Avenue Magazine's Review on Analog Coffee 17th Ave.
Longtime local coffee roaster, Fratello, first expanded from roasting beans to serving them at its Analog Coffee stand in the Calgary Farmers’ Market in 2011. Now, the Fratello brothers, Russ and Chris, have added a second location to their roster on the corner of 17th Avenue S.W. and 7th Street S.W.
17th Avenue welcomes a new café where people can get their Fratello coffee fix and other sweet and savoury treats.
Lattes at Analog are made with locally roasted Fratello beans.
Analog Coffee sits on the corner of 17th Avenue and 7th Street S.W.
If you can’t quite place the location, perhaps you’ll remember what it was before: A Buy Rite store. After decades of being a convenience store, the space has undergone an extensive facelift. The interior, which seats approximately 30 people, is bright and clean. White walls reflect any the sun shining in through the cafe’s front floor-to-ceiling windows, making the baristas’ work station the focal point of the room. Although limited, the comfortable booth seating is highlighted by two rows of black pendant lamps and an accent wall with an eclectic array of artwork. Last, but not least, Analog pays homage to its location’s predecessor, with the original “Buy Rite Store” lettering mounted proudly on the east wall.
Now, for the drinks. Honestly, if you’re really in a rush or looking for a non-fat triple venti caramel mocha whatever, than Analog Coffee probably isn’t for you. Like anything of quality in this world, the Fratello brothers believe that a good cup of coffee takes time. Here, their team of baristas operate The Slayer — a top-of-the-line espresso machine created by Fratello (now used in many top cafés all over the world) — to create espresso-based beverages, complete with latte art of course, and a pour-over system for drip coffee.
Aside from the house espresso called The Godfather, the small batch coffee roasts rotate regularly, and most beans are direct trade and single estate.
Sandwiches from the Sidewalk Citizen Bakery (like this Copa ham sandwich) are delivered to Analog fresh daily.
It’s rare for me to say an establishment makes none of its food offerings in-house and mean it as a good thing, but I’m happy to report that all sandwiches, savoury and sweet baking are delivered fresh daily by the Sidewalk Citizen Bakery so you can be assured of the highest quality.
Grab a scone or biscuit to go with your morning coffee before work. If you’re popping by closer to the lunch hour, try one of Sidewalk Citizen’s artisan baguette sandwiches. Although the baguettes change throughout the week, the roasted turkey with roast fennel, arugula and curry mayo or the Copa ham sandwich with tomato jam, Swiss cheese and pickled cabbage are two of the possibilities that your tastebuds may stumble across.
Analog is also open in the evenings, making it an ideal spot for a casual date, to get some work done (yes, there is free wifi), or to just sit up at the counter by the window to people watch on the always-buzzing 17th Avenue.
Calgary Herald's Review of Analog Coffee 17th Ave.
You know those idyllic coffee shops you see in advertisements for really expensive jewelry or high-tone perfume? The kind of place where tall windows spill light across hardwood floors onto shiny espresso machines, and where hip customers lean into each other, deep in conversation? Thats the new Analog Coffee (740 17 Ave. S.W.) in a nutshell.
Stepping out of 17th Avenue traffic through the corner door of the former Buy Rite grocery store is like crossing into a slightly amplified — and caffeinated — world. The December light glows golden at midday and the air is filled with the intoxicating aroma of espresso. Buy Rite lives on in its old metal sign letters hung over the coffee bar (Free Delivery is there too) but otherwise the space is fully updated. Herringbone hardwood covers the floors while those light-spilling windows are sealed against winter’s blast. Long black banquettes line the walls and a handful of tables fill the small room.
A long bar hosts a Fratello Slayer espresso machine — one of the best on the market — and a pour-over section for those wanting a longer coffee. For the fly-by crowd on the run, there will soon be larger coffee carafes at the ready for take-out. And for those feeling a bit peckish, there’s fresh baking from La Boulangerie and Sidewalk Citizen. That includes some of Sidewalk’s creative sandwiches built by talented chef Colin Metcalfe.
Analog Coffee is the second shop created by Chris and Russ Prefontaine, the brothers behind Fratello Coffee Roasters. Their first Analog opened in the new Calgary Farmers Market last year and always seems to have a lineup. Now the brothers have taken their concept uptown.
So what is their concept? Good coffee of course, using responsibly grown, direct trade beans (sourced directly from the growers) and a combination of technology (the Slayer) and handmade (pour-over). Combine that with service by baristas who know their product and you get a good cup of coffee.
Then there’s the Analog name, referring to their desire to hand-craft every cup of coffee and serve foods that are equally hand-crafted. Look along the back wall of Analog, under the Buy Rite sign, and you’ll see a long row of LPs, records collected from numerous sources around town. Although Analogs soundtrack is now distinctly digital, they plan to install a turntable and crank out old analog tunes from the disks. Perhaps that will make the coffee even tastier and the light just a little more golden.
John Gilchrist’s new Eat Canada restaurant app is now available at the App Store. He can be reached at or 403-235-7532.
Calgary is Awesome! Great Coffee Makes for a Great City
It’s like a chicken or the egg thing; what came first – the great coffee house or the great city? At Fratello we’re obviously biased, but we believe that you have to have great coffee houses to make a great city. And just look around, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Vancouver and Seattle – they all have remarkable cafes. Take it a step further. How many movie sets or TV shows profile coffee shops? Tons of them, and there is a reason for that. Because great coffee houses bring out the very best in us. They allow us to appreciate the good things in life; things that often get missed in the hurly burly of our daily existence.
In a great coffee house we socialize, we think, and we somehow become instantly gracious and appreciative. Perhaps it’s the magic aroma of magnificently roasted coffee, or the professional skills of your barista, but somehow a good coffee shop ‘brings you inside’ and gives you as much value from the experience of the place as from the taste of the product.
At Fratello we understand coffee because it has – literally – been our passion for over a quarter century! Hundreds of thousands of people have tasted our coffee without ever knowing it! With the opening of the Fratello Analog Café in the Calgary Farmer’s market in early 2011 we took the plunge into retail, and we’re delighted we did. We continue to learn new experiences each month which empowers us with new knowledge to better train/coach our wholesale clients. Our brand has become more recognized in this city as the leading quality coffee roaster and has enabled us to have a "voice" in the street (away from business to business).
With the upcoming fall 2012 opening of our flagship store on 17th Ave and 7th Street we’ll be in the heart of the action, helping to sustain the pulse of that vibrant part of town. Again, great café help build great cities.
What makes a great cup of coffee? Simply put, pride! Pride in how we source our product, by knowing our producers and knowing our regions, and not being afraid to always make the call that quality is more important than quantity. Attention to perfection then continues back here in Calgary, where we use our many years of roasting/training experience. Lastly, the magic plays out in our cafes, Analog Coffee, where our amazing staff – who all understand and live the Fratello philosophy - bring you the perfect cup of coffee every time you order it.
Coffee should be all about the people. The people who produce it, the people who roast/find it, the people who serve it and most importantly at Analog Coffee, the people who come in to enjoy it. And, great people make a great city!