Okay, I’ll say it. *Java Jamboree, in the bedroom backwater of Cochrane, is one of the best coffeehouses in Alberta. Take that, snooty Calgary and Edmonton.
The reason is threefold: first-rate coffee, a place you want to linger in—beyond staring at a computer screen—and fine food that’s largely made in house.
Let’s start with the most important thing, the coffee. Young owner Jess Johnston or any of her exacting baristas can make coffee any newfangled way you want: espresso-based, inverted Aeropress, Chemex or pour over. Ironically, the only knock I have on Java Jamboree is its reliance on lightly roasted beans from Calgary’s Phil and Sebastian and Victoria’s Bows & Arrows. I just like a darker roast.
Second, there’s the setting. Sure, Java Jamboree is in a nondescript mall with Safeway and Canadian Tire as neighbours and an acre of parking in between. But step inside the door, and you enter a calming world of beige walls decorated with good art, reclaimed wood tables and brushed aluminum chairs, a comfy couch, soft lighting from hanging fixtures and an unobtrusive jazz soundtrack that promotes actual conversation or book reading.
Finally, there’s the food, a trucked-in or warmed-up afterthought at most cafes. Here, there’s a short but good menu of house-made fruit scones, breakfast wraps, a daily soup and a couple of paninis. The culinary features are four grilled cheese sandwiches, highlighted by an aged cheddar with caramelized onion jam and prosciutto and a side of their own ketchup.
So, you might prefer a café in Alberta that serves a bean or even food you like better. But I challenge you to find a place that can match these three pillars of a great coffeehouse.
#9, 312 5 Avenue West, Cochrane, Alberta
Monday to Saturday 8 am-6 pm, Sunday 9 am-6 pm