Barista Magazine

JUN-JUL 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Y E L L O W K N I F E , C A N A D A WHEN I MOVED TO YELLOWKNIFE from Ottawa in 2015, the city had a number of dedicated coffee shops, but none made a cappuccino to my liking. I heard rumors about a mobile coffee bar that crafted delicious and beautiful espresso-based drinks, but never managed to be in the right place at the right time. Then—seemingly overnight—the city of 20,000 experienced what a friend has described as a coffee re- naissance. In the span of 18 months, the mobile bar was joined by three coffee shops and a roastery, all of which could reasonably be described as third-wave. People don't often think of the sub-Arctic as a destination for coffee lovers, but there is a small-but-mighty group of Yellowknife residents working to change that. For those not familiar with Canada's North, Yellowknife is the capital of the Northwest Territories (NWT), the largest (1,346,106 sq km) and most populous (44,469) of the country's three northern territories. Yellowknife is located on the ancestral territory of the Wıìlıìdeh Yellowknives Dene, who know this place as S mba K'è , meaning "the place where the money is." The moniker references the city's mining heritage. It was gold that put Yellowknife—known as the diamond cap- ital of North America—on the map in the 1930s. Today the government of the Northwest Territories is the city's largest employer, and tourism is the fastest-growing industry. Visitors come from all over the world to see the Aurora Borealis, the dancing multicolored lights peculiar to the polar night skies. At 62° north, Yellowknife is in the land of the midnight sun. The long, warm summer days are perfect for gardening, paddling, and dancing up a storm at Folk on the Rocks. During the winter months, the days are short and temperatures are often well below -20°C. Even then, Yellow- knifers can be found outdoors, skiing, dogsledding, or at work on the city's famous Snow Castle. Though distant from major urban centers, Yellowknife is remarkably cosmopolitan, with a diverse population, a vibrant arts community, and an increasingly eclectic food scene. C O F F E E L I C I O U S On a sunny afternoon in February, Verena Faber is installed behind her pop-up coffee bar, Coffeelicious, at the Yellowknife Ski Club serving lov- ingly prepared latte macchiatos and Americanos to ski-suit-clad patrons. I watch as the slight barista cheerfully explains the difference between a fl at white and a cappuccino to a new customer, and offers a tutorial in latte art to a young patron. Verena cut her teeth as a barista in New Zealand. While her partner, Silvan, toiled in the library on his PhD thesis, Verena learned the fi ner points of pulling a shot and steaming milk. Under the watchful eye of the country's top latte artist, she also learned how to make her coffee creations look beautiful. Originally from Germany, Verena and Silvan arrived to Yellowknife in 2012 while on a cross-country tour. They intended to stay for two weeks; fi ve and a half years later, they're still here. Both landed jobs in the mining industry, but coffee was never far from Verena's mind. She saw room in the local market for well-made espresso drinks—she just wasn't Opposite page, at top: Yellowknife is a small city on a big lake in Canada's subarctic. A paradise for outdoorspeople, the city of, 20,000 also has a thriving arts scene and a growing number of restaurants and cafes to serve every palate. Below: When he's not changing diapers, Eric Binion can be found in his compact Old Town shop roasting beans from Mexico, Indonesia, and beyond. Barren Ground Coff ee is commi ed to providing coff ee enthusiasts in Yellowknife and other NWT communities with beans that are ethically sourced, locally roasted, and delicious. This page: Jawah Bercier and her dad, Patrick Sco , opened Birchwood Coff ee K in 2016. The young Tłı̨ch Denewoman is the only Indigenous coff ee- preneur in Yellowknife. She and her staff serve J.J. Bean of Vancouver, B.C., alongside traditional fare like bannock sandwiches and rice pudding in their bright downtown lo cation. PHOTO BY PAT KANE 41 www.baristamagazine.com

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