At The Other Side of the Bar, On the Other Side of the Rockies

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In our recent travels to Alberta, we’ve not failed to pay visits to our extended family in the Canadian specialty coffee scene. One particular coffeeshop comes to mind; a sleek, yet warmly rustic coffeeshop whose snug interior was only accentuated more by the true ‘wonder and warmth’ of the hospitality we’d received upon arrival. Entertained by one of the owners, whose charming affability as a person paired very well with his talent behind the bar, finding ourselves inside another independent coffeeshop really felt like home away from home.

Revelling in a shot of Colombian espresso, rich and creamy and layered with tones of chocolate then being treated to a delightfully fragrant pourover of Kenyan origins, we reflected on how this coffeeshop’s culture very much mirrored that we possessed at home. The culture of genuinely seeking to serve people to the best of their capabilities as coffee makers, the culture of putting

a conscious effort into connecting with their customers across the bar — crossing the bridge from client to friend, the culture of a shared vision and a harmony, a oneness amongst the staff.

From the perspective of a young and growing coffeeshop, the strong culture of authenticity that all other independent coffeeshops embody takes a great part in setting us apart in the vast, vast world of the coffee industry. In specialty coffee, the strictest and most serious attention is paid to serving coffee that is of high quality — a meticulous scrutiny that starts from the coffee beans’ first growth to the final cup landing in the drinker’s hands. What we’ve found however, is that this commitment to upholding quality extends far beyond just offering someone a really good cup of coffee. It transcends simply providing an enjoyable drink and turns that into an experience in and of itself. The passion you witness from owners and baristas in independent coffeeshops all across the board is resolute — individuals in this industry truly do wish to share what they love with everyone, coffee enthusiasts or not, who would are willing to take a step forward with them.

At the very start of our journey in the specialty coffee scene in the Canadian market, we had anticipated a certain loneliness— as one would when challenging the status quo. Standing by our values of offering our would-be customers quality-driven coffee in its purest form was a daunting prospect we faced daily. However, witnessing firsthand other independent coffeeshops and

their passionate baristas uphold the same vision and pursue the same goals that we ourselves are trying to achieve is enormously encouraging and comforting. To know that although thousands of miles apart, there are other specialty coffee advocates pushing for the this renewed concept of quality coffee in such a young market, gives us a source of strength and empowerment to continuing doing what we do.

We, at Timbertrain, are always very excited to share our passion for coffee with those who wish to come aboard, and it is absolutely enthralling to see that this enthusiasm is universal. We are very glad to know that we are not alone in trying to reach our goals, and that there are others we can call friends in the scene, friends that share the same values as we do, that we can team up with to collectively and effectively move mountains in the specialty coffee scene of Canada. It is empowering, as well as amazing, to see other independent coffeeshops and their skilled and ever- growing baristas so passionately dedicated to revolutionizing this industry, and themselves as individuals, onwards and forwards for generations to come.