The neighbourhood of Kensington is considered Calgary’s urban village. It’s filled with with eclectic shops, gorgeous views of the downtown core, and a charm unlike many other places in the city.
And in the coming days Kensington is about to welcome another exciting business to its core. Good Trade Company is set to open its doors in the flat-iron style building which was previously the home of Jugo Juice. They reached out to me and invited me to a sneak-peak of their coffee shop just before they officially open to the public.
I am so excited to share with you more of the story of Good Trade Co. and share with you a bit of what you can expect from this new coffee shop. I met up earlier this month with Brandon Waardenburg (co-founder & director of Canadian operations) and Lillie Cameron who handles their social media & marketing to get a glimpse into the build out as it neared the final stages. The building is quite a unique footprint, but the team at Good Trade have done an excellent job at utilizing every square-inch of space. You walk in and immediately are greeted by crisp white walls, maple wood, and loads of natural light. Much of that has to do with the massive curved window at the back of the building which is going to be everyone’s favourite place to sit and sip on their coffee. They’re calling that spot “the living room”.
I can already picture this cozy corner of the cafe becoming a favourite for Instagram pics, and for lots of conversations, first-dates, and business pitches. This is easily my favourite part of the cafe and I have a feeling it’s going to be yours too!
Much of my time that I spent at the cafe was chatting with Brandon and getting to know all about Good Trade Co. to be able to tell you more of their story in anticipation of when they open their doors.
Introduce our readers to the team at Good Trade. Who’s who? How long has each been with the company?
[Brandon] The products we source and the programs we run are all backed by decades of best practice, care and experience. Part of our team works in Colombia and some are based in Canada, so we can develop relationships on both the supply and demand end of things.
Brandon Waardenburg – Cofounder, Director of Operations (Canada)
Guillermo Muñoz – Cofounder, Director of Business Development (Canada)
Andres Vanegas Moller – Cofounder, Product Development and Expansion (Colombia)
German Munoz Celeita – Cofounder, Education (Colombia)
Jose Manuel Hower, cofounder, community development
Our team behind the bar is exceptional as well. They all really know their stuff, and love to talk about coffee, or anything really. When we were hiring for our new location, we were looking for kind and passionate people with exceptional barista skills. We’re proud to say we pay them a living wage.
Q: How long has Good Trade Coffee been around? Tell our readers a bit more about how it began?
[Brandon] Good Trade Coffee Company was born from personal experience. Co-founder Guillermo Munoz was living in Colombia and saw economically-struggling families in conflict zones lacking the education, leverage and tools to be sustainable – but with decades of expert knowledge about growing coffee and a desire to share their product with the rest of the world.
When I met Guillermo we were both working at The Mustard Seed in Calgary, Alberta. When I [Brandon] lost my job as director in early 2016, it was a decisive moment. We decided to take the opportunity to realize our side project: bringing really, really good coffee from Colombia to Calgary with the goal of supporting the people who actually grew the coffee.
We opened our Crossroads Market location in October 2018 and the response each and every weekend was so overwhelmingly positive, now we’re open a full-time coffee shop in Kensington. We are so grateful for all the people who have supported us.
Your mission says Good Trade is about “Coffee with purpose…Direct trade coffees from small-hold Colombian farms.” Tell our readers more about this. How did you establish these direct trade partnerships?
[Brandon] There are over 600,000 farming families in Colombia, and 60-65% live below the world’s poverty line. At the same time, they produce quality coffees from every region in the country. Honestly, it’s not difficult to find producers to build relationships with that could use a hand up – the challenging part is knowing where to focus. We do this in both academic ways and through our own networks – this side of the business is done through our staff in Bogota. We perform Needs Assessments on potential communities to identify their challenges and opportunities (we ask how we can best help them, we’re not there to act like saviours) and we look for the right producer/entrepreneur in the area that we can begin to work with – someone who has a passion for their region and is already transforming it. We then partner with them to further empower them.
Essentially, we are the missing link for these small-scale producers to access a larger global market and continue this wonderful tradition despite the inner turmoil Colombia has been through in recent years – which has devastated many rural agricultural communities. We pay our producers a fair price for their products, but we go beyond a fair-trade price and develop direct trade relationships with them and invest back into their communities. The profits from each bag of coffee goes directly back into the producer’s community to fund education and training as well as support the producer’s bottom line. We also support education programs in the local schools of each producer’s community to ensure the future is in good hands.
Q: Why stick exclusively in Colombia for your beans instead of bringing in beans from other origins?
[Brandon] All in with people means, all in with Colombia! That’s our mission.
We are built from the ground up to address social and economic issues through coffee. And because Colombia is such a geographically diverse country, it allows us to dive into each region in detail – we call it micro-regional coffee. Also, because Colombia has an abundance and diverse range of socio-economic issues, there are lifetimes of work to be done. So, we have the opportunity to showcase all of the producer’s amazing work in a way that creates a better future for the part of Colombia they farm. For us, doing this ONE THING really, really well is what we’re about.
Your new cafe is located right in the heart of Kensington. Recently the very Starbucks in Calgary closed its doors not too far from here. So what made you decide to open up in this part of Calgary?
[Brandon] We aren’t trying to be the new Starbucks or compete with the well-established and beloved coffee shops already in the neighbourhood. We have a different approach. We think there’s room for everyone in a community that so passionately supports the businesses and values it believes in. And those are the qualities that made us want to open in this area. We already feel so welcomed and can’t wait to get to know the community more and find ways to give back.
Tell the readers of thebloom.coffee a little bit more about what they can expect when the come to your new coffee shop?
[Brandon] We can’t wait to welcome Calgary into this space, which we designed to be a place to showcase the work our partner farmers are doing and serve as a “third place” for the community to gather and connect. Studio Rae did the interior design, and their Instagram is @studio.rae.interiors
– Hours of operation: 7am-7pm (Mon-Sat) & 8am-5pm (Sunday)
– WiFi: Oh yeah!
– Food/Baked Goods: Yup!
We also have a curated selection of sweet (you HAVE to try the cream puffs) and savoury food items from Blue Bakehouse, including sandwiches. It’s incredible baking done locally that will remind you of home. Their Instagram is @bluebakehouse
Our coffee is roasted locally here through SchoolHouse Roasting Collaborative. We offer our coffee for retail in 1lb bags and have no plans to change that!
Share a bit more about the coffee you have available for retail/on bar right now.
[Brandon] All the coffees we have behind the bar, we have for sale in our coffee shops as well. Starting with our Nariño Blend, we have roasts for Espresso and a Medium for Filter. Coming out of the southwestern Nariño region of Colombia, this is a blend of beans from six small farming families that has tasting notes of hibiscus, black tea and strawberry that are showcased uniquely with both roasts. Then we have our Mora Mora for Filter, this is a single origin coffee with notes of chocolate, floral and stone fruit. We also have a beautiful decaf option for Filter that also works well as an Espresso, from the area of Huila, Colombia.
Q: When is the Grand Opening? Tell our readers what you’ve got planned for the special day!
[Brandon] Our Grand Opening party is set for Saturday November 30th beginning at 7am! Everyone is invited to stop by to celebrate with us, try our coffee, and meet myself, Guillermo and the barista team. It’s a chance to hang out and get to know our new neighbours, and enjoy some good music.
Everyone who comes through the door can enter to win a gift basket from Good Trade Co. including a $50 gift card to Good Trade Co., custom merchandise and accessories, tea from Sarjesa Inc. and of course, coffee to make at home. We’ll be doing complimentary coffee tastings outside (weather permitting) and inside all day and have some surprises planned, so make sure to stop by sometime that weekend (Nov. 30-Dec. 1)!
I really enjoyed this entire experience working with the team at Good Trade Co. They are incredibly passionate about showcasing the amazing coffee currently coming from Colombia, and they cannot wait to share this with the city of Calgary.
Getting the chance to sit down one-on-one with Brandon and to hear his vision for this cafe in the heart of Kensington was a lot of fun. He is super-committed to seeing their mission fulfilled of “supporting low-income producers, their families and their communities in the areas of education, sustainable agriculture and economic growth.”
And not to mention, you can be a part of helping to fulfill this mission too by paying a visit to their cafe in the coming days and getting yourself some of their amazing coffee.
For those of you (like myself) who really geek out over coffee gear, Good Trade is running a 2-group La Marzocco Linea PB Auto-Volumetric Espresso Machine in their classic black & chrome finish. Grinding is done on two Nuova Simonelli Mythos One’s, while their batch brew is handled by a Fetco 3L Twin Station XTS brewing system. Coffee will be served out of cups from Acme & Co. I seriously love this company and love their mugs & cups! If you have no idea about any of this, don’t worry about it. What I can assure you is that because of all of this amazing gear, you’ll truly enjoy an amazing cup of coffee!
Find their beans:
If you’re looking to get your hands on some beans and you can’t make it down to their cafe in the next few days then definitely check out their web-shop for what they’re currently roasting!
One of the best things you’ll be interested in knowing is that they offer free delivery to any Calgary address with a minimum of a $26 dollar order! That’s a sweat deal.
Stay tuned in the coming days for some more fun & exciting announcements in regards to the Grand Opening of this new cafe. And again a huge thanks to the team at Good Trade for the chance to share your story!
And don’t forget about their Grand Opening happening on Saturday November 30th from 7am-7pm! Follow their social feed on Instagram to make sure you don’t miss out on anything as this amazing cafe opens its doors in the community of Kensington.
Oh…and here’s a few more pictures just to get you even more excited about how amazing this new cafe is.