For Mike Wenzlawe, coffee is the quintessential beverage for the wilds of western Canada. Wenzlawe and his partner Jamie Parker used to work as wildland firefighters and to give themselves a boost at lunch time, the duo would make coffee, first roasting green coffee beans and then brewing the freshest roasted coffee you can imagine.
“It's called Cowboy Coffee; there's no filter, there's none of that. You basically boil your water in this pot, you dump your ground coffee in there, stir it around with a stick and then let it sit for 5 or 10 minutes,” explains Wenzlawe.
Later, on a backpacking trip with Parker, Wenzlawe says the two had an epiphany that there was no coffee available in Calgary that tasted as good as what the pair were roasting on their wilderness excursions.
“Nothing tastes better than when you are in the outdoors, it’s a connection and experience that we wanted to create in the city. Something that spoke true to what we feel Alberta and the outdoors is all about.”
So three years ago, Wenzlawe and Parker began building their dream business: Calgary Heritage Roasting Company. Today several of their products are available at Calgary-area Co-op stores.
Calgary Heritage Roasting Company’s Indonesian, Colombian, Guatemalan and a Decaf Peruvian can all be found on the shelves, wearing their distinctive rustic paper bags with simple black labelling.
“We specialize in a very high-quality premium craft coffee that is all single origin,” offers Wenzlawe, “We don't do any blends. All of them are 340 grams and they're all a medium roast, so you won't ever get that burnt, ashy, astringent taste from the coffee.”
Wenzlawe feels Calgary Heritage Roasting Company is part of a new wave of coffee culture in the city where coffee drinkers are becoming more discerning in their tastes, demanding higher quality, more flavourful coffees, even when brewing at home.
“All the coffee you get from us will be bold but not bitter, it’s smooth and approachable. It’s easy drinking; think flavours of dark chocolate, nuttiness, and smokiness, that kind of thing.”
The drive for a better cup of coffee at home is partly what’s driving interest in companies like Calgary Heritage Roasting Company, and why Co-op stores are stocking more local roasters’ offerings.
“Working with Co-op has been a goal of ours ever since we started,” admits Wenzlawe, “Co-op is a store that puts a heavy focus on buying local. When customers are looking for products that are of a higher quality, that are organic or whatever it may be, they know that they can go to Co-op and find them there. And we’re glad to be one of those choices on the shelf.”
Wenzlawe encourages customers to try a bag of their locally roasted beans, saying they might be surprised that it could change their habits in a way they never expected.
“Often people doctor their coffee with cream, milk, or sugar, but our coffee is so smooth, and so approachable that a lot of people are actually surprised to find they can drink our coffee black!”
Calgary Heritage Roasting Company Tasting Notes
Bold but not bitter, savoury and delicious to the last drop, this easy drinking coffee will have you craving cup after cup.
This robust bean is sure to put a pep in your step! It boasts a bold dark chocolate flavour that is espresso-like and full bodied.
This is an adventurous bean with caramel/toffee flavours that are smooth, creamy and memorable, providing you with the kick you need.
Decaf that doesn’t taste like decaf! This chocolaty, full bodied, and robust coffee will leave you satisfied without the jitters!