It’s always a sad day when a great place to eat, drink and gather closes.
Such is the case with Java Jamboree, which is shutting its doors at the end of March because of escalating rents in the Cochrane, Alberta mall where it has resided for 13 years.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Java Jamboree has long been my favourite coffeehouse in the Calgary region. The reasons are many.
First, the coffee (from Phil & Sebastian and Bows & Arrows beans) is exactingly produced by well-trained baristas and often presented in little bone-china cups, a lovely touch.
Second, unlike most coffeehouses, there’s good food, much of it made in house. Like my aged cheddar panini on rye, with caramelized onion jam and a little dish of homemade ketchup—all served on a wee cutting board.
Third, and certainly unlike better known artisan coffee shops in Calgary, the owner, Jess, is invariably there, preparing lunches, doing pour overs and chatting with the regulars.
And that’s going to be the greatest loss: a community of disparate souls that regularly gathers for a relaxing java in a wonderful space, lovingly decorated and featuring the work of local artists. Indeed, an artist who regularly makes the journey here from Calgary came up to me to decry the loss of this vital local business.
Maybe the rise in rents is just a business decision. But in a burgeoning town that’s steadily losing its western heritage, and in a mall of mostly indistinguishable tenants, Java Jamboree was an independent light of character and community. And now that light is going out.
9, 312 5 Avenue West, Cochrane, Alberta
Monday to Saturday 8 am-6 pm, Sunday 9 am-6 pm
But not all is bad news in the Calgary-area coffee scene. I just met some friends at the newish Caffe Artigiano location near Mount Royal University, their first cafe outside downtown. When I wandered into the roomy, glass-walled space at the bottom of a new office building, I noticed nearly a dozen black-clad employees behind the coffee bar.
They were being trained in preparation for next week’s opening of yet another Artigiano location, this one in a brand-new building in the fashionable southwest Britannia neighbourhood (look out Starbucks!).
So I amble up to the bar and notice three lattes, with lovely foam art, sitting on the counter. “Are you giving away those training shots?”, I ask somewhat innocently. “Sure. Let me give you a hand taking them to your table.”
Now, you know I’m not going to say anything bad about $10 worth of free coffee. But these were indeed flavourful, full-bodied cups, and I’ll certainly be back, happy to pay full price.
They get bonus points for the treats—pastries from Manuel Latruwe, scones from Sidewalk Citizen and muffins from another local baker. Sounds like they’re planning on doing some in-house baking in the future.
110, 5010 Richard Road SW (four other Calgary locations)
Weekdays 7 am-4 pm. Closed weekends