Transcend Garneau Café
8708 — 109 St.
Signature Dish: Tiny Belgian Waffles ($3)
Signature Drink: Anything coffee!
I lined up the four competitors for our first coffee competition. Each roasted in the past two days, the 400-gram bags of Transcend beans ($15) proudly listed countries, growers’ collectives and altitudes of origin, as well as helpful instructions for my drip coffee maker at home.
Each bag also offered handy descriptors, so we knew that campo alegre from Colombia is dark, chocolate, floral, fresh and spice. I decided to sample each one blind in order to avoid bias.
Kenya’s dark karatina is a Transcend entry point for the Starbucks drinker. However, its strong, aggressive flavours didn’t leave that acidic residue on my tongue. Ethiopia’s amaro gayo, on the other hand, was a bright and sharp appeal to the Second Cup crowd. I adored its weird aftertaste of lime that lingered after each sip.
The campo alegre was a powerful, mellow blend which Tim Hortons fans can embrace. It takes well to double-doubling but it has a lot more substance than expected. Finally, the delarisse francys from Brazil was a slow burner. I’m not sure if I tasted “almonds, chocolate, sweet nuts and dark berry”, but I enjoyed a damn good cup of the mild brew.
The superbly-trained counter staff can rip a perfect cappuccino or steer you toward the right blend, and there are new beans arriving constantly. Enjoy a transcendent cup of coffee, at home or abroad.
Bakery Wild Earth Bakery Café has opened its new expansion, so we might be able to get a seat now, instead of standing awkwardly in the popular spot. Stick with fair-trade coffee and fresh baked goods or go a little crazy with salad, soup or vegan fare.
Solutions Spend Saturday mornings with Gail Hall of www.seasonedsolutions.ca — shop for fresh ingredients at the downtown farmers’ market, then cook a fabulous meal to share in her loft.