Tag Archives: Caffè in Gamba

Homeroasting and Coffee Geekness

I’m a coffee geek. By which I mean that I have a geeky attitude to coffee. I’m passionate about the crafts and arts of coffee making, I seek coffee-related knowledge wherever I can find it, I can talk about coffee until people’s eyes glaze over (which happens more quickly than I’d guess possible), and I even dream about coffee gadgets. I’m not a typical gadget freak, as far as geek culture goes, but coffee is one area where I may invest in some gadgetry.

Perhaps my most visible acts of coffee geekery came in the form of updates I posted through diverse platforms about my home coffee brewing experiences. Did it from February to July. These posts contained cryptic details about diverse measurements, including water temperature and index of refraction. It probably contributed to people’s awareness of my coffee geek identity, which itself has been the source of fun things like a friend bringing me back coffee from Ethiopia.

But I digress, a bit. This is both about coffee geekness in general and about homeroasting in particular.

See, I bought myself this Hearthware i-Roast 2 dedicated homeroasting device. And I’m dreaming about coffee again.

Been homeroasting since December 2002, at the time I moved to Moncton, New Brunswick and was lucky enough to get in touch with Terry Montague of Down Esst Coffee.

Though I had been wishing to homeroast for a while before that and had become an intense coffee-lover fifteen years prior to contacting him, Terry is the one who enabled me to start roasting green coffee beans at home. He procured me a popcorn popper, sourced me some quality green beans, gave me some advice. And off I was.

Homeroasting is remarkably easy. And it makes a huge difference in one’s appreciation of coffee. People in the coffee industry, especially baristas and professional roasters, tend to talk about the “channel” going from the farmer to the “consumer.” In some ways, homeroasting gets the coffee-lover a few steps closer to the farmer, both by eliminating a few intermediaries in the channel and by making coffee into much less of a commodity. Once you’ve spent some time smelling the fumes emanated by different coffee varietals and looking carefully at individual beans, you can’t help but get a deeper appreciation for the farmer’s and even the picker’s work. When you roast 150g or less at a time, every coffee bean seems much more valuable. Further, as you experiment with different beans and roast profiles, you get to experience coffee in all of its splendour.

A popcorn popper may sound like a crude way to roast coffee. And it might be. Naysayers may be right in their appraisal of poppers as a coffee roasting method. You’re restricted in different ways and it seems impossible to produce exquisite coffee. But having roasted with a popper for seven years, I can say that my poppers gave me some of my most memorable coffee experiences. Including some of the most pleasant ones, like this organic Sumatra from Theta Ridge Coffee that I roasted in my campus appartment at IUSB and brewed using my beloved Brikka.

Over the years, I’ve roasted a large variety of coffee beans. I typically buy a pound each of three or four varietals and experiment with them for a while.

Mostly because I’ve been moving around quite a bit, I’ve been buying green coffee beans from a rather large variety of places. I try to buy them locally, as much as possible (those beans have travelled far enough and I’ve had enough problems with courier companies). But I did participate in a few mail orders or got beans shipped to me for some reason or another. Sourcing green coffee beans has almost been part of my routine in those different places where I’ve been living since 2002: Moncton, Montreal, Fredericton, South Bend, Northampton, Brockton, Cambridge, and Austin. Off the top of my head, I’ve sourced beans from:

  1. Down East
  2. Toi, moi & café
  3. Brûlerie Saint-Denis
  4. Brûlerie des quatre vents
  5. Terra
  6. Theta Ridge
  7. Dean’s Beans
  8. Green Beanery
  9. Cuvée
  10. Fair Bean
  11. Sweet Maria’s
  12. Evergreen Coffee
  13. Mon café vert
  14. Café-Vrac
  15. Roastmasters
  16. Santropol

And probably a few other places, including this one place in Ethiopia where my friend Erin bought some.

So, over the years, I got beans from a rather large array of places and from a wide range of regional varietals.

I rapidly started blending freshly-roasted beans. Typically, I would start a blend by roasting three batches in a row. I would taste some as “single origin” (coffee made from a single bean varietal, usually from the same farm or estate), shortly after roasting. But, typically, I would mix my batches of freshly roasted coffee to produce a main blend. I would then add fresh batches after a few days to fine-tune the blend to satisfy my needs and enhance my “palate” (my ability to pick up different flavours and aromas).

Once the quantity of green beans in a particular bag would fall below an amount I can reasonably roast as a full batch (minimum around 100g), I would put those green beans in a pre-roast blend, typically in a specially-marked ziplock bag. Roasting this blend would usually be a way for me to add some complexity to my roasted blends.

And complexity I got. Lots of diverse flavours and aromas. Different things to “write home about.”

But I was obviously limited in what I could do with my poppers. The only real controls that I had in homeroasting, apart from blending, consisted in the bean quantity and roasting time. Ambient temperature was clearly a factor, but not one over which I was able to exercise much control. Especially since I frequently ended up roasting outside, so as to not incommodate people with fumes, noise, and chaff. The few homeroast batches which didn’t work probably failed because of low ambient temperature.

One reason I stuck with poppers for so long was that I had heard that dedicated roasters weren’t that durable. I’ve probably used three or four different hot air popcorn poppers, over the years. Eventually, they just stop working, when you use them for coffee beans. As I’d buy them at garage sales and Salvation Army stores for 3-4$, replacing them didn’t feel like such a financially difficult thing to do, though finding them could occasionally be a challenge. Money was also an issue. Though homeroasting was important for me, I wasn’t ready to pay around 200$ for an entry-level dedicated roaster. I was thinking about saving money for a Behmor 1600, which offers several advantages over other roasters. But I finally gave in and bought my i-Roast as a kind of holiday gift to myself.

One broad reason is that my financial situation has improved since I started a kind of partial professional reorientation (PPR). I have a blogpost in mind about this PPR, and I’ll probably write it soon. But this post isn’t about my PPR.

Although, the series of events which led to my purchase does relate to my PPR, somehow.

See, the beans I (indirectly) got from Roastmasters came from a friend who bought a Behmor to roast cocoa beans. The green coffee beans came with the roaster but my friend didn’t want to roast coffee in his brand new Behmor, to avoid the risk of coffee oils and flavours getting into his chocolate. My friend asked me to roast some of these beans for his housemates (he’s not that intensely into coffee, himself). When I went to drop some homeroasted coffee by the Station C co-working space where he spends some of his time, my friend was discussing a project with Duncan Moore, whom I had met a few times but with whom I had had few interactions. The three of us had what we considered a very fruitful yet very short conversation. Later on, I got to do a small but fun project with Duncan. And I decided to invest that money into coffee.

A homeroaster seemed like the most appropriate investment. The Behmor was still out of reach but the i-Roast seemed like a reasonable purchase. Especially if I could buy it used.

But I was also thinking about buying it new, as long as I could get it quickly. It took me several years to make a decision about this purchase but, once I made it, I wanted something as close to “instant gratification” as possible. In some ways, the i-Roast was my equivalent to Little Mrs Sommers‘s “pair of silk stockings.”

At the time, Mon café vert seemed like the only place where I could buy a new i-Roast. I tried several times to reach them to no avail. As I was in the Mile-End as I decided to make that purchase, I went to Caffè in Gamba, both to use the WiFi signal and to check if, by any chance, they might not have started selling roasters. They didn’t, of course, homeroasters isn’t mainstream enough. But, as I was there, I saw the Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton, a “hand-cranked” coffee grinder about which I had read some rather positive reviews.

For the past few years, I had been using a Bodum Antigua conical burr electric coffee grinder. This grinder was doing the job, but maybe because of “wear and tear,” it started taking a lot longer to grind a small amount of coffee. The grind took so long, at some points, that the grounds were warm to the touch and it seemed like the grinder’s motor was itself heating.

So I started dreaming about the Baratza Vario, a kind of prosumer electric grinder which seemed like the ideal machine for someone who uses diverse coffee making methods. The Vario is rather expensive and seemed like overkill, for my current coffee setup. But I was lusting over it and, yes, dreaming about it.

One day, maybe, I’ll be able to afford a Vario.

In the meantime, and more reasonably, I had been thinking about “Turkish-style mills.” A friend lent me a box-type manual mill at some point and I did find it produced a nice grind, but it wasn’t that convenient for me, partly because the coffee drops into a small drawer which rapidly gets full. A handmill seemed somehow more convenient and there are some generic models which are sold in different parts of the World, especially in the Arab World. So I got the impression that I might be able to find handmills locally and started looking for them all over the place, enquiring at diverse stores and asking friends who have used those mills in the past. Of course, they can be purchased online. But they end up being relatively expensive and my manual experience wasn’t so positive as to convince me to spend so much money on one.

The Skerton was another story. It was much more convenient than a box-type manual mill. And, at Gamba, it was inexpensive enough for me to purchase it on the spot. I don’t tend to do this very often so I did feel strange about such an impulse purchase. But I certainly don’t regret it.

Especially since it complements my other purchases.

So, going to the i-Roast.

Over the years, I had been looking for the i-Roast and Behmor at most of the obvious sites where one might buy used devices like these. eBay, Craig’s List, Kijiji… As a matter of fact, I had seen an i-Roast on one of these, but I was still hesitating. Not exactly sure why, but it probably had to do with the fact that these homeroasters aren’t necessarily that durable and I couldn’t see how old this particular i-Roast was.

I eventually called to find out, after taking my decision to get an i-Roast. Turns out that it’s still under warranty, is in great condition, and was being sold by a very interesting (and clearly trustworthy) alto singer who happens to sing with a friend of mine who is also a local beer homebrewer. The same day I bought the roaster, I went to the cocoa-roasting friend’s place and saw a Behmor for the first time. And I tasted some really nice homemade chocolate. And met other interesting people including a couple that I saw, again, while taking the bus after purchasing the roaster.

The series of coincidences in that whole situation impressed me in a sense of awe. Not out of some strange superstition or other folk belief. But different things are all neatly packaged in a way that most of my life isn’t. Nothing weird about this. The packaging is easy to explain and mostly comes from my own perception. The effect is still there that it all fits.

And the i-Roast 2 itself fits, too.

It’s clearly not the ultimate coffee geek’s ideal roaster. But I get the impression it could become so. In fact, one reason I hesitated to buy the i-Roast 2 is that I was wondering if Hearthware might be coming out with the i-Roast 3, in the not-so-distant future.

I’m guessing that Hearthware might be getting ready to release a new roaster. I’m using unreliable information, but it’s still an educated guess. So, apparently…

I could just imagine what the i-Roast 3 might be. As I’m likely to get, I have a number of crazy ideas.

One “killer feature” actually relates both to the differences between the i-Roast and i-Roast 2 as well as to the geek factor behind homeroasting: roast profiles as computer files. Yes, I know, it sounds crazy. And, somehow, it’s quite unlikely that Hearthware would add such a feature on an entry-level machine. But I seriously think it’d make the roaster much closer to a roasting geek’s ultimate machine.

For one thing, programming a roast profile on the i-Roast is notoriously awkward. Sure, you get used to it. But it’s clearly suboptimal. And one major improvement of the i-Roast 2 over the original i-Roast is that the original version didn’t maintain profiles if you unplugged it. The next step, in my mind, would be to have some way to transfer a profile from a computer to the roaster, say via a slot for SD cards or even a USB port.

What this would open isn’t only the convenience of saving profiles, but actually a way to share them with fellow homeroasters. Since a lot in geek culture has to do with sharing information, a neat effect could come out of shareable roast profiles. In fact, when I looked for example roast profiles, I found forum threads, guides, and incredibly elaborate experiments. Eventually, it might be possible to exchange roasting profiles relating to coffee beans from the same shipment and compare roasting. Given the well-known effects of getting a group of people using online tools to share information, this could greatly improve the state of homeroasting and even make it break out of the very small niche in which it currently sits.

Of course, there are many problems with that approach, including things as trivial as voltage differences as well as bigger issues such as noise levels:

But I’m still dreaming about such things.

In fact, I go a few steps further. A roaster which could somehow connect to a computer might also be used to track data about temperature and voltage. In my own experiments with the i-Roast 2, I’ve been logging temperatures at 15 second intervals along with information about roast profile, quantity of beans, etc. It may sound extreme but it already helped me achieve a result I wanted to achieve. And it’d be precisely the kind of information I would like to share with other homeroasters, eventually building a community of practice.

Nothing but geekness, of course. Shall the geek inherit the Earth?

Café «troisième vague» à Montréal

J’ai récemment publié un très long billet sur la scène du café à Montréal. Sans doûte à cause de sa longueur, ce billet ne semble pas avoir les effets escomptés. J’ai donc décidé de republier ce billet, section par section. Ce billet est la quatrième section après l’introduction, une section sur les cafés italiens de Montréal et une section sur le «café à la québécoise». Cette section se concentre sur l’arrivée du café de «troisième vague» à Montréal.

J’essaie de décrire un changement assez radical dans la scène montréalaise du café: la présence de cafés produisant du café «troisième vague» (“Third Wave”).

Depuis près de trois ans, Montréal dispose de cafés qui font un café d’un type très différent de l’espresso à l’italienne ou de l’allongé à la québécoise. Ce style de café, originaire de la Côte Ouest, est lié à ce qui a été désigné comme une «troisième vague» dans l’histoire du café en Amérique du Nord. Un peu comme la notion de «Tiers-Monde», le terme “Third Wave” est utilisé sans référence très directe aux deux autres termes qu’il sous-entend. Et, comme dans tout mouvement contemporain, il y a une certaine fluidité sémantique, un certain «flou artistique» face au sens et à la référence de ce terme.

Dans les milieux liés au café, le terme me semble surtout être utilisé pour désigner un établissement dont les membres suivent la «philosophie de la troisième vague» ou pour qualifier a posteriori un espresso qui correspond à une certaine norme de qualité. Cette norme n’est pas absolue. Elle correspond en fait à une «esthétique» particulière du café. Mais elle est fort intéressante.

Petite explication (ou «avertissement»)… Mon entraînement gustatif au café précède la troisième vague. Et si j’apprécie le café de type “Third Wave”, je crois avoir établi que j’aime aussi d’autres styles de café. Amateur de diversité, je me réjouis du fait qu’il m’est maintenant possible de boire du «café à l’italienne», du «café à la québécoise» et du «café troisième vague».

Avant d’entrer le détail de ce qui distingue le café «troisième vague» d’un point de vue sensoriel et technique, une petite historique de l’arrivée de ce type de café à Montréal.

À l’automne 2005 est ouvert sur le Plateau le premier Caffè ArtJava, œuvre de Spiro Karagianopoulos et de Mauro Maltoni. Ayant vécu à Vancouver, Spiro avait décidé d’«importer» le style de café West Coast assez représentatif de la troisième vague. ArtJava a par la suite ouvert une deuxième succursale, au centre-ville (Président-Kennedy et Université). Anthony Benda, originaire de Vancouver et formé au Caffè Artigiano, était chez ArtJava pendant quelques temps, tout d’abord travaillé sur le Plateau puis au centre-ville. Il y a environ un an et demi, Anthony a participé à l’ouverture du Café Santé Veritas, étendant ainsi la dimension «troisième vague» de la scène montréalaise du café à une seconde institution. Il y a quelques semaines, Anthony a ouvert le Café Myriade avec Scott Rao et c’est selon moins un événement déclencheur dans ce que je pressens être la Renaissance du café à Montréal (si si! j’insiste).

Une grande particularité de Myriade est d’offrir une variété de cafés (mélanges ou d’«origine unique») qui sont préparés selon diverses méthodes: espresso, siphon, cafetière à piston (à la Bodum), filtre conique individuel et Café Solo.

J’ai déjà blogué, en anglais, au sujet de Myriade, lors de son ouverture le 27 octobre. Mes premières et secondes impressions étaient très positives. J’avais de grandes attentes face à un café ouvert par Anthony Benda. Myriade répond à ces attentes. Outre la qualité du café servi par Anthony et ses associés, je perçois chez Myriade une sorte d’effervescence dans la communauté montréalaise d’amateurs de café.

Anthony Benda a donc travaillé aux trois principaux cafés que j’appellerais “Third Wave” à Montréal. Il est donc une figure marquante et je suis fier de le compter parmi mes amis. Mais il ne faut pas oublier Spiro Karagianopoulos, qui semble rester dans l’ombre, mais qui fait un travail acharné pour donner à Montréal cette impulsion qui, selon moi, peut permettre à Montréal de redevenir une destination pour le café.

Spiro est aujourd’hui lié à la maison de torréfaction 49th Parallel de Vince Piccolo, à Vancouver. Vince Piccolo a ouvert le Caffè Artigiano avec ses frères Mike et Sammy. Ce dernier est un champion canadien de concours de baristas, ayant remporté à plusieurs reprises le Canadian National Barista Championship.

(Pour la petite histoire… En tant que juge lors de la première journée de cette compétition, le mois dernier, j’ai eu l’occasion de déguster et d’évaluer l’espresso de Sammy Piccolo. À l’occasion, j’aime bien parler de mon statut de «juge de baristas» parce que ça m’amuse. Ce qui n’implique pas grand-chose.)

Puisque plusieurs cafés montréalais à tendance «troisième vague» utilisent le café de Vince Piccolo, les liens entre Vancouver et la scène montréalaise du café sont assez particuliers. D’aucuns croient même que la scène du café à Montréal ne serait rien si ce n’était de ces liens avec la Côte Ouest. J’espère avoir donné un autre son de cloche.

Outre Anthony et Spiro, il y a plusieurs autres acteurs dans la scène montréalaise du café qui réponde favorable à la notion de troisième vague. Un d’entre eux, Jean-François Leduc, a ouvert le Caffè in Gamba à l’été 2007 (peu après l’ouverture de Veritas). Si je n’ai pas inclus Gamba dans mon petit historique de la troisième vague à Montréal, c’est que Jean-François est, selon moi, parmi les rares «agnostiques» par rapport à cette distinction entre la troisième vague et le reste du monde du café. D’ailleurs, Jean-François importe des mélanges à espresso directement d’Italie. Avocat de formation, il s’est lancé dans le milieu du café suite à un séjour prolongé à Rome. Il a d’ailleurs des liens familiaux avec des italiens et a bénéficié assez tôt de ce «sens italien de la communauté» que j’ai mentionné dans un autre billet.

Gamba est un endroit unique. Pas seulement pour Montréal. En grand passionné du café, Jean-François réussi à apporter à Montréal de nombreux mélanges à espresso qui n’étaient disponibles que par correspondance. Parmi ces mélanges, certains sont assez notoires, dans le milieu Third Wave: Intelligentsia (Chicago), Vivace (Seattle), PT’s (Topeka), de Zoka (Seattle). Jean-François réussit régulièrement à obtenir d’autres mélanges, faisant profiter la scène montréalaise du café dans son ensemble d’une grande diversité.

C’est à l’ouverture de Gamba que j’ai commencé à parlé de «Renaissance montréalaise du café». L’ouverture de Myriade est donc la «deuxième lance», comme diraient les Azandé selon Evans-Pritchard. La mise en scène est désormais complète pour la nouvelle phase dans l’histoire du café à Montréal.

Jean-François Leduc est donc à la jonction entre le café à l’italienne et le «café troisième vague». C’est d’ailleurs en discutant avec Jean-François que j’ai réussi à préciser, dans ma tête, certains détails me permettant de différencier le café Third Wave d’autres cafés.

Je différencierai donc le «café troisième vague» du «café à l’italienne» dans un autre billet.

Café à la montréalaise

Montréal est en passe de (re)devenir une destination pour le café. Mieux encore, la «Renaissance du café à Montréal» risque d’avoir des conséquences bénéfiques pour l’ensemble du milieu culinaire de la métropole québécoise.

Cette thèse peut sembler personnelle et je n’entends pas la proposer de façon dogmatique. Mais en me mêlant au milieu du café à Montréal, j’ai accumulé un certain nombre d’impressions qu’il me ferait plaisir de partager. Il y a même de la «pensée magique» dans tout ça en ce sens qu’il me semble plus facile de rebâtir la scène montréalaise du café si nous avons une idée assez juste de ce qui constitue la spécificité montréalaise.

Continue reading Café à la montréalaise

Judging Eastern Canadian Espresso

For an ethnographer, it’s always a treat to gain entry in a new group. These past few days, I was given a glimpse, and possibly even some new contacts, into an espresso scene which includes dedicated coffee professionals from diverse regions.

I was acting as a sensory judge for the Eastern Regional competition of the Canadian Barista Championship, right here in Montreal.

Part of this event was blogged:

» Blog Archive » Bravo Montreal!

Though the event was held on Sunday (June 15) and Monday (June 16), I haven’t been able to report back on the experience until today. And I still haven’t completely debriefed with myself about this.

A general comment I can make is that there does seem to be a move toward an enhanced espresso scene in Eastern Canada. And although this recent competition’s first place was given to a barista from Ottawa (sincere congratulations, Laura!), I maintain that Montreal can be at the centre of a coffee renaissance.

Of course, I’m completely biased. And I’ve been talking about this same issue for a while. What is new, for me, is direct experience in Montreal’s espresso scene. Participant-observation in a very literal sense.

As a personal aside: though it’s the furthest thing from what I try to be, some people tend to find me intimidating, in daily life. As a judge, I was apparently quite intimidating, even to people who already knew me. I usually feel weird when people find me intimidating but, given the context, the reaction seems quite appropriate. I had to maintain a straight face and to refrain from interacting with competitors throughout the competition. Though it was a bit hard to do at first, it seems to have worked. And I felt very consistent, fair, and impartial throughout the competition.

Also somewhat personal, but more directly related to the task at hand, being a judge required me to temporarily change my perspective on espresso. Specifically, I had to separate my personal taste from the competition calibration. This barista championship has some strict guidelines, taken from the World Barista Championship. We weren’t judging whether or not the espresso was flavourful or complex. We were assessing the degree to which baristas were able to produce espresso which responded to some very specific criteria. To this ethical hedonist, it was a challenge. But it wasn’t as difficult a challenge as I expected.

Since my approach to food and beverages is based on reflective olfaction, the fact that aromas weren’t part of the judging calibration seemed especially surprising to me.

Obviously, I observed a lot more. And I could blog about my perception of the competitors. Yet because I was acting as a judge, talking about specific competitors would seem unethical. On the other hand, I will have occasions to talk with some former competitors and give them my impression of their work. This should be quite fun.

So, overall, I’m quite grateful to everyone involved for an occasion to get a glimpse into a part of Eastern Canada’s espresso scene.

Should be fun during the national competition of the Canadian Barista Championship, which will be held on October 21 and 21, during the Canadian Coffee & Tea Show. Not sure I’ll be a judge then, but I’m convinced it’ll be a fine event.

Confessions d'un amateur de café

Topo de Janie Gosselin sur le café à Montréal.
Janie Gosselin : J’aime ta couleur café | Actuel | Cyberpresse
Elle parle de Caffè in Gamba, Veritas, «Toi, moi & café»… et de votre humble serviteur.

En fait, ça me surprend un peu qu’elle puisse me mettre autant en évidence. Mais si ça peut donner la puce à l’oreille de plus de gens, qu’il se passe quelque-chose du côté café à Montréal, c’est peut-être pas plus mal. Surtout qu’on a encore peu parlé de la scène du café à Montréal, à part lors d’un épisode de L’épicerie.

Ah oui, pour préciser. L’«équivalent d’une quinzaine d’espressos par jour», c’est parce que je bois deux fois du café de ma cafétière moka de six tasses et plusieurs autres cafés durant la journée, y compris des espressos et du café de ma cafétière Brikka. C’est une façon de parler, mais on dirait que ça marque… 😉

J’imagine que je vais devoir faire plus de billet sur le café, y compris en français. La plupart de mes billets sur le café sont en anglais.

Montreal Coffee Renaissance?

Just posted a message about my Caffè in Gamba, a new café in Montreal.

CoffeeGeek – Regional: Eastern Canada, Caffè in Gamba (Montreal Intelligentsia)

Because this café’s website isn’t online yet, I would need to repeat the info. The café is located in a new building at 5263 Park Ave., between Fairmount and Bernard. It’s first claim for fame is that it’s the first place in Montreal to have Intelligentsia coffee on its regular coffee menu. But I think it’ll become much more than this.

Owner J.F. Leduc is surprisingly soft-spoken for a passionate coffee lover. But I think he prefers it if the coffee “can speak for itself” instead of him having to hype coffee enjoyment out of existence. In fact, he has a bit of the same humble attitude you would notice in an actual barista in Northern Italy. They know what they like but they remember that they’re in the service industry! 🙂

I think Leduc can become a key player in the broader movement to make Montreal a real coffee destination.

Granted, I tend to be overly enthusiastic about such things. And I’ve been disappointed in the past. But I have a good vibe, especially after I got a chance to chat it up with Leduc.

I also notice something bigger, happening in town. There’s a number of Montrealers who really care about coffee. And Montreal’s ready for a new phase in its coffee history.

Veritas, in Old Montreal, is home to Anthony Benda, whom I consider the best barista in Montreal. They sell the Epic blend from Vancouver roaster 49th Parallel. My hope is that Veritas can help people understand the beauty that is West Coast style espresso in a culinary context.

Gamba has a different role, in my opinion. It may become a local hangout and certainly has the potential to educate people about the pleasures of espresso drinking. But my feeling is that it may spread other aspects of café culture and/or be part of something more specific to Montreal.

I’ll certainly go back to Caffè in Gamba in the near future and, as soon as they have their site up, I’ll link to it from this blog as well as other online venues.

In the meantime, maybe somebody can help J.F. set up his wireless router? 😉