Thursday, October 28, 2010

Credo Coffee, 104th Street, Edmonton

“Exceptional Coffee – One Cup at a Time”

For many of us, a coffee shop is an oasis, a place where we can sit quietly and read or visit with friends. Credo Coffee, on 104th Street in downtown Edmonton, became my home away from home last week.

A home hobby that got out of control
Geoff Linden is the owner of Credo Coffee. Geoff says that coffee was a “home hobby that got out of control.” He started out searching for a good cup of coffee and progressed to buying bigger and bigger expresso machines. Now he owns a coffee shop.

The timing was right. Geoff’s two sons were grown, and he had time on his hands. His wife was a teacher and had a steady income. “I decided to give it a shot,” he says. “If it didn’t work, I could go back to a regular job.”

Geoff knew about 104th Street and what people hoped it would become, and he wanted to be a part of it. Credo was the first tenant in the Icon Tower when it opened in June 2009.

Geoff had expected that the Icon condo residents would be his primary customers. Instead, it’s the whole neighbourhood. “There’s a real community feel,” says Geoff, “the condos, the warehouse lofts, the independently-owned businesses. We’ve become really good friends. I love the people who come in here every day.”

Intelligentsia coffee
Credo serves Intelligentsia direct trade coffee. Direct trade coffee is sourced from individual farmers and farms.

“One of the Intelligentsia partners travels 90% of the year tasting and buying coffee,” says Geoff. Intelligentsia’s first priority is quality, but because they have a direct connection with the individual farmers, they can reward the ones who farm ethically.

“It’s not cheap,” says Geoff, “but this is one way we can give back to parts of the world that we may never visit but whose products we enjoy.”

Freshly roasted and freshly ground
Credo receives weekly shipments of freshly-roasted coffee. “Now it’s our responsibility to brew it so that everything that’s in the bean comes through in the coffee,” Geoff says.

Geoff only purchases as much coffee as he thinks they will sell in a week. It can be touch and go if they have a busy day, and there are times when they are avidly waiting for their next delivery. Any coffee that is left over at the end of the week goes to the food bank.

Credo’s attention to detail doesn’t stop there. They grind and brew the coffee as you order it, one cup at a time. Each station grinds just enough coffee beans for a single cup of coffee.

“We have a really good system,” Geoff says. “You never have to wait more than 4 or 5 minutes.” The Edmonton City Market draws 20,000 people to 104th Street every Saturday from spring until fall; this would be the test of the single-cup system. And Credo pulled it off. They make hundreds of cups of coffee on market days, and each one is prepared individually.

There are three stations – two for expresso and one for brewed coffee. “We really pride ourselves on our brewed coffee,” says Geoff. “We give it equal space and a separate station.”

Fresh food from scratch
Credo deliberately offers only a very limited amount of food, but what they do offer is freshly-made, from scratch every day. I can testify to the quality of the grilled bocconcini and arugula sandwiches, and the macchiato brownies with cream cheese icing are awesome.

“Bring what’s inside of us out”
Geoff is a calm, quiet person who is obviously very fond of his staff. He praises them for getting to know the customers, remembering their orders and creating community. Geoff says that it is a joy for him to come to work. Well, it’s a joy for us as well – fresh, honest food and drink served by honest, caring people. It restores my faith in humanity when I talk with someone like Geoff.

Black Stilt Coffee Lounge in Victoria, BC, shares many of Credo’s beliefs about direct trade coffee. And Saskatonians can drink fresh coffee by the cup at Museo Coffee (Jimmy, the owner, is a friend of Geoff’s).

1 comment:

Bonnie Zink said...

Now you are speaking my language, Penny. I've been to this shop and it truly does meet my high standards. Great place & great coffee -- thanks for sharing.