Why Do I Need a Burr Grinder?

Blade grinders are not the best choice for grinding coffee beans. While they are inexpensive and easy to use, they don't produce the same quality of coffee as burr grinders.  So why do I need a burr grinder? 

The reason blade grinders do not produce high-quality coffee is because the blades heat up during operation and this causes a burnt taste. Burr grinders, on the other hand, use rotating disks that never get hot enough to cause this burnt taste.

There is only one grinder for coffee, and that’s the burr grinder. If your coffee doesn’t taste quite right on a burr grinder, at least you have the option of adjusting it. Consistency is everything when it comes to brewing good coffee.

Hand mill grinder

I can’t afford a burr grinder! I’m just a poor student.

We get it. Burr grinders can be expensive. But this is an investment, a piece of equipment that’ll make tasty coffee for years to come. A decent electric burr grinder ranges in price from $200-$1000. We recommend the Baratza Encore burr grinder as a great entry-level grinder. The conical burrs stay sharp for years with excellent precision. If you’re on a smaller budget, the Timemore Chestnut C2 grinder delivers the same quality. The only caveat is that it requires good old-fashioned elbow grease. This is perfect if you only drink one or two cups a day, and as a bonus, it travels well.

If you still don’t want to buy a burr grinder, at the very least, ask us to grind it for you, but make sure to use it up quickly. When you order beans online, make sure to tell us what grind setting you want in the checkout notes.

Hand burr grinder

Why are blade grinders bad for coffee?

Here’s what blade grinders do to your coffee. They blindly cut it up, resulting in coffee particles of all sizes, from fines to boulders. When you’re brewing a particular method, whether it’s French press or pour over, you are looking for 1 particle size… not 20!

Blade grinders are particularly bad for pour overs. When you make a pour over with blade ground coffee, you’ll get a slow-pouring, clogged filter. The resulting coffee will taste bitter and sour at the same time. And, you won’t really get any resounding flavour notes. Just a flat, lifeless cup. Sounds like a waste of effort, doesn’t it?

To understand why blade ground coffee is not ideal, you need to understand extraction. Extraction refers to the amount of soluble compounds extracted from coffee in a given time period. Extraction depends on a few factors, namely temperature and grind size. Temperature is easier to control, but grind size needs a lot of attention. The finer the grind, the quicker the extraction time; the coarser the grind, the slower the extraction time. That’s why espresso pours in mere seconds and French press takes several minutes. A bitter taste indicates over-extraction, and a sour taste indicates under-extraction.

Now that you see why blade grinders can’t create consistency, it’s time to retire that sucker. You can clean it out and use it to grind whole spices, or you can donate it to someone else looking to enter the “fresh ground coffee world”.

How does a burr grinder work?

A burr grinder is essentially a coffee mill. It “mills” the coffee, much like how a pepper mill creates particles that are uniform in size. On a burr grinder, you can adjust settings from fine to coarse, and every particle will be the same size. You need a uniform grind to achieve even extraction. If your coffee doesn’t come out quite right, at least you can adjust your grind and try again. You will notice that this is especially important when brewing espresso. With a blade grinder, you don’t have this option–instead, you get what you get.

Espresso grinder

Are there ways to make good coffee with a blade grinder?

We certainly don’t recommend a blade grinder for making pour overs, aeropresses and espresso. However, some coffee methods are more forgiving than others. Immersion methods, like steep & filter and French press, tend to respond better to blade ground coffee. That’s because immersion methods eliminate that awful sour, weak taste, which is almost always down to under extraction.

If you’re using a blade grinder, grind it on the coarser side, and pause every few seconds to shake it. Immerse the grounds in the hot water for 4-6 minutes. This won’t make an incredible coffee, but it’ll make it palatable.

What to do with pre-ground coffee

Maybe you’ve decided that a burr grinder is not in your budget, and you need to rely on pre-ground coffee. In this case, we recommend using up your pre ground coffee as quickly as possible. Ground coffee goes stale very quickly, so try to use it up within a few days maximum. Store it in the bag in a cool, dark place.

Another way to quickly use up pre ground coffee is to make a big batch of cold brew so you can use your coffee up in a timely manner. Once brewed, cold brew stays good for 1-2 weeks in your fridge. This coffee method is deliciously smooth and foolproof, and it makes for a refreshing drink in the summer months. If you’re not into cold coffee, you can always heat it up later.

Coffee Burr Grinder

Is a burr grinder a good investment?

If you’re the type who drinks 4-6 coffees a day with lots of cream and sugar, you might not notice the difference. But, if you drink coffee more for the flavour than for the caffeine, a burr grinder is a good investment. When it comes to specialty coffee, it doesn’t make sense to ruin

it with a blade grinder. Specialty coffee is pricier than other coffees on the market, in part because of the complex flavour. Only a burr grinder will unlock those tasting notes!

Want to put your burr grinder to the test? Check out our foolproof pour over guide!



How to Pull a Perfect Shot of Espresso

There’s nothing worse than going to a renowned coffee shop only to receive an espresso drink that’s bitter and undrinkable. Poorly made espresso-based drinks are more common than you might think. Even the best beans, espresso machine, and grinder can’t guarantee a good shot of espresso.

Slayer Espresso

A big challenge for cafe managers and owners is getting their large team of baristas to make good-tasting espresso. A lot of newbie baristas don’t know what to look for when dialing in espresso and lack the confidence to calibrate it.  This is why we offer complimentary ongoing training and consultation for our wholesales clients.

By putting certain practises in place, you can show your whole team how to pull a perfect shot of espresso. First, we’ll show you how to lead an espresso tasting session with a team of baristas. Then, we’ll show you how to ensure the espresso is always running well.

The building blocks of good espresso

It may sound obvious, but you need to start with great coffee and great equipment to make great espresso. Make sure you have all of these in place first before you troubleshoot your espresso.

Make sure to source roasted beans from a high-quality, specialty coffee roaster. They should have an emphasis on ethical sourcing, meticulous roasting, and freshness.

A high-quality espresso machine with enough pressure and stamina is crucial for great espresso. We recommend the Slayer espresso machine, which was produced by the fine folks here at Fratello!

A good espresso grinder allows you to micro-adjust the grind setting. It should have a timed doser to provide consistency. We recommend Mahlkonig espresso grinders. 

If you have all of that already, let’s get into it!

coffee grinder

Leading an espresso tasting with your team

It’s always a good idea to do an espresso tasting session with your team. This allows you to answer any questions and try different espresso shots side-by-side for comparison. When guiding your team through a tasting, here are some common things to look for.

While not all coffees have a sweet profile, you should aim for a sweet shot. Sweetness is detected on the tip of the tongue. Unlike an unpleasant sour flavour, you’re looking for a sweetness akin to fruit or sugar.

A good shot of espresso should never taste unpleasantly bitter or sour. You can assess this more broadly when you try the espresso by asking yourself, “Is this pleasant?” “Is this acceptable to serve?”

Bitter and sour notes can be part of the inherent flavour profile of the coffee, like rich cocoa and lemon. Don’t get confused by desirable flavour attributes. 

Get your team familiar with the flavour wheel. It’s not cheating to fill your head with all the possibilities of what coffee can taste like. It helps your team by giving them a vocabulary to describe coffee.

TIP: It’s easier for newbie baristas to taste coffee that’s cooled down and/or diluted with a bit of water.

cappuccino

Creating an espresso calibration system

After you’ve done your initial group tasting session with your team, it’s time to create a calibration system.

The best way to calibrate espresso is by tasting it and adjusting it as needed. However, most newbie baristas won’t have the skills or the confidence to do this. This method also takes more time, and when you’re trying to move a lineup, it isn’t practical. A calibration system is easy-to-follow, keeps your coffee tasting great at all times, and doesn’t disrupt your flow.

Not all coffee is the same, but as a general rule of thumb, there’s a certain espresso recipe to follow. When it comes to brewing parameters for espresso, you want to start with a dry weight of 18 grams, a wet weight of 36 grams (ie. actual brewed espresso), and a brew time of 28-30 seconds. If you brew your espresso and it doesn’t fit within these confines, you can tweak the dose and the grind setting of the coffee.

perfect espresso

How to pull a perfect shot of espresso, step-by-step:

  1. Pop the basket out of the portafilter, and zero it out on a digital scale. Grind your beans from your timed espresso grinder, and weigh it. If it weighs below 18 grams, increase your dose by a few milliseconds. If it weighs above 18 grams, decrease your dose. Don’t worry if you’re off by 0.5 grams.
  2. Once you have the right weight, evenly tamp your espresso with 30 lbs of pressure.
  3. Have a timer ready to countdown from 30 seconds. Grab a clean shot glass or mini metal pitcher, place it on the scale, and zero it out.
  4. Place the scale and the glass under the group head, and begin brewing your espresso. Immediately start your 30-second timer. 
  5. At the 30-second mark, stop the shot and read the wet weight on the scale. If the wet weight isn’t 36 grams, make some changes and start over. If the wet weight is below 36 grams, make your grind coarser. If it’s above 36 grams, make your grind finer.

Make sure to post the espresso parameters (ie. dry weight, wet weight, brew time) where staff can see it. Have your team calibrate the espresso several times a day: once first thing in the morning, at mid-morning, and in the afternoon. For accountability, you can set up a checklist on a marker board, and have staff initial their calibrations.

Other factors affecting espresso flavour

Getting the right dose and weight is important when making good espresso, but it’s not the only thing to be aware of. Other things greatly affect the flavour of espresso. Here are some common factors:

Make sure your team is tamping properly. An uneven tamp or a cracked puck can result in uneven extraction, and thus, a sour, undrinkable espresso. Check out this video to make sure your team isn’t committing any tamping faux-pas!

 

The temperature and humidity in your cafe can instantly change how your espresso pours. If the weather suddenly changes from rainy and cold to sunny and warm, recalibrate your espresso.

A dirty espresso machine can make your coffee taste off if you’re doing everything else right. Make sure your team is cleaning the espresso machine and portafilters every night with Cafiza. Additionally, make sure your team is wiping the portafilter baskets with a dry rag between espressos. Have them purge the group heads between pours, too.

Fratello Coffee

Give it your best shot

Espresso can be intimidating for new baristas who lack skills and confidence. You can’t expect them to know everything right off the bat. The more effort you put into standards and procedures, the more likely it is that your team will get on board.

It doesn’t take long to gain a reputation as a no-fail, sure-shot espresso bar. Before long, your customers will notice, and they’ll be lining up for more. So do a little planning, schedule that espresso tasting with your team, and knock it out of the park!

We know that espresso can be a complicated beast. With decades of experience in the specialty coffee world, we have all the tools to make your cafe a success. Book a consultation call with us by emailing us at . We’re here to help!





Starting a Gratitude Journal : The Science of Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a great reminder to be thankful for what we have, but science tells us that gratitude is important year-round. The act of practising gratitude is great for our overall health.  Intentionally going out of our way to bring to mind the things we’re grateful for helps us stay healthy and happy. 

Happy couple

Studies show that keeping a gratitude journal can ease depression and anxiety and actually improve your physical health. Neuroscience shows that the brain is a lot more changeable than previously thought, and carrying out practises actually creates new pathways, or “rewires” our brains. (You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!)

In today’s day and age, there are constant stressors all around us. Raising kids, full-time work, and excessive screen time can all bring our moods down and make us constantly feel stressed out. Not only does stress affect our quality of life, but studies show it actually makes us sick. Higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that upticks when we’re feeling stressed, has been linked to cancer and heart disease. Starting a gratitude journal eases a lot of this stress. 

Let’s take a look at how practising gratitude affects the brain. 

Gratitude Journal

Your brain on gratitude

The modern human is not subject to the same stressors as in the past. We no longer have to defend against bears and tigers or hunt and gather to provide food for our families. The modern human still has the fight-or-flight response, but it’s triggered by other things. Things like work stress, gridlock, and overdue bills can all get our heart racing and our cortisol flowing. 

While danger looks a little different now, humans are hard-wired to look for danger at every turn.

While this may have helped us escape real danger when we were hunter-gatherers, it doesn’t serve us anymore. Just because negative, catastrophizing thought patterns are our default, doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.

Humans can inject positive thinking into their brains, achieving a state of calm and well-being. The more we introduce positive thoughts into our brains, the more we flex this positivity muscle.

Similar to mindfulness, where we practise focusing on the present to achieve calm, practising gratitude creates equally strong pathways. Check out our post about parental burnout to learn more ways to deal with anxiety and stress. 

Practising gratitude has some real benefits and changes our brains in many ways. Gratitude can decrease materialism, help us work through personal problems, fight disease and sickness, and decrease feelings of envy and resentment.

journaling

How to practise gratitude

There are various ways that you can practise gratitude, and they all involve a pen and paper. 

A common gratitude journal exercise is to name 3 things you’re grateful for. Then, elaborate on those 3 things and muse about what life would be like without them. It can be anything from a supportive spouse, to a roof over your head, to your brand new dishwasher. 

You can also pick one thing that you’re grateful for, and take time to explore why you’re grateful for it. Let’s take running water, for example. Running water keeps you hydrated, saves you the effort and time of having to fetch it from the lake, allows you to bathe and brush your teeth, and waters your flowers. 

While it may sound like child’s play, you’ll notice a shift in your thinking after a few weeks of doing this consistently.

I don’t have time to write a gratitude journal!

It can be hard to justify the practise when you’re skeptical of it in the first place. You’ll reap the most benefits if you spend about 30 minutes everyday. However, even doing it 5 minutes a day can have a profound effect. When you’re first starting out, start small so you can realistically commit to the practise everyday. Deciding when and where you’re going to complete your gratitude journal can help you stay committed, too. 

If you’re a busy parent and your life gets busy in the evening, commit to waking up 5 minutes earlier than usual to complete your journal. 

If you plan to do your journal on the train or at your office desk, write in a pocket-sized notebook that’s easy to toss in your bag. If you prefer to journal digitally, you can keep a note in your phone, or you can even use a gratitude journal app

How long do I have to carry on with this practise?

When it comes to mindset work, such as practising gratitude or mindfulness, you should never stop! Think of a gratitude journal like working out or practising an instrument. When you stop working out for a while, you quickly run out of breath when you try to get back into it. Then, you have to play catch-up to get fit again. It’s the exact same thing with practising gratitude, and you should aim to stay “fit” your whole life. 

It might sound like a drag to have to do this constantly to reap the benefits. But choosing a set time, day of the week, and place to do it will significantly increase your chances of sticking to your routine. It’s actually more beneficial to practise it in short bursts over a period of time than it is to binge-practise it for hours all at once. Consistency is key. 

You don’t have to do it every single day if you don’t want to. But if you’re giving yourself a rest, make sure you do it consistently. For example, choose Sunday as your rest day instead of randomly taking off-days as you need them. 

be thankful

The greatest gift of all

Sometimes life will present unfair, cruel circumstances. On the other hand, you can have everything you could ever want in the world, and still be unhappy and unfulfilled. Living joyfully doesn’t happen by accident or to those who can afford it; it happens to those who are intentional. You have to have the imagination and the diligence to live the life you want. 

Let this Thanksgiving be the year you start your gratitude journal, and never look back!

Looking for more health & wellness content? Check out our previous post about drinking turmeric for health benefits




How to Make AeroPress Coffee

When you’re craving a short, strong and delicious pick-me-up, look no further than the AeroPress. The AeroPress method is a favourite for coffee lovers because it does justice to specialty coffee with perfect, even extraction. If you’re finding your morning coffee routine is taking too long or isn’t tasting to your liking, consider adding this to your arsenal.  Read the rest of this article to find out how you can make AeroPress coffee yourself. 

AeroPress Coffee Maker

AeroPress style coffee is so established and beloved that there are even barista world championships for the best AeroPress. But don’t let that make you think it’s too complicated for you to master. On the contrary, making a delicious AeroPress is easy! Follow our complete guide to making a perfect AeroPress for a delicious single cup.

What does an AeroPress coffee taste like?

The AeroPress makes a small, bold cup of coffee with lots of clarity (ie. no sludge or coffee grind particles). While it does have the element of immersion just like a French press, it doesn’t have the same grittiness. In a way, it combines the best of a French press (immersion) and a pour over (clarity). The fine filter stops a lot of particles from passing through.

The brew ratio for an AeroPress is different from a standard pour over or drip coffee. While the ratio of a standard pour over is 1:16, the aeropress ratio is 1:13 (1 part coffee, 13 parts water). This makes for a strong tasting coffee. 

AeroPress Coffee process

What are the benefits of an AeroPress?

The AeroPress is a favourite for many reasons. It’s a great travel accessory for the stubborn coffee connoisseur. It works well if you’re staying in a hotel in another city where good coffee is scarce. It’s also perfect as a low-tech method of making coffee while camping or day-hiking.

The AeroPress is known for being easy to transport. Because it’s made of plastic, it’s shatterproof, virtually indestructible, and lightweight. And because it’s relatively small, it doesn’t take up too much room in your bag. 

It’s made of BPA-free plastic, so you don’t have to worry about plastic leaching from pouring hot water into the chamber. Generally, pouring hot (or even warm) water into plastic is not recommended as it can release harmful toxins.

After brewing, the AeroPress is easy to clean. Just hover over the organics bin and push the plunger until the spent coffee puck pops out. Then, rinse the outer part of the plunger to remove leftover grinds. 

The biggest benefit of the AeropPress is that it makes a truly delicious cup of coffee, and fast. It’s perfect if you’re craving a small, strong, delicious cup.

Is the AeroPress for me?

If you were hoping to make a large amount of coffee for a group, the AeroPress might not be for you. While you can make multiple cups, it’ll take some time, and everyone will have to wait their turn. For multi-serve options, check out the Chemex Classic 6 cup or the Hario Craft Coffee Maker.

If strong coffee isn’t your jam, you might not enjoy the AeroPress method. The 1:13 brew ratio makes for a strong cup. You might want to choose a brew method with a weaker ratio, like the pour over method, which has a ratio of 1:16.

Hario Kettle

How to make the perfect AeroPress:

Brew ratio: 

1:13 (1 part coffee, 13 parts water)

What you’ll need:

Pour over Kettle

  1. Begin by boiling your water. By the time you’re ready to brew, it should be about 60 seconds off the boil. For best results, use a gooseneck kettle, or pour your hot water into a heat-proof pitcher with a spout.
  2. Grab a paper AeroPress filter, and place it in the screw-on filter. Place the filter over the sink, and gently pour a bit of boiling water over the filter. This rinses the paper filter, preventing a papery taste. Once the filter is rinsed, screw the filter cap onto the chamber, and place on top of your favourite mug.
  3. Next, measure 17 grams of Fratello coffee. Grind your beans on the burr grinder on a medium-fine setting. The grind should be slightly finer than pour over. Place the grinds into the chamber, and give the chamber a firm tap to level out the coffee bed. Place the chamber on top of a mug, and place the mug on a weight scale. Set it to zero.

Coffee on scale

  1. Pour 220 mL of hot water very quickly over the grinds. Using the stir stick provided, gently stir the slurry to make sure all the grinds are submerged. Place the plunger on top of the slurry, but don’t plunge just yet. Placing the plunger just on top creates a vacuum so the water doesn’t draw down all at once. Set a timer for 2 minutes.
  2. After 2 minutes, begin your plunge. Slowly and gently plunge until you hear a hissing sound. Your AeroPress is ready. Enjoy.

AeroPress troubleshooting

If your AeroPress is tasting less than fantastic, here are some basic troubleshooting tips. You can’t fix a cup that’s already been brewed; just grind some new coffee, and start over. You only need 17 grams of coffee, after all!

Problems and solutions:

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for more tips for brewing that perfect cup of coffee? Check out our article on why you really need a burr grinder!



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/

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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

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 - Now Hiring - Quality Assurance Manager

This is a rare opportunity to join a dynamic team of coffee professionals and further your career in coffee and business.  Please forward your resumes to info @ fratellocoffee.com.

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Summary
 

The Quality Assurance Manager is responsible for the consistent excellence of every cup of coffee served at Analog Café’s. Our Quality Assurance Manager is the quintessential coffee connoisseur who is as passionate about coffee as they are the overall coffee experience. They are the key resource for coffee quality at Analog.

Areas of Responsibility
·       Quality Assurance

o   Key resource to Café Managers and team members, working alongside them to educate and encourage the highest quality of Analog products.

o   Ensure Analog products meet expected quality standards and consistency by conducting quality reviews and testing at each Analog café. Provide Café team members feedback and encouragement to continuously improve their skills.

o   Develop and document Analog product quality standards and procedures.

o   Collaborate with the Quality Assurance Manager at Fratello to assist in the constant improvement of all roast profiles.

o   Act as Analog “Ambassador” at regional coffee events such as Barista Competition, Coffee Association of Canada and Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) conventions, as necessary.

o   Create and maintain Café equipment Preventative Maintenance standards and procedures.

o   Maintain equipment and ensure equipment supplies are available at all Café’s as required for preventative maintenance needs. Schedule preventative maintenance and report status and discrepancies to Café Managers.

·       Coffee Knowledge Training

o   Design and develop training materials, workshops and communications that support and improve overall coffee knowledge of Café team members.

o   Coordinate with Café Managers to facilitate regular training sessions and follow up with them to ensure all training materials are up to date.

o   Coordinate Train-the-Trainer sessions and regular meetings with Café trainers to ensure the consistent execution of Analog product quality standards and procedures.

o   Proactively recommend and implement improvements to product quality standards and procedures. Maintain and update training materials to reflect continuous improvements.

o   Design, write and distribute regular communications, i.e. newsletters, to Café team members, highlighting best practices and changes, recipes, new coffees and other information as required.

o   Present quality assurance updates and information at regular Café Manager meetings. Maintain a close working relationship with the management team.

o   Coordinate with Café Mangers and District Managers to ensure weekly and monthly scheduling of training and quality meetings meet the needs of the Café’s.

Experience and Qualifications
You’re a great fit if you have:

·       3+ years of experience in retail or hospitality or equivalent experience.

·       1+ year of specialized quality assurance responsibilities.

·       Experienced trainer, assisting individuals and/or teams to learn new skills or processes.

·       Passion for exceptional quality of products and/or services.

·       Strong verbal and written communication skills.

·       Excellent collaborator and team player.

·       Demonstrates effective time management.

·       Available to work a flexible schedule to meet the needs of the business; may require weekends and evenings

·       Proficiency in using Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook and POS systems.

·       Minimum High School education.

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!

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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.

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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/

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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.

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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.

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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.