Calgary’s Top 5 Coffee Shops


mC:t    2015.08.04



Calgary’s Top 5 coffee shops you should know about and why


I know what you’re thinking, “Oh wow, another post about coffee shops, really?” Yes, really even though we all know the majority of Canadians love Timmy’s; trust me, I can’t get enough of the IcedCap. At the same time, we also know that successful coffee shops rely heavily on their prime location, great tasting coffee, and good customer service. Pretty simple, right? Yes and no, especially if we are talking about the top 1%. At this level, it is a whole different ball game. The cafe’s I am talking about are the kinds of coffee shops that trigger a craving for the experience after months of not even thinking about it. It is a league of coffee shops that thrive on the pride of their reputation, the art of their craft, and a sense of engagement with the community that is beyond “just another business in town.” From the many coffee shops in Calgary, here are our top 5 (in no particular order) great coffee shops explained from “ground” up.

Analog Coffee

analog coffee


Caffe Beano

cafe beano



Kawa Espresso Bar

kawa espresso


 Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters

phill & sebastian


 Vendome Cafe




Starting on a larger scale, successful coffee shops seem to always be strategically situated on corner parcels to get double frontage with large pedestrian boulevards. Extra front and side square footage does not hurt because they can always arrange some furniture outside, cover it with a canopy, and watch the seats fill up faster than you can say “mochaccino”. Even if there are several storeys or a tower above, this brings the scale of the building down to something that is more pedestrian friendly and less intimidating. Furthermore, these coffee shops generally have their doors propped open, so even when passing by on a Sunday walk through Calgary downtown and wondering if it is open, there is no need; the open door is a welcoming gesture in itself!

One of the biggest contributors to the experience is the amount of natural light in the space. Large storefront windows allow for a tremendous amount of diffused light to enter the space, despite theunique light fixtures present to energize the space. Moreover, there is something about the energy of a hectic atmosphere in and around the coffee shop that attracts even more clientele..



Engaging the senses

Even though most have a fairly simple façade on the outside, the real story begins when you walk inside. Right from the entrance, it starts to feed your senses. Your eyes are captivated by the artwork hung on the walls, while your ears take in the sounds of laughter, chatter, and the coffee press synchronized in a chaotic, yet perfect, harmony. The smell of fresh coffee and pastry draws you towards the stone marble counter, and as you sit down to delight your taste-buds with your meal, you notice the unique selection of furniture, fixtures and finishes. Unlike the standardized corporate palette with neutral colors that is usually copy/pasted in every branch, this selection was purposely chosen to come together and work with the orientation and layout. You’re not constantly bombarded by “special deals” advertisements, or the company name on every piece of merchandise. Things are kept beautifully simple but within character. Additionally, as busy as it may be, the music in the background shields your privacy and soon enough, you’re on your way to your deepest reflections (or meetings) which is what cafés are meant to do.
So the next time you’re in the area, be sure to check out these coffee shops! If you think your favorite coffee shop should have made our list, let us know in the comments below!




Next: Coming soon…
Previous: St.Patrick’s Island



[1] Photo taken by author
[2] Photo taken by author
[3] Photo taken by author
[4] Photo taken by author

[5] Photo taken by aircanada and justinpoulsen

[6] Photo taken by author



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  1. John Manzo says:

    CAFFE Beano. Italian. Caffe, not “cafe.” No accent either.

    Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters is the name of the business.

    Vendome is just Vendome, and it’s more of a restaurant than a coffee house. It doesn’t belong on this list.

    I’d put Gravity, Rosso, Kaffeeklatsch, Savour, Baya Rica, and Luke’s Drug Mart ahead… way ahead… of Vendome on this list.

  2. Ah yes! Great coffee deserves great pastry! Did you know Beano bakes Pascal’s pastries fresh every morning?

    Caffe Beano is also the granddaddy of the third wave coffee movement celebrating 25 years and has been around almost longer than the other cafes combined!

    One day, maybe someone will talk about the pastries in Calgary the way they talk about the coffee. We may be a little biased (ok we’re a lot biased :)) but we think a pastry can make or break your coffee… 😉

    Bon appétit!

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