Baya Rica Cafe Ltd
By Ellis Choe

Passionate Venture

What do an IT specialist who loves to surf and a synchronized figure skater with a fashion industry background have in common? Randy and Joan Coleman love good coffee — to the point where their passion for the brew not only drew them together but got them growing and roasting their own beans before opening Baya Rica Cafe in 2013.

“It’s completely different from anything that either of us have ever done,” says Joan. “It’s what we feel passionate about.” So far, so great. “I’m super jazzed,” says Randy. “These are exciting, challenging times.” One of the few coffee hangouts in Calgary with its own in-house roaster, Baya Rica serves freshly roasted, freshly ground specialty coffee from Costa Rica in a quaint yellow bungalow in Bridgeland.

It’s through the terroir and the roasting that flavours are developed. We definitely focus on the nutty and chocolatey notes. - Joan Coleman, co-owner
coffee, espresso, French Press, latte, cappucino, fresh muffins, weekend brunch
Baya Rica serves freshly roasted, freshly ground specialty coffee from Costa Rica. Photo by Ellis Choe

From Crop to Cup

The idea of a coffee business venture began percolating after a friend’s wedding in Costa Rica opened the couple's eyes to amazing surfing and coffee opportunities. Prior to that, the Colemans had trouble finding a cup of java in Calgary that suited their palates. In Costa Rica, they discovered several farms producing coffee to their liking. One thing led to another and the couple bought their own farm in Costa Rica and then decided to share their ideal cup of coffee with Calgarians by opening a café. Baya Rica features beans directly from their farm as well as from growers in four other regions in Costa Rica.

coffee, espresso, French Press, latte, cappucino, fresh muffins, weekend brunch
The Spanish words, "baya rica" literally mean rich coffee berry. Photo by Ellis Choe.

Rich Coffee Berry

The Spanish words, "baya rica" literally mean "rich coffee berry." “Many people may not realize that coffee beans are actually the green seeds in the bright red berries that grow on a coffee bush,” says Joan. On the Colemans’ farm, these berries are pitted, sun-dried and polished before being shipped to Calgary and freshly roasted to a familiar dark-chocolate brown.

The roasting process is key to creating the desired flavours. The Colemans have come up with their own special roasting recipe tailored to small 15 kilogram batches in their in-house roaster. Joan likens it to producing fine wine. “It’s through the terroir and the roasting that flavours are developed,” says Joan. “We definitely focus on the nutty and chocolatey notes — the very low notes as opposed to the higher, brighter notes of citrus.”

"Some coffee has a drying effect on your mouth but ours is sweet and creamy with well-balanced acidity,” adds Randy. The result is a rich, smooth, almost chocolatey cup of coffee — just the way the Colemans love it. Apparently so do many others who have become regulars at Baya Rica including Jean Choe. “Their coffee really stands out from any other coffee I’ve ever had and I’ve been drinking black coffee for 30 years,” says Jean. “Their coffee doesn’t have the usual thin, sour or bitter taste. It’s just delicious, rich, dark, well-rounded coffee. It’s my go-to place for coffee now. Luckily I live close by!”

coffee, espresso, French Press, latte, cappucino, fresh muffins, weekend brunch
Baya Rica Cafe is located in a little yellow bungalow in Bridgeland.
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