September 25, 2018
Russ Prefontaine had his first cup of coffee at age 5. Milling about with the adults after church, it took nine creams and likely as many sugars to make him feel like he was one of the grown-ups.
If you think five seems a bit early to be caffeinating, you don’t know Russ. His family has been in the coffee business since the 1970s, so this aromatic beverage has always been part of his life. As President of Calgary-based Fratello Coffee Group, Prefontaine learned the artisan coffee trade from his parents. His brothers are also in on the family business. Their mission is to get great local coffee in more Calgarians’ hands, and Calgary Co-op is helping them do it.
Artisan Cold Brew Coffee From Analog Coffee Now At Co-op
Co-op is now carrying coffee products from Analog Coffee Roasters and their Analog Coffee brand.
Two new cold brew coffee products are now in stores. For the uninitiated, cold brew coffee is made by steeping fresh ground coffee in cold water for several hours. Avoiding the use of scorching hot water, the mixture (which is then filtered) produces a much lighter, fresher and more fragrant coffee with none of the bitterness that may be associated with traditional hot coffee.
“We do a 14-hour brew time and we just came out with two varieties,”explains Prefontaine, “One is our Godfather Espresso, which is the number one selling product we have. And then we have a seasonal cold brew coffee which is a single-origin Ethiopian which is lighter, and has more of a floral or lemony-mint undertone.”
The cold brew is sold in cans in the specialty beverage case (where you’ll also find kombucha and fresh juices) under the label Analog Coffee, and while canned coffee may seem non-traditional it’s actually quite common in the United States where it’s taken off, in part because it’s a unique drink.
“What you’re going to find is a very different beverage than a hot coffee. It’s going to be smooth, creamy and naturally sweet,” offers Prefontaine.
Fratello’s Analog Coffee Beans Arriving Fresh at Neighbourhood Co-op Stores
Also arriving to Calgary Co-op stores is a selection of Analog fresh roasted coffee beans, meaning Fratello fans no longer have to migrate to the inner city to get their fix. Godfather Espresso along with Bolivian, Guatemalan, Costa Rica, Colombian, and Ethiopian beans will be available.
High end, local artisan coffee available at a local grocer? While some may scoff, Prefontaine says that making their quality coffee more accessible is a win for both them and coffee lovers.
“I haven’t seen anyone do something like this; go with a truly artisan roaster and present in a way, where this is a unique local offering,” marvels Prefontaine. “We’re going to ensure that the coffee on the shelf is at certain freshness; it’ll be around 30 days so anything past 30 days, I’m going to pull off the shelf and replace with freshly roasted coffee. So you’ll see coffee on the shelf that is only days out of the roaster, and we have the roasted-on date right on the bag.”
Take the Analog Challenge
Prefontaine suggests customers take his challenge: buy one bag of Analog beans to taste the difference, then make the coffee as they do in Fratello’s Analog coffee shops: grind the beans only as you need them, and use fresh filtered water.
How to choose the perfect bag for you? Analog Coffee beans aren’t labeled by roast profile, so you won’t see light, medium, or dark on the bag. Instead you’ll find a flavour description more akin to fine wine or a decadent dessert. The labelling is designed to feature some of the coffee’s more subtle flavours that might make it more appealing to coffee drinkers and convince them to branch out.
“The hardest part about selling coffee of this quality is finding like-minded customers who value what we do. So, to find a partner like Calgary Co-op who is so in line with our values of working at farm level, creating long-term relationships, supporting small producers, and with the same focus and growth strategy is outstanding. Co-op has an immediate desire to bring on higher quality local products. For us, it’s not about price, it’s about how we can make a better product and Co-op is fully supportive of doing that. It’s honestly a breath of fresh air.” Or a sip of fresh coffee.
Find Fratello’s Analog Coffee beans and cold brew coffees at Calgary area Co-op stores.
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