come to call Calgary home.
My favourite thing about working at Analog is the community. It is actually the best & my most favourite thing about the coffee industry is community. Good food & great coffee will always bring people together. I love being a part of this community seeing & hearing the joys of people loving time spent together. Analog has an incredible team that I love working with & a vast number of brilliant regulars. We love having that quick couple of minutes conversation to hear about the daily happenings in their lives.
We are very excited to bring you some of the great El Salvador coffee’s that will be arriving in July, we recently visited 3 producers in El Salvador, two that we have worked with before, Mauricio Salaverria and the Dumont family, and one producer that will be brand new to Fratello, Café Pacas. Though this is new to Fratello this is by no means a new producer as the Pacas family has been cultivating coffee for over 150 years. If the name sounds familiar there is a good reason for it, they were the ones to discover the Pacas varietal, a natural mutation of the bourbon. Known for it’s slightly larger bean and tastes similar but generally brighter than bourbon it is a fantastic coffee. This was also one of the varietals that were combined to make the Pacamara varietal, along with the Maragogype. And that brings us back to what we have coming this year, we are very excited to offer 2 Pacamara’s this coming year, one a fully washed 5 Bag lot from Malacara B and one a 3 bag Fully natural lot from Finca Himalaya. Although both are fantastic lots we are particularly excited for the Full Natural lot.
While we were visiting Mauricio’s drying patios we came across a fully natural coffee (pictured below) that smelled liked dried blueberries, as luck would have it this coffee had just finished drying and both Mauricio and I were very excited to try it. Mauricio took a small plastic bag of it, had it processed and roasted so we could try it. Although it was a blind cupping there was no mistaking this coffee on the table, as soon as it was ground it filled the room with the fragrance of blueberry candy, and that delicious fragrance carried right through to the taste, even beside other very good natural coffee’s this one stood out with the sweet caramel and blueberry taste a full rich body and a slight tangy tartness of blackberries on the aftertaste. This was just an experiment of Mauricio’s which is why it is such a small lot but we are thrilled to be the exclusive roaster of this coffee.
Watch for this coffee in Mid-July I am sure it will not last long!
We also have another rather interesting pair of coffee’s that will be coming from Finca Joaquim of the Pacas family , We have a Red bourbon from there which by itself is great but we are also getting the Peaberry selection of the very same coffee!
A Peaberry is a slightly mutated bean, it is still a Red Bourbon but instead of having two beans growing in a cherry the Peaberry is a just a single bean in the cherry. This allows it to soak up all the deliciousness of the cherry giving it a generally sweeter taste with more intense characteristics. This is another very small lot (2-3 Bags) but if you get the chance we would definitely recommend trying the Red Bourbon alongside the Peaberry to really experience how even the smallest change can vastly affect the taste.
Fratello has a brand new coffee in the works and you’re about to get the inside scoop. The Nicaraguan Java, sourced by Fratello’s head roaster David Schindel, is on its way to being in a coffee cup near you! I sat down with David to learn a bit more about his recent trip to Nicaragua and how this coffee travelled from farm to Fratello.
Kwin Dean: Hey David, sounds like your recent trip to Nicaragua was pretty productive! How many farms did you visit while you were there?
David Schindel: I visited 5 farms total on my trip to Nicaragua; the Mama Mina farm, the Los Placeres farm, two other smaller farms and finally the Limoncillo farm, where I found the Nicaraguan Java, or Nica Java for short. Finca Limoncillo was probably one of the most beautiful places that I visited on my entire trip, as you can probably tell from the pictures.
KD: What stood out to you about this particular farm?
DS: The huge waterfall right in the middle! And the large size of the farm…it’s 171 manzanas; or close to 300 acres. The Nica Java lot made up only a few acres of the entire farm.
KD: Tell me a little bit about the background of Finca Limoncillo and Fratello’s relationship with the farmers.
DS: This farm is owned by the Mierisch family, whom we’ve been working with for 6 or 7 years now. They also own the Mama Mina and Los Placeres farms that we’ve gotten some really nice coffees from in the past. The Mierisch family is pretty well established in the coffee community. They have 9 farms, with some in Honduras as well. Their website, fincasmierisch.com, is a really good source of information on each farm and can give people a broader idea the coffees that are grown there and the teams that work there.
KD: What are the working conditions like at Finca Limoncillo?
DS: In comparison to the quality of life that most Nicaraguans lead, I’d say the working conditions there are definitely above average. The farm workers live in the area and have access to school facilities and an on-site medical care office year round, even though the harvest is seasonal; usually December to February.
KD: How are the coffees picked and milled at Finca Limoncillo?
DS: The coffee cherries are hand-picked, then milled and dried about one hour from the farm. This is also where the cupping lab is.
The Mierisch family has adopted a new parabolic drying chamber which is in its first year of use at the mill. Essentially it consists of African raised beds that are stacked on top of each other in a green- house-like environment that controls humidity as the beans dry. The beans start at the top of the stack and are lowered down level by level as they dry. This allows for a slower drying time, which helps to close up the cell walls of the bean more consistently and leads to a harder bean that is better for roasting.
Once dried, the beans are sorted by density, then sorted again by hand to ensure that only the best beans make the cut.
KD: You ended up choosing two different coffees from this farm to import to Fratello. How did you go about choosing these coffees?
DS: I did an extensive cupping over the course of two days. I tasted about 40 coffees each day for a total of close to 80 different coffees. This farm is pretty large with around 3 full containers, or about 900 sacks, produced each year. This means that there is a wide variety of coffees to try in the cuppings.
In the end I chose two coffees: the Nica Java natural and the Nica Java pulp natural. This is the exact same coffee bean, just processed in two different ways. In this case, Java simply refers to the varietal of the bean. It is characterized by being a little bit more elongated and oblong-shaped than some other varietals.
KD: What is the difference between a coffee that is naturally processed and a coffee that is processed using the pulp natural method?
DS: A naturally processed coffee means that the coffee is dried with the coffee cherry still on the bean. This type of processing generally gives the coffee more fruity flavours.
A pulp natural is dried with the mucilage or pulp still on the bean, but NOT the full coffee cherry. So this type of processing supplies a bit less fruit flavour to the coffee than the natural processing does.
KD: What sort of tasting notes made you choose these coffees?
The natural had a fruity berry note. I could taste a bit of strawberry and blackberry. It was much heavier on the palette.
The pulp natural had notes of lemon and black tea, a citrus acidity and a nice natural sweetness.
In general, I was looking for a coffee that had a little something different, or a unique-ness about it. A lot of coffees have chocolate or nut flavours and they aren’t necessarily bad coffees; they’re just plain. At Fratello, we want a coffee with personality.
KD: What would be considered a bad tasting note, or something that would cause you to low-score a coffee?
DS: These could be things like: carbon flavours, which might indicate an issue with the roasting; metallic flavours, which might indicate a hard bean defect, or simply just a bland, uninteresting taste on the palate.
KD: Once you chose these two coffees and had the lots shipped to the Fratello roastery, how did you go about developing the profile of the coffees?
DS: The idea was to use roasting techniques to try to re-create those amazing flavours that I had tasted at the cuppings in Nicaragua. I’m working with the pulp natural right now. So far I’ve tried about ten different profile roasts and I think I need about one or two more just to refine the final profile.
I started by trying to highlight the acidity. To do this, I tried speeding up the first crack stage with higher temperatures at the beginning of the roast. I was still missing the lemony-ness, so I continued to play with the development times and bean colour. Eventually I made a happy mistake…I was trying for a 9 minute crack time; however the roaster was cold since it was the first roast of the day. I ended up with a crack time of just over 10 minutes, so I tried the same development time afterward and ended up finding the lemony notes I had been looking for! Now it’s just a matter of lightening up the roast a bit without losing those flavour characteristics.
KD: What flavours are you aiming for in the final cup?
DS: I’m looking to fine-tune the profile to a smooth lemon tea flavour with lots of brightness.
KD: What is the expected release date of the Nicaraguan Java?
DS: This coffee should be profiled and ready for distribution by the beginning of next week, so around September 22, 2014.
KD: How do you think this coffee ranks among our other Fratello coffees?
DS: Personally, I’d say it ranks among our top two coffees right now, along with the Costa Rican Gamboa Pastora. When I was cupping in Nicaragua, I scored these coffees around an 87 out of 100, which is pretty high.
KD: How long can we expect these coffees to be available?
DS: In terms of green beans, we brought back 2 sacks of the natural and 16 sacks of the pulp natural. This translates to just under 1200 2 pound bags of roasted coffee, so I’d say this will last us about 3 or 4 months. Hopefully less if everyone likes it as much as I think they will!
Well, there you have it! The Nicaraguan Java should be available for purchase any day now. Stop by our roastery location or either of our Analog cafes in the next couple of weeks to give this unique coffee a try…it may not last long! Happy drinking!
– Kwin Dean
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.