For many, coffee is an essential part of the morning routine. For some, it’s a sacred ritual. While the desire for convenience can be easily fulfilled with grocery store brand beans, it’s easy to elevate your morning coffee experience by upping the quality of the grinds you use at home. Many independent roasters sell their beans fresh online, or offer a coffee subscription (and coffee delivery) service. (If you or your giftee are looking to make your own signature home brew, we recommend trying a Coffee Club membership to sample a rotating selection of Canada’s coolest beans).
The options are endless, so we’ve compiled a list of must-try beans for coffee lovers.
Stumptown is one of the most recognizable names in indie coffee. Born in Portland, Oregon, they hold true to their West Coast roots with a distinctly relaxed vibe. But they take their beans seriously here and it shows—they’re consistently innovative and delicious. Try their ‘Hair Bender’ roast: balanced and versatile—it’s one of the most popular house roasts amongst independent cafés.
The coffee scene in Vancouver has been increasingly moving towards favouring the slow process, with the pour over coffee method at the forefront. Local roaster 49th Parallel holds true to the ethos, advocating that people slowly savour their morning cup. Their ‘Longitude 123°W Blend’ is perfect to do just that—it’s a medium roast, fresh and flavourful, with notes of dried fruit and nuts.
Pilot has been dominating the east end’s roasting scene for ten years. With a focus on sourcing ethical, direct trade coffee, Pilot is dedicated to quality and education. It’s no surprise Roast Magazine deemed them ‘Micro Roaster of the Year’ in 2014. Their popular ‘Heritage Blend’ makes for an indulgent morning cup, with notes of toffee, milk chocolate, and cream.
Named after Europe’s first ever coffee house, Blue Bottle is the little guy that went big time in specialty coffee. Their bright blue logo and minimal bag design are synonymous with the simple, clean aesthetic that made independent cafe culture so popular. Blue Bottle’s priority is freshness and flavour, and they work closely with sustainable farmers to make sure they’re only delivering the best. Their ‘Three Africas Blend’ has hints of golden raisin, blueberry, and lemon zest. Balanced and bright, it works well on its own or with a touch of dairy.
Unanimously considered one of the coffee industry’s best roasters, Intelligentsia was among the first to fully commit to direct trade practices. They hold true to their original ethos today, working closely with farmers to source consistently high quality beans. A coffee shop staple, Intelligentsia offers a number of blends and single origin beans. Try the ‘Intelligentsia House Blend’, with notes of citrus, apple, and milk chocolate.
Calgary is quickly becoming a coffee capital of Canada, and Phil & Sebastian were one of the first to get it started. Self-described coffee nerds, they care most about maintaining freshness and flavour at every step of the process: from sourcing to roasting to serving. They always offer coffee that’s in-season and sustainable. Phil & Sebastian break down their beans into three flavour profiles: ‘Comfortable & Chocolatey’, ‘Approachable & Nuanced’, and ‘Exotic & Fruity’. Get started with ‘The Standard’, an elevated take on a classic cup that is chocolatey and nutty with a low acidity.
Monogram serves buzz-making brews that have spread from their minimalist Calgary cafes into coffee shops across the country. They offer a wide variety of blends, ranging from the daily staple to the adventurous (one of their locations even serves up a coffee-infused soft serve ice cream). To get started on the Monogram train, try crowd favourite the ‘Alasitas Gesha’
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