Transcend Coffee's ambassadors make several international trips each year in their search for green coffee farms. They meet with small-scale, eco-friendly growers to tour their crops and microbrewing mills, focusing on building long-term relationships with those who are passionate about coffee. They then buy directly from the farmers, shipping beans back across oceans to Transcend Coffee's central roastery and three cafés scattered across Edmonton. Here, they roast and brew specialty artisan coffees, educate their visitors on the background of each batch, and illustrate the brewing process through interpretive dance.
Using ever-evolving methods, the brewers adopt a trial-and-error approach to defining each coffee's definitive flavour profile. Two licensed Q coffee graders often smell and taste each batch of coffee, and they sort coffees based on rigid quality standards, looking for underdeveloped roasted beans known as “quakers” or “the stupid lighter ones.”
The cafes boast shelves of roasted coffees such as bwayi from Burundi, michioy from Guatemala, and certified organic beans from Santa Lucia. In the store, staffers also point out the highlights of automatic drip brewers, manual brewers, and bean grinders from manufacturers such as Baratza, Bonavita, and Technivorm.
Cold Stone’s ice cream, made in-store daily, inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its super-premium quality as it glides over taste buds. Ice-cream voyeurs can create their own ice-creamplosion from old favourites or unheard of delights ($2.89–$4.59 with two mix-ins), eliciting taste tests of dozens of silky flavours such as cake batter, cotton candy, and piñata. Each ice-cream creation generously welcomes up to two of the shop's dozens of mix-ins as traditional as Oreo cookies and chopped nuts or as quirky as pie crust. Those willing to bequeath the invention of creamy concoctions to the professionals can try a Cold Stone Signature creation, such as the almond-studded and caramel-slathered Coffee Lovers Only or the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection with Reese's peanut-butter cups, fudge, and a side of endorphins ($3.99–$5.75). Once concoctions are chosen and perfected, they're scooped cold into freshly made waffle cones or bowls.
JoJo's Cafe whips up a sensory bouquet of caffeinated quaffables and palate-beguiling pastries in a charming European-style café setting. This Groupon entitles you to a punch card good for five potable pick-me-ups as well as 20% off any edible items such as homemade baked goods, chef-prepared light meals, or gelato.
The bakers at Delish Custom Cakes & Sweets cultivate more than 20 flavours of cupcake, and take care to coat each in colourful homemade icing and decorations. The PB&J cupcake transforms the preferred lunch of Fortune 500 CEOs into a delectable dessert, culling strawberry or raspberry jam filling into a vanilla cake crowned in peanut butter buttercream. Other varietals such as the mint chocolate, chocolate peanut butter cup, and rocky road shrink-zap tried-and-true flavours into cuter, smaller forms. Take the tiny cakes to go or lounge casually inside the eatery while spying on larger desserts custom adorned for weddings and other events with intergenerational dancing.
Tutti Frutti’s self-serve yogurt ($0.48 per ounce) represents a healthy and delectable alternative to heavy ice cream and deep-fried sticks of butter. Get your fruit fix with tart flavors such as pomegranate, acai berry, and the aromatic lychee, or opt for something on the creamy side. Cappuccino diehards will scramble to sample its yogurt counterpart, and pistachio’s distinctive flavor will bring back memories of that magical summer spent toiling on a Turkmenistan pistachio farm. Finally, adorn your edible artwork with a sprinkling of some of Tutti Frutti's 50 toppings. Health nuts can keep it ab-tastic with mango and blueberries, and others can turn their yogurt into a breakfast fit for hours of cartoons with Fruity Pebbles and cookies. More experimental appetites, meanwhile, can transform their yogurt into a battlefield on which chocolate chips do battle with their natural enemy—coconut. And if just the thought of combining pineapple and almonds on top of strawberry-cheesecake frogurt freezes your brain, dairy-free and no-sugar added options are also available.
A bakery outlet for Canada Bread Company Limited, McGavin's offers rows of loaves at wholesale prices. Fill bare cupboards or secret floorboard compartments with discount bread facing a dwindling shelf life, surplus bread from overzealous production lines, and fresh bread from local bakeries. McGavin's white or 100 per cent whole-wheat loaves (five loaves for $10.49) prove eminently slatherable. Other yeasty feasts include Dempster's Bagel six packs (three packs for $8.99), english muffin six packs (three packages for $6.99), and tortillas (three packages for $8.25). The popular discount special section, meanwhile, invites gluten gourmands to mix and match an ever-changing cast of short-dated dough bookends: every product, regardless of size, grain, or resemblance to Winston Churchill costs $1.39, and shoppers can mix and match an assortment of ten loaves for $12. Discount selections change daily and vary by location.