Analog Named Best Coffee Shop 2019

Coffee isn’t just coffee anymore. Now, it’s all about the brand, the merchandise, the location, the story, but it has always been, and always will be, about the taste. Lucky for you, Analog checks off all of these boxes. Coffee has run in the Prefontaine family since 1974, when the father Cam first started a wholesale coffee company out of his home. His three sons grew up helping him with sales and watching him roast his very own coffee. The parents produced the coffee and the sons started selling all the commercial coffee equipment, making them the whole package to share their love of coffee with the world. Eventually after many years in the industry, the family decided that it was finally time to open their own shop.

With seven current locations in Calgary and one soon to be available in the University District, Analog Coffee first started out in the Calgary Farmers’ Market in 2011. As business boomed almost immediately, the company bought their dream location that we all know and love today on 17th Avenue. As the coffee’s popularity grew and more and more people fell in love with the taste, the business couldn’t help but to expand their reach and provide more Calgarians with their delicious brews. Learn more about the history of the company and see which trendy Analog Coffee location is closest to you.

To see the original article, and other winners check out The Best of Calgary website.

Photo captured by Neil Zeller

Artisan coffee goes to suburbs as Analog Coffee opens in Westman Village

Analog Coffee’s sixth storefront in Calgary will feature an in-house bakery, a liquor license and top-of-the-line equipment

CALGARY (Feb. 13, 2019) – Coffee purveyors in south Calgary can rejoice as on Monday, Feb. 18, Analog Coffee (Analog) officially opens its doors at Westman Village. This is the sixth location for the Calgary-based coffee roaster. This storefront is unique to other Analog locations as it will be home to its first in-house bakery, top-of-the-line equipment - which will be the first-of-its-kind in Western Canada - and a liquor license so Westman Village residents and neighbours can enjoy an after work or weekend drink in Analog’s hip, trendy café.

This new location will harmonize downtown-city vibes with the comforts of the suburbs, while providing craft coffee that is anything but ordinary. It joins the likes of other more urban retailers such as Diner Deluxe, 5 Vines Wine, Craft Beer and Spirits and Chopped Leaf as part of the local, gourmet offerings at Westman Village, Jayman BUILT’s one-of-a-kind lakeside community in Mahogany.

Russ Prefontaine, president and co-owner, The Fratello Group, is passionate about providing coffee connoisseurs in the south with coffee as fuel for a busy day, or an escape from it.

“Being a native Calgarian myself, my team takes great pride in providing a variety of communities a little sense of home and a place to come together creating a fulsome experience for our customers,” says Prefontaine. “This new café is taking us in a direction where we can do more in-house, which enables us to control the quality of products we are executing. We are driven by the need to create an epic, unmatched experience for our customers and this new model of Analog allows us to do just that.”

This location will feature a unique food program that includes soups, salads, cheese boards and other treats -  which is new to Analog. The liquor license will enable it to offer a small selection of wine by the glass and local craft beer. However, coffee is still a priority at this location as it will have the highest tech coffee gear in Western Canada: The Slayer Steam Espresso Machine and The Mythos 2 Gravimetric Grinders and Marcos SP9 single-serve brewers.

The vision behind Westman Village is underpinned by the values of Jayman’s founder, Al Westman, weaving convenience, diversity and accessibility into an all-inclusive community. Westman Village is the most recent undertaking by industry-leading, Calgary-based home builder, Jayman BUILT. The community is the first of its kind in Calgary, with buying and leasing options for residents of all ages, including an active adult living, retirement living and starter to estate component. Retail and commercial partners are set to open from early 2019 onward.

“We want Westman Village to be a hub for our residents. We have strategically chosen boutique retailers, like Analog, to bring our residents unique and local offerings,” says Jay Westman, chairman and CEO, Jayman BUILT. “With the opening of Analog, we are bringing an urban, artisan experience to our residents right outside their front door.”

For more information on Westman Village and its amenities and service offerings, please visit http://westmanvillage.com/

-30-

About Jayman BUILT

For 38 years, Jayman BUILT has continually redefined the way new homes are built, bought and, most importantly, lived in. Participating in community developments in Calgary, Airdrie, Cochrane, Edmonton and Sherwood Park, Jayman BUILT is the largest homebuilder in Alberta. For more information, visit www.jayman.com

About Westman Village

Westman Village embodies the harmonization of the values of Jayman's Founder, Al Westman, by thoughtfully weaving convenience, diversity and accessibility into an all-inclusive suburban community concept.

About Analog Coffee

Analog Coffee is part of the Fratello Group who have been roasting coffee in Calgary since 1985, and owned by local brother’s Russ and Chris Prefontaine. Analog is well known on the local Calgary coffee scene, focusing on single estate, direct trade coffees that are acquired from grower partners around the world.

 

Media inquiries

Lisa Libin

Brookline Public Relations

403-538-5641 ext. 104

Colombia Las Rosas Coffee Coop

Las Rosas Women's Cooperative

Recently, our President Russ Prefontaine had the opportunity to visit La Plata, located in Huila Colombia. He went to visit Las Rosas (formerly Las Marias) the women’s cooperative that we have been working with for some time.

Las Rosas was founded in September 2010 by women in the region, overwhelmed by the lack of credit available to them to use as working capital for their farms. This lack of critical credit combined with traditional household roles and duties, was weakening their families. So, they sought to change it

The major objectives are:

  1. Gender equality and the importance of an inclusive family
  2. Revolving credit to finance their farms
  3. Economic education
  4. Overall cup quality and farming processes
  5. Overall infrastructure improvements to their homes and coffee process equipment.

Las Rosas Family Training MeetingFratello started working with this cooperative in 2014. We are the majority supporter in this project. We have committed to continue working with them and are working on further incentives to improve cup quality and reward the top producers.

While there, Russ joined a family training day in the village of Monserrate located in La Plata. This lesson focused on the value and roles of women and the importance of gender equality. 40 members of Las Rosas were involved and that was inclusive of their entire family. At the end, they shared stories of how this program has literally changed their lives and transformed their village.

Nelly, the president of this cooperative just received her high school diploma at the age of 50 through this program!

Today, Fratello and Analog Coffee purchase 30% of their total production, however could reach 50% by the end of this year.

We take great pride and joy in knowing that we are making strategic decisions like this to improve the areas we are working in.

Our goal is to do a similar program in Brazil, starting in 2019.

At the forefront of bringing the café culture to Calgary

Russ Prefontaine of the Fratello Group talks about why quality, skill and hospitality are at the core of his family's coffee business

Calgary’s Business: How and when did Fratello start?

Prefontaine: Our family’s history in coffee dates back to 1974, when our dad, Cam Prefontaine, first started a wholesale coffee company, which was operated out of our garage and basement. Our parents involved all three of us brothers (Russ, Chris and Jason) in the family business from the start, earning our allowance by helping dad service old coffee brewers.

In 1985, our dad started roasting his own coffee. He was passionate from the start, experimenting and learning how to source and roast better coffee, as well as helping his wholesale customers make better coffee.

He was one of the first coffee professionals in Calgary to focus on higher-quality beans, and became a pioneer in what we now know as the modern café culture in Calgary.

This planted the seeds that would eventually grow into a family of brands known for their focus on premium quality: Fratello Coffee Roasters, Corbeaux Bakery and Analog Coffee itself. These companies, and their predecessors, played a huge part in bringing café culture to life in Calgary and Western Canada.

All three of us brothers started selling commercial espresso machines in 1991, helping local entrepreneurs start their own shops. We supplied all the equipment and training, and our parents’ company supplied the coffee. We bought the roasting company from our parents in 1997 and changed the name to Fratello Coffee (fratello means brother in Italian).

Over the years, we’ve never stopped learning, expanding our knowledge of coffee, working to keep up with the rapidly-changing trends in the industry. We started travelling to the countries and farms where our coffee was grown in search of the best coffee, and to meet the farmers and families who produced the raw product.

We learned from Dad’s increasingly obsessive attention to detail, not just in the way he focused on roasting great coffee but in how he presented it. For Dad, hospitality and community became critically important. He was making the argument – with every new cup poured — that coffee could be something special. Everything had to be as good as possible. Or why bother doing it at all?

This mindset would play a key part in how we eventually built the Analog business. Over the years, we have led, pioneered and challenged a vast variety of innovative coffee and coffee-related businesses, which include the creation of Slayer Espresso machines with our brother Jason in 2007. We envisioned inventing and creating a specialized machine unlike anything else on the market. The ambitious decision to create a machine from scratch that would dramatically expand brewing possibilities was born because we knew there was specific demand from coffee professionals for a machine that could ‘flavour profile’ the unique varietals of coffee that were being produced.

Our family also owned a bottling facility for coffee chai/syrups/smoothies.

We hope you’ll quickly see how completely and totally obsessed we are with every decision that goes into our coffee and its products. It’s simple: ‘good enough’ is never good enough.

As these things often go, it was the original lessons from Dad – the ones about quality and hospitality – that would bring all the promise of our businesses, finally, into reality. We threw ourselves full-bore into expanding our knowledge of growing and roasting coffee. We travelled around the world where we found kindred spirits in farmers who cared as much about coffee as we did.

As business thrived, we started thinking more and more about how best to present the coffees we were working so hard to perfect. This was the moment we decided it was time to create a line of cafés, each reflecting everything we believed a coffeehouse could be if done right. We would take everything we had learned and become so obsessed over, and share it with our community.

CB: Can you give me a scope of your business today and what you do?

Prefontaine: We continue to focus on what we grew up doing. Sourcing and roasting exceptionally good coffee and using our expertise to help other like-minded companies achieve their goals. Our core business is wholesale roasting and now with Corbeaux Bakery, we are also offering a wholesale food solution.

This ambitious project has had a very steep learning curve. But we press on, continuing to put as much effort and intention into our food as we do our coffee. In fact, our team of chefs and master bakers make virtually everything from scratch.

Our natural sourdough bread is fermented 48 hours before baking, our pastries are made from scratch with all-natural premium ingredients, we laminate our croissant dough by hand using real butter, we slow roast our own meat, and even make our own all-natural yogurt, which is a 24-hour process. We don’t add preservatives, we only use natural ingredients.

Simply put, we don’t cut corners. This has started to get a lot of attention because it’s so unique.

Our newest customer, Calgary Co-op, recognized this passion and has begun offering our bread program in a few of their locations. They realize that this was a segment that wasn’t being offered or served in their stores, or most of their competitors’ stores. We’re excited to say that we will be expanding to most of their Calgary stores over the next few months.

Aside from working with our wholesale customers across Western Canada, we spend a tremendous amount of time with our Analog Coffee team fine-tuning our operations. Currently, our focus is on culture and our customer experience. We believe we’re all hosts, and want our Analog team members to feel the same way when greeting and serving our guests.

CB: What are your growth plans for the company in the near future?

Prefontaine: We definitely have some fun and exciting plans for growth in the next five years. Much of these plans are to expand our roasting capacity and distribution in order to make it easier for people to find and enjoy our products. This will primarily be based on where we have our brick and mortar Analog Coffee locations, which is also the perfect place to enjoy our Corbeaux Bakery food products.

One challenge for us is we don’t do anything without going all the way. This does make it challenging when looking to expand outside of Calgary, as there are so many details to systemize to ensure a successful launch. How do we bring this same attention to detail, quality and care to another city with certainty that those guests will experience everything we do in Calgary?

We have been asking this question for a few years now and we believe we are on the verge of something great.

CB: Why have you been able to be successful in a market that seems to be saturated with coffee players and big ones such as Starbucks?

Prefontaine: We’ve been successful in this competitive marketplace because I believe our customers can see we authentically love what we’re doing. Analog is the realization of everything our family has been building for over 40 years. Every detail of the guest experience is considered, calculated and very intentional, from the décor, vibe and food, to the coffee itself. It’s decades of passion made tangible.

We had thought about starting our own café since the 1990s. And in 2011, we couldn’t resist the temptation any longer and opened the first Analog Coffee in the Calgary Farmers’ Market. It exceeded our own expectations. In 2012, our dream location came available for our second shop on Calgary’s 17th Avenue, right in the heart of the city’s Beltline community. More stores followed.

Analog gives us a place where we can carefully craft our brilliant single-origin coffees for guests from across all walks of life.

Analog allows us to practise what we have been preaching with a direct voice to the community. At Analog, average is completely unacceptable. We’re always in search of the finest coffees for our customers and our community. We’re driven by the need to deliver epic, unmatched coffee experiences to our customers. Every day. In every way.

We want to share our coffee with everyone from the longtime aficionado to the newcomer who just wants something a little (or a lot) better to drink. It’s not about attitude or elitism. It’s about how everyone who orders our subscriptions deserves the best coffee we can find.

We know good coffee is everywhere. But great coffee is surprisingly rare – whether you’re drinking it as fuel for your busy day or an escape from it. So, we’re here for those who want a life less ordinary. If only for the time it takes to finish a cup of our Analog Coffee.

CB: Why has coffee taken off in recent years as a burgeoning consumer trend?

Prefontaine: We have been watching coffee grow in popularity since we first started roasting in 1985. I remember the day that Starbucks announced they were coming to Calgary. We were excited. We knew that they would bring an enormous awareness to the public on what specialty coffee is, and we knew that to compete against someone like them, that you would have to raise the bar on everything we did.

Today, truly exceptional coffee isn’t as hard to find as it used to be in most cities. It’s now expected that if you are opening a café, or serving coffee in a restaurant or hotel, that the coffee you’re serving has been given attention. Even Swoop Airlines is offering our coffee on board because they wanted to serve their guests something special.

All the fancy grinding and brewing equipment in the world won’t make a difference if we don’t first find perfectly produced coffee. That’s why our producers harvest by hand-picking. That way only perfectly ripe cherries are selected while overripe and green cherries are sorted out. Our growers spend day after day moving from tree to tree, harvesting only the best cherries. This ensures that the quality of our coffee is not hindered by any shortcuts.

Our growers utilize a variety of different processing techniques from honey processing to fully-washed and beyond – all depending on what they believe will coax the best flavour from the varietal. By the time the coffee leaves the farm on its journey to our roasterie in Calgary, hundreds of people will have contributed to its creation.

This philosophy is the same with many coffee roasters these days and this started the third wave of the coffee movement. When we roast our beans we want to create a profile that best expresses the varietal and the region where it was grown. That’s both an art and a science. We roast every offering with a custom approach, all with the goal of telling a story in every cup.

Our roasters are always on the leading edge of their trade. They’re highly skilled at managing the variables of a roast, producing beans with vibrant aromas and creating the best possible flavour for each coffee.

Skilled baristas are the last important link in this movement. They should be well-trained experts in the art of brewing. They’re working with state-of-the-art machinery and a fine eye to detail. In fact, when one of our Analog baristas is standing behind the counter brewing your coffee, you should feel confident that they’re making sure this final step is done with all the care, attention and intention shown by each and every person who has cared for the coffee bean since it was planted.

That’s how you know that when you’re handed a cup of Analog Coffee, you’re tasting some of the best coffee in the world. Every time.

– Mario Toneguzzi

Respected business writer Mario Toneguzzi is a veteran Calgary-based journalist who worked for 35 years for the Calgary Herald in various capacities, including 12 years as a senior business writer.

https://calgarysbusiness.ca/business/fratello-coffee-culture-calgary/

Analog Coffee hosts WorldWide Instameet April 24th

WWIM13-Local-2

Analog Coffee joins Instagram’s Worldwide Instameet #wwim13 #wwim13yyc April 24th 2-4PM.

Analog Coffee is excited to join in the community gathering initiated by Instagram HQ from San Francisco. Twice a year, Instagram encourages communities to gather locally to take the relationships they have online and meet in person. This will be the 13th time Instagram will host this meet and they have chosen a theme that encourages others to take action as it is related to our earth (#myearthaction). Calgary is excited to participate with communities around the globe during this weekend.

Analog will host their Instameet at their urban location located on 740-17th Ave SW on Sunday April 24th from 2-4PM. This is open to all members of the public to come gather around, connect in person, capture moments to share online and of course, drink coffee! Analog Coffee will donate 50% of all sales from 2-4PM, which includes coffee, food and bags of coffee to the building of the Community Garden Project at The Mustard Seeds Shelter. In anticipation for crowds, we are encouraging people to also gather at Tompkins Park across the street once coffee and food are in hand where we will have music.

The Mustard Seed is a Christian registered charity. Since 1984, the organizations has been serving men and women experiencing poverty and homelessness by providing them with basic necessities such as food, shelter and clothing, and also by helping them improve their health and wellbeing, as well as find jobs and homes of their own. Visit TheSeed.ca for more info.

The generous donations from Analog Coffee sales will go toward creating a community garden at The Mustard Seed Shelter. A variety of herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, and pea shoots) will be grown and then used to enhance the flavour of meals for the homeless. Volunteers are excited to start building the garden and tending to it over the summer and Shelter chefs are looking forward to cooking with the fresh herbs.

The event is also sponsored by Socality, a global online community that encourages others to use their social influence collectively for community development. This event is sure to see the local social media influencers all join to share the event live on Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook.

Owner, Russ Prefontaine says, "Analog exists to bring great coffee to our city and we have designed our space to be a central destination in our local community for people to gather. We are proud to host Instagram's Worldwide Instameet and offer 50% of sales during the event to support The Mustard Seed's Community Garden at our location. We hope the community will come out and have a great time connecting.

Cafe Consultation - How our Fratello Team Can Help You.

Meet Fratello Sales Consultants, John Mitchell and Joel May. They have been part of the Fratello team for years and are here to support clients with everything they need to run a successful cafe. If you are seeking to open a cafe or are you wanting support in your current business, John and Joel are here to help. You can read below to find out more about their role and how they may serve you!

IMG_9876-2

Joel May, Fratello.

What are your roles within Fratello and what do you do?

Our roles within Fratello is ultimately a sales consultant. We stay current with the newest industry trends, provide exceptional training, phenomenal coffee, and help our customers set up with the right equipment and layout. My goal is to become my customers most valuable asset, their key contact for any coffee related questions, issues or needs.

What services does Fratello offer its clients?

As a wholesaler working with independent and franchise cafe operators, we help our partners (customers) succeed through providing exceptional, high quality coffee, as well as the skills, tools, and knowledge required to showcase the best that our coffee has to offer. In addition, we consult with cafe operators to ensure they have the right equipment and flow for their particular location. Capitalizing on flow makes a world of difference to the bottom line.  This ultimately creates a win win sales relationship.

We offer:

- Initial consultation

- Equipment sourcing, specs, and quotes

- All maintenance training

- Installation and pre installation site inspections

- Help with equipment placement for optimized flow

- Help with coffee cost analysis

- Full training for all staff from Owner to Barista, from basic espresso training to advanced barista

- Ongoing training and support as required

- Coffee knowledge seminars

How many locations serve Fratello in Canada?

We service and support literally hundred of cafes.

What advice would you give for those who want to open a cafe?

 There are a lot of answers to this question, but a few of the most important points of advice I would offer are:

Location, location location! First and foremost, a great location sets you up for success, look for places offering massive amounts of foot traffic. Consider looking for foot traffic and making an offer on the right location even if its not for lease or sale. Stand alone locations with no foot traffic are always a challenge. Be wary of spaces that are too large, cavernous cafes give the impression that the cafe is not busy even if its doing well. A crowd always attracts a crowd and 1200 to 1500 square feet seems to be the winning footprint.

Be prepared to float yourself for a year, it often takes all of that to create a strong loyal regular customer base.

Do your research, understand the micro market you are looking to set up shop in.

Decor and renovation budgets are important but don’t forget to budget for your brewing and espresso gear. So often we see the gear as an afterthought, the espresso machine is the heartbeat of the cafe, get the right machine, espresso grinders, and brewing gear.

When selecting your coffee, choose quality over price every time, strong margins coupled with the high yield in coffee translates into $0.03 cents per cup for every $1.00 per lb. Not much of a savings for using a lower quality product…

Higher passionate staff, who love coffee.  If your not a people orientated person, higher a great manager who is.

What is the point of difference with those who work with Fratello?

When choosing to work with Fratello it is important to know that our customers are our partners, their success is our focus. We don’t charge a fee for helping them succeed.

While our coffee is exceptional, poor brewing and extracting techniques can ruin even the finest of coffee, we offer the tools to ensure that every cup is amazing!

We are of the belief that by helping our customers becomes better café operators, offering a high level of quality beverages with a great experience, we will all benefit. We produce excellent coffee.

We also have the experience to carry blends and dark roasts along side boutique style micro lots. In many instances, a customers key demographic in their area is looking for a really good dark or medium roast that is stable and unchanging all the time, one that can work well with cream and sugar. We know this and can help.

Is there any limit to the amount of coffee that needs to be ordered?

There are no minimums and there are definitely no maximums.

Top 4 Things to Know When Buying Coffee Beans

Making coffee at home is something people do almost every morning in their homes. There is so much that one can know when purchasing the right coffee. It is more than the brand or name on the table. There are several factors and things to be looking for when you are buying your next bag of beans. We put together a list of the top 4 things to look for when it comes to buying beans and keeping these fresh!

FRESHNESS:  Freshness is the key! This will go against culture but think smaller is better, for freshness reasons. If coffee is older than 3-4 weeks after its roast date it may not necessarily be stale it just may lose dome of its delicate, brighter and more complex flavours.

ROAST DATE: Look for a roast date on the packaging. This will always be dependent on how you choose to brew your coffee. If you don't see a roast date there is no way of knowing how long those beans have been packaged into that bag.

AGE: If you are wanting to use your coffee for espresso extraction we suggest that coffee is best aged at least 7 days from its roast ate. If you are choosing to use it for Pour Over, Regular Drip, French Press or Aeropress than we suggest brewing the coffee as early as 24 hours after roasting.

STORAGE: Keep coffee fresh. We suggest to avoid storing coffee in the freezer. This will dry up any oils in the coffee which can be essential to come out of the flavour. We suggest keeping the coffee in a airtight container and stored in a cool dry place away from the direct light.

You can purchase our beans directly from our site or in store at Analog Coffee located on 17 Ave SW, Calgary Farmers Market or Corbeaux Bakehouse.

IMG_5223

Analog Coffee Announces its 3rd Location in South Calgary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Fratello Coffee opens its 3rd location in South Calgary

Fratello Coffee Roasters is excited to announce a fall 2015 opening for a brand new Analog Coffee location in Southcentre Mall. Fratello recently celebrated its 30th anniversary of roasting coffee in the Calgary community and this new Analog Coffee location will join the current location in the Calgary Farmers Market and the flagship location on 17th Avenue SW.

Brothers Russ and Chris Prefontaine, co-owners of Fratello Coffee Roasters, have a vision to create spaces for Calgarians to experience community and quality. These spaces exist within the Analog Coffee locations and at Corbeaux Bakehouse, a new concept bakehouse inspired by communal eateries in Europe and other cosmopolitan locales.

The Southcentre Mall coffee house will bring what people love at the 17th Avenue and the Farmers Market locations, including exceptional beverages handmade by trained baristas, community atmosphere and quality service. The menu will additionally offer a broad food service with fresh ingredients from Corbeaux Bakehouse.

This new Analog Coffee location will expand the craftsman coffee experience from existing primarily in the downtown core and surrounding areas to the south quadrant of the City. It will provide shoppers and local residents with an opportunity to retreat and enjoy a meticulously-prepared beverage; an opportunity to take a moment and taste a cup of coffee, not just drink it.

"Southcentre is proud to welcome Analog, a great local business which complements our growing family of retailers and services", says Shawn Hanson, General Manager, Southcentre Mall. "Our shoppers appreciate quality and Analog is the perfect addition to enhance the guest experience."

The fall 2015 opening of Analog Coffee in Southcentre Mall is perfectly timed for shoppers and the south Calgary community to enjoy for this year’s holiday shopping season.

For interview and media opportunities please contact:

Scott Bakken

Social Media and Marketing for Fratello Coffee Roasters

Analog Coffee - Past, Present and Future

Owners, Russ and Chris Prefontaine.

Fratello Coffee is excited to announce the launch of the newest Analog Coffee opening in Southcentre Mall in Fall of 2015. This location will bring what people love about the urban location to the south along with broad food service with fresh ingredients from Corbeaux Bakehouse. This will mark the third Analog location in Calgary and Owner, Russ Prefontaine shares more about the past, present and future Analog Coffee in our interview below.

How long has Fratello been around in Calgary? Describe the journey of the company.

Our family has been roasting coffee in Calgary for 2 generations now, 30 years.   For all those years we’ve worked closely with our wholesale café customers to educate them about what espresso-based beverages are all about and help them to create excellent café experiences. But what better way to show the world our vision for what a world-class café should be than to open one ourselves? Our cafés were created to give Fratello Coffee Roasters a direct voice to those who matters most: the people who drink and enjoy our coffee every day.  We like to think of Analog as our stage; on which we have the opportunity to showcase all of our elite coffees. The intricacies of which are highlighted by careful preparation, using only the worlds best brewing equipment and techniques by professional baristas who share our passion for exceptional coffees with dynamic and unique flavour profiles.  We’ve been teaching wholesale clients and trying to convince them of our idea of what a proper café can be  — now we are able to showcase our products ourselves, controlling every aspect of the finished product from choosing the beans to texturing the perfect milk for a traditional cappuccino.  We have a long history and a fun story, its great to finally share it.  https://www.fratellocoffee.com/our-story/about-us/

farmers

When did the first Analog open its first location and why did Fratello go in this direction?

The idea of having our own café isn’t new. We’ve been talking about this concept for over 15 years, dating back to when we first purchased the roasting company from our parents in 1997. In March of 2011 we took the first step towards realizing this dream by opening Fratello’s Analog Coffee in the Calgary Farmers’ Market. In late 2012 we opened our flagship location, the stand-alone Analog location at 740-17th Ave SW. We’ve always believed that a coffee house should be much more than just a place to get your caffeine fix and with Analog, we believe we’ve created the perfect spot to retreat and enjoy a meticulously-prepared beverage.

These lofty goals has been both the most rewarding and taxing.  To achieve this every single day requires you to be surrounded by like minded people who authentically want those same goals.  You can’t fake it.   For us, our success has come from the team of people that have joined us at our roastery and cafes.  This team is truly behind the idea of delighting our guests.  The biggest challenge at first was finding these people, but now that we are together, together we attract more people who are passionate about what we do, and that is very rewarding.  The success of Analog Coffee is only because of our team.

What is the story behind the 17th Ave location? When did you take it over and what did it used to be?

This has literally been our “dream” location in Calgary ever since we had our offices down the roast on 17th ave and 9th street.  At that time we weren’t doing any roasting, it was still our parents company.  Back then we were called Espuccino Imports and were only focused on importing specialty restaurant equipment, like espresso machines.  Training and service was our specialty.   In those days we would look at the old Buy Right Grocery Store which is now Analog Coffee, and talk about how this location would be ideal for a local coffee shop.  It took over 50 years for the owners of this location to finally retire, but when they did, we were ready to take it over.  We wanted to keep some of the history of that old grocery store alive, so we installed their old outdoor signage inside our store.

analog_seventeenth_0002

How have you seen 17th ave as a whole evolve since you opened the doors?

At Analog you will experience craftsman-like drink preparation on our Slayer espresso machines, single origin coffee and single estate tea offerings, delicious snacks and food, and a place where you can engage with us and learn more about the coffee we offer and how we make it. We want to show our passion and elevate your drink every day. When people get a coffee at Analog, we want them to have a true experience in every sense of the word. We want them to taste the coffee….we don’t want them to just drink the coffee.  We want to help educate and assist our clients, not preach to them.  We want them to be comfortable and relaxed as soon as they approach us and enter our cafes.  We want to be hosts.    This has always been the goal at both our locations and this hasn’t and won’t change.  What has changed is our food offering.   Food was the most frustrating part of Analog.  Trying to find bakeries that wanted to actually WORK with us, not just give us “off the shelf offerings”.   In order to take control of every aspect of our cafe, we needed to create our own food.  This is when Corbeaux Bakehouse was born, and the concept continued to grow to where it is today.  Now we are not only creating our own sandwiches, but are a full from scratch Bakery and Patisserie.  We see the future of high quality, “3rd wave cafes”, and that future is food.  You can’t just offer exceptional coffee and customer service, you need to have a complete offering.

analog_market_00031

Analog is opening its 3rd location in the South of Calgary. How will this be different from its other locations?

At South Centre you will see and experience everything people love at 17th Ave and the Farmers Market.  Exceptional beverages hand made by professional baristas.  What you will also notice is a much broader and complete food offering.  We will even be baking many products fresh each day in store.  All of the foods and products will be produced by Corbeaux Bakehouse specifically for our needs.  It will be a great experience for shoppers who are looking for a break from shopping, a place to sit with friends, a “office” space for meetings and a little taste of down town.  This really will be something different for a shopping mall environment.

What is next for Analog? Will we see more location in the city or even expand across the country?

My brother and I are always dreaming about new business opportunities and concepts, and we will continue to travel abroad seeking inspiration.  Lets just say, we aren’t done yet.

Coffee Cupping: The process that brings the best out of each bean

Most people enter a coffee shop, order there coffee and move on with there day. Yet, behind the scenes there is SO much that goes into preparing that espresso, latte or whatever your drink of choice may be. From where the beans are grown, how they are roasted to the testing of the beans to ensure they taste just right. One of the practices we run often at Fratello is QA (quality assurance). We sat down with head coffee roaster, David Schindel as he walked us through a process known as cupping. This practice is a routine test to evaluate the beans and access any adjustments that need to be made in the roasting process to bring out the best flavours.

What is quality assurance and how often do you do it?

Quality assurance is testing our current offerings through cupping and making sure it meets the same quality standards as it did when it was first profiled, within reason. We constantly are testing our product our goal is to make sure we taste all of our offerings at least once a month, some of the special offerings are done every week.

IMG_6564
What exactly is cupping?

Cupping is a sensory exercise, it starts by smelling the grinds of the coffee then pouring water on them and testing the aroma with the water on it. After a steep time of four minutes we do what is called a break, essentially breaking the crust the grounds and oil of the coffee has formed at the top of the cup, this is another aroma test as well. Once it has been broken and the grounds and oils have been cleared off the top we wait until the coffee is at a temperature that we can taste without burning our tongues that usually occurs around the 10 minute mark. We then grade it on 6 characteristics, Flavour/Taste, Acidity, Aftertaste, Balance, Body and Overall impression as per the SCAA standards. This is done from when the coffee was hot to when it reaches almost room temperature to ensure no changes happen well it is cooling.

Explain what you are looking for during this process?

We are looking for any changes in the roast, which will show its self in one of the 6 characteristics.

 

What changes can you make post this process to ensure higher quality?

We make changes to the profile of the coffee so the next time it is roasted we will correct any changes that have occurred through the coffee aging. Sometimes this involves a simple change to the Final roasting temperature to lighten or darken the coffee and other times we need to rethink the whole profile to account for flavours that we find due to the coffees age.

Roasting the Perfect Coffee Bean

Coffee can seem like a simple thing but there is so much work, knowledge and skill that goes into growing, picking and roasting the perfect bean. As the coffee culture emerges, many are learning and tasting the difference between what really goes into preparing your cup. We interviewed Fratello's Head Roaster, Dave Schindel to learn more about the bean, the roasting process and how you can pick the coffee that is right for you.

Can you explain the difference between light and dark roast?

The simplest explanation is a dark roast is taken to a higher temperature than a light roast forcing the coffee to go through more chemical changes and darkening the colour of the bean.

What makes for the perfect bean?

Perfection is always strived for and never achieved. The best answer I can give but when looking for high quality beans you are looking at varietal of the bean, soil type, elevation, harvesting methods and processing methods. Typically you are looking for a higher elevation bean because it gives the coffee cherry time to develop properly in a slightly lower temperature than coffee grown at low elevations which get rushed due to the higher temperatures.

IMG_0092

When is the best time to use your coffee beans?

It is dependant what you are using them for, if you are using them for drip coffee, the fresher the better. I would buy enough for a week at a time to ensure you always have great coffee at home. For espresso I would recommend 7-14 days after the roast date for use, this lets the coffee de-gas properly and will pull a much nicer shot under compacted pressure.

Can you walk us through the process of roasting coffee at Fratello?

When coffee comes in to Fratello it has already been sampled at least once to make sure it meets our standards so once it gets in the door it has to be profiled. Each coffee is put through many profile roasts changing the amount of heat used as key times in the roast until we have a roast we are happy with how it performs, some times this can take months of profile roasting and some times it is achieved in the first day. Once we have it profiled it goes into production. A production roast starts by loading the green coffee into the hoppers above the roasters, once the roaster has achieved the temperature desired we release the green beans into the drum of the roaster, it is the job of our roasters to make sure the profile that was decided on during the profiling stage is achieved on a consistent basis, they do this by adjusting the amount of heat depending on how the coffee is reacting that day and making sure the timing on everything is acceptable, coffee roasting is aided by computer software to track the curve but the roaster should always rely on the sight, smell and sounds the coffee is making as it roasts.


When choosing beans for our home use, what should we look for?

Personal preference is huge here, I would recommend going to your local barista and seeing what they suggest based off of what you have previously enjoyed. There is really no wrong answer here some people prefer a very light floral coffee, while others enjoy the heavy bold flavours of a dark coffee. Find something you like and look for other coffee's that are similar. But once again make sure its fresh. Life is to short for stale coffee.

Fast Forward Weekly - Calgary's Booming Coffee Scene

Cream of the coffee shops  - Calgarians hungry for more than a cup of joe

Published April 11, 2013  by James Wilt in Bar & Restaurant Guide

It’s mid-week, mid-morning. A dozen or so customers are drinking espressos and lattes in Fratello’s Analog Cafe on 17th Avenue S.W. It’s decently busy, at least by the standards of many local third-wave coffee shops — a movement to promote high-quality, artisanal coffee, of which Fratello’s is an adherent. The mixture of conversation and coffee grinding is nearly constant.

But Russ Prefontaine, an owner and green-bean buyer for Fratello, is a tad perturbed. He can’t figure out why the shop is so “dead” at the moment. Standing-room only is the norm on weekends, and often during the late-morning rush, he explains. Overall sales have been increasing week by week. Needless to say, this sort of customer excitement around coffee isn’t typical for this city.

“It just goes to show how hungry Calgary is for something like this,” Prefontaine says, noting that Analog is the first café of its kind to set up in such a “mainstream” spot — it’s adjacent to the popular joints of Clive Burger, Sloth Records and The Big Cheese. “What I didn’t expect was to open the doors and be this busy right out of the gate.”

However, it’s not just Prefontaine who’s noticed the growing interest in artisan coffee. A shift has been happening across the city. It seems as though new roasters (Caffe Rosso), cafés (Savour and Gravity) and home-brewing websites (Eight Ounce Coffee) are popping up every few months. After five or so years of tillage, the scene is flourishing.

We now have the top two baristas in Canada, a huge accomplishment for a city of 1.1 million people. In September 2012, Jeremy Ho and Ben Put of Phil & Sebastian brought home the gold and silver, respectively, from the Canadian Barista Championship, earning Ho a chance to compete at the World Barista Championship in May, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Calgary’s officially on the country’s coffee map.

The Canadian champ says that he’s seen a massive shift in Calgary’s interest in coffee since he started working in the industry back in 2006. “Before, people weren’t ordering based on origin — they were ordering on roast level [light, medium or dark],” Ho says. “Now, people are starting to understand that coffees can be different depending on where they’re from, so that’s really cool.”

Of course, roasting is a fundamental part of making coffee (along with picking/processing green beans, and the physical preparation in the café), and David Crosby of Caffe Rosso is taking full advantage of the city’s new interest to teach customers about that part of the operation. Rosso has been roasting its own coffee for a few months now.

“The process of people seeing roasting in our Ramsay location is really big,” he says. “Customers are coming behind the counter and asking questions. The biggest reason that we put the roaster in our Ramsay location — instead of just in some warehouse — is for the customers to see it and be engaged with it, and to see yet another link in the chain.”

While Calgary may not have the sheer quantity of cafés as Vancouver or Toronto, the overall quality is undoubtedly comparable. As Ho puts it, “People are starting to taste distinctions between different chains and shops. And that’s huge — they can’t go back. We’re converting them.”