It all began when the dream of opening a quality driven, community oriented café came true with Rosso opening it’s doors in Ramsay, September 2007; Calgary’s newest hidden gem was born. As with any new business venture, challenges and triumphs lay in wait for the future ahead, unknown to David – the visionary behind Rosso – who would spend those first six months working every aspect of the shop by himself. That is, until he hired his first employee in February, the following year.
In December of 2009, the success of fresh pastries, delicious coffee and warm hospitality led to the addition of a new location in Calgary’s downtown core. Now, a bustling cafe in the heart of Calgary’s downtown theatre and arts district. A short walk from the Telus Convention Centre, where the cafe is located, to City Hall, ArtsCommon, Olympic Plaza and the famed Glenbow Museum.
Once again, in 2012 we were able to expand and grow through the support of our city. This year was a game changer for us. In June, we opened our third cafe location in Victoria Park – one of Calgary’s oldest and most heritage rich communities. Now, an area in the midst of gentrification through condo developments, the Calgary Flames organization and the Calgary Stampede.
With three cafes operating in the city, it was time to reshift our business structure. David and his new-business partner and brother, Cole are firm believers of the in-house mentality. At this stage, we had full control over our food program, doing all of our pastries, breads and sandwiches in house. It was time to take our control to the next level, and that meant further control of our coffee program.
Over a year of research and study in the roasting side of the business led to one of the best choices we’ve made to date. In November of 2012, we introduced a Probat L12 coffee roaster to our Ramsay location. This was after we spent time in the States, absorbing knowledge from industry professionals and practicing the art of roasting on a 100gram Primo sample roaster. This addition to Rosso meant we were now responsible for sourcing and roasting all the coffee served on location. Allowing us greater control of our production, our craft, and changing the way we look at coffee as a whole.
As a company, we have now traveled to Guatemala, Costa Rica, Rwanda, Myanmar, Brazil, Burundi and Colombia to purchase green coffee direct from producers and we plan for return visits to harness and build on those relationships – with the same care and intention we maintain relationships with our cafe customers and suppliers. From there, we’ve introduced weekly quality control programs to further understand the science behind coffee varietals, processing methods, roast profiles, brewing parameters and palette development.
On February 25th, 2016, we proudly opened the doors to our new flagship location in Inglewood, Calgary. This was the first time we’ve taken a blank slate space and truly made it our own. Located in one of Calgary’s original neighbourhoods, rich with history and bustling with community. This space captures Calgary’s wealth of sunshine and redistributes it over it’s over a plethora of communal seating. Giving warmth and life to a space designed for communal use.
On Canada Day of 2016 we celebrated the newest addition to Calgary’s stretching skyline, the National Music Centre, StudioBell. We are thrilled to have opened our fifth cafe location inside the doors of this iconic building. High ceilings, communal tables and warm interior help compliment the amazing interior inside StudioBell. Located in the East Village of Calgary, a neighbourhood filled with green ways, developing condos, public space, pathways, Fort Calgary and the new Calgary Public Library. The city recently deemed the stretch of road from the National Music Center to the end of Inglewood as Music Mile.
Fast forward to December of 2016 and another long anticipated location opens on 17th Avenue in the Beltline district of Calgary. Just steps off the Stampede C-Train station with another handful of steps leading you into Mission, the Repsol Sports Centre, an endless pathway network and some of the most walkable streets in town. High ceilings, bright decor and youthfulness round out the inspiration behind our sixth Calgary location.
These six cafe locations all managed to be located in the central-Southeast of Calgary. It wasn’t until March 2017, we were fortunate to introduce ourselves in the amazing community of Tuxedo in North Calgary. This neighborhood has a young up-and-coming demographic intertwined with classic European shops and culture. Featuring a plant wall, nitro-cold brew and arguably one of the best South facing patios in Calgary. This marked a seventh Rosso location in the hometown.
In September of 2017, we threw an amazing party to celebrate our 10th birthday! Calgary sure knows how to celebrate.
In October of the same year, we were awarded the ATB Small Business of the Year through the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. This was a humbling experience being granted such an honor in a city so diverse and so driven by entrepreneurship. Later in the month David and Cole were named to Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40. We owe these successes to our amazing community.
In May of 2018, our team was humbled when Cole won the Canadian Barista Championship. With only three weeks to practice before the World Barista Championship in Amsterdam, we were once again humbled, honoured and amazed to make the Finals and finish 5th amongst 58 countries that were represented.
In March of 2019, once again we were able to obtain the first place in the National Barista Championship, as well as fifth place. Following that, in April of 2019, we traveled to Boston to compete once again in the World Barista Championship and improved our ranking from the year prior, finishing 3rd place out of 54 countries.
Today, no longer as Caffe Rosso, but rather Rosso Coffee Roasters, David’s vision is beginning to come into full focus. The partnership of Jessie and Cole has helped take Rosso a step further with quality, service standards and a few steps deeper into coffee’s production. It’s important for us to understand where coffee comes from, and how variables at the farm level, the roasting process and through choice of brew method, have diverse effects on how the final cup will taste.
We at Rosso have a firm belief that coffees are individualistic, little story tellers that, when showcased properly are the ultimate reward. These values will be the guiding force of Rosso’s future. We will continue to develop the relationships with coffee producers and share their stories as a means to ensure that both producer and consumer is achieving the best possible quality and value.
At the end of the day, we’re trying to facilitate a story of growth and passion. Not just our story, but the story of our coffees, their producers and our partners.
Cheers, to coffee, and all of its intricacies,
Jessie, David, Cole and the whole team at Rosso
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