Rufino Espresso #FoodieDaysofChristmas Contest
Sunday mornings are made for coffee. What’s in your cup today? Canadian coffee has a certain roll-up-the-rim reputation. But with coffee consumption surpassing tap water in our own true North home, we started to wonder if people really knew what they were waking up with in the mornings. Whether you flick a switch on a home brewing machine or visit the cafe down the street, we think that just like a great meal, your coffee should be memorable. So when John Rufino, the master roaster behind Classic Gourmet Coffee and Rufino Espresso, invited us for a coffee 101 class at his lab, we could not resist. It’s time to literally wake up and smell the coffee, people. Not all cups can be considered equal.
When people think of coffee beans, fragrant brown beans littering a grocery aisle often come to mind. Images of farmers in other nations with slogans like “fair trade” and “organic” flood chain hallways, but that’s usually where the conversation stops. With John, ethics don’t stop at the delivery of their pesticide free pale-green beans. With samples coming in from 40 different bean producing regions, a term called ‘cupping’ samples each batch carefully before it makes it to the next stage. In the first North American system of it’s kind, John’s stainless steel plant uses a hot air convention system for roasting. That means the environment is sparred 77% of traditional CO2 emissions associated with the process, and sippers aren’t going to taste rust or paint chips in their beans. Even low density beans and dirt get filtered out, an uncommon process. Win-win-win, really. But John wasn’t setting out to be specifically “green” when he purchased his advanced roasting system in 2002. A man after our own hearts, it’s all about the taste. Controlling each stage of heating the beans means controlling it’s overall quality.
With memories of his mother pouring coffee in to his milk at lunch time in the region of Calabria, Italy, one could argue that good coffee is in his blood. With over 30 years of experience, stepping up his technological game means often taking some heat from his artisanal competitors. John is adamant about letting his senses dictate his product. All the bells and whistles just give him the opportunity to play maestro. Behind his futuristic three-monitor wide station, his craft is just as apparent as his joy.
When it comes to catching Canada up with it’s European predecessors, John and his team make sure that their product isn’t just shipped to stores to burn or water down. Becoming a supplier of his artistry means getting some seriously thorough training on how to prepare the perfect cup. And what does it all come down to? The basket size! In Italy, 7 grams of coffee go in to making a great espresso. In North America, that can sky rocket to 25 grams! In the case of most great things, less is more. With espresso basing so many popular drinks ranging from cappuccinos and lattes to macchiatos and mochas, this caffeine overload really surprised us. Maybe that’s why we so often reach for a coffee to get a jolt more often than we do to just experience it’s flavour. John’s tip for at-home baristas? Replace the blades in your coffee grinder like you’d sharpen a chef’s knife. A good grind of a great bean and you’ll be in business. Also, don’t just rely on your machines water temperature control. Experiment with what produces what tastes best for you.
It’s no surprise that some of Toronto’s highest end coffee producers are getting on the Rufino bandwagon, even though they won’t necessarily advertise it. In fact, John and his team are interested in supporting and growing businesses, and, don’t put a focus on marketing their own name so heavily. It’s almost a trade secret that’s slowly being shared from restaurants, coffee shops, and stores that take the time to taste the difference a well roasted bean makes.
Dying to taste some today? A trained cup can be served up at the following locations, to name a few: Cafe Con Leche, Cafe Plenty, Jimmy’s Coffee, and Colette Grand Cafe. It is no surprise that these are some of the best places to grab a cuppa around the city. Cheers to clean beans and really considering that single, double, or triple shot! Now, we’re off to find some pastries worthy of being served alongside.
For today’s #FoodieDaysofChristmas contest, we have teamed up with the good folks at Classic Gourmet Coffee & Rufino Espresso to provide you with a prize pack that will make your mornings (and afternoons and evenings) tastier than ever. Enter the contest below for your chance to win one (1) of three (3) prize packs consisting of four (4) 340g bags of various Rufino Espresso Blends. Don’t forget it’s not too late to enter our contest for a prize pack containing Jewels Under the Kilt Nuts and Organic Gold Mustard, and, if you were on our mailing list, you received a newsletter with a link to a special contest exclusively for newsletter subscribers on Friday.