The Coffee Market is no regular neighbourhood café. The inviting little Kensington shop with the recycled barn-wood main counter serves a delicious cup of specialty coffee at its small coffee bar, but owner Rob Lehnert says that’s not its central niche. “We find the market really lacks a place where you can get educated on home brewing,” he explains. “What we’re trying to do is serve you a great cup of coffee but also allow you to replicate that at home.”
The shop’s staff members happily assist customers in finding everything they need to make the perfect cup of coffee, including advice. “There are so many variables that go into making a great cup of coffee: the equipment, the beans and the grind you use and the temperature of the water,” says Rob.
The Coffee Market carries a good selection of espresso machines, French presses and coffee grinders by brands such as Bodum, Breville, Rancilio, Hario and more. It also carries its own house-brand Café Xaragua coffee beans, the shop stocks a wide selection of beans that includes Calgary's Rosso and Cappuccino King as well as Marley Coffee, Illy Coffee and more. The diverse selection of premium beans invites coffee-loving patrons to browse, learn and discovernew favourites.
You'll also find a large selection of mix-and-match, single-serve Keurig coffee discs, allowing you to sample flavours without committing to the purchase of an entire package.
While setting customers up with top-flight brewing equipment and the best of beans, Rob’s business savvy dovetails with a strong social conscience. A graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business in Ontario, he and two friends took to the back roads of Haiti in search of coffee-based business opportunities that might benefit the earthquake-ravaged country.
What they found on their 2011 exploration was a small processing facility and coffee-farming co-operative in the island nation’s remote highlands. Importantly, the area’s beans also happen to be exceptional. “They’re super-smooth beans that produce really clean coffee. It’s said to be the original strain of coffee that originated in Ethiopia,” says Rob, adding that traditional farming methods also improve the flavour. Returning home to New Brunswick, Rob worked to build a business based on this newfound connection.
Finding a perfect fit with a Canadian roaster was not easy given Rob was just 21 years old, but he persevered. A partnership with a Calgary roaster brought him from the East Coast to Calgary permanently. The upstart entrepreneur launched Café Xaragua, an exclusive importer of coffee beans grown wild in the forest shade of rural Haiti.
While selling coffee beans at two Calgary farmers’ markets, the idea to launch The Coffee Market grew. He found a warm welcome among Kensington's boutiques, restaurants and fellow coffee houses.
Rob now sells this premium fair-trade bean by the bag and serves it by the cup in his shop's café. For each bag of Xaragua coffee sold, the company plants a coffee tree in Haiti, further benefitting growers. “It’s definitely a mutually beneficial relationship,” says Rob. “They have a buyer for their product, and we have customers here that enjoy a good, quality cup of coffee.”