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Epicurious: The fine art of coffee making

Vancouver-based café chain Artigiano opens Whistler location
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Artigiano’s new Whistler location places an emphasis on good coffee done with a flourish.

For the average coffee drinker, it can be easy to overlook the finer points of artistic coffee creation.

But behind the scenes at Artigiano—Whistler Village’s newest café experience—baristas take pride in brewing the perfect blend with an added artistic flourish.

“It is a craft for people that want to learn it, and do it well,” says Angela Lovegrove, owner of the new Artigiano location in Marketplace.

“And you have different levels of artisans—you’ve got people that can do a heart, not a problem, and then you’ve got people that do rosettas, and then you’ve got people that can do a swan … and we don’t use sticks, it’s all free-hand pour.”

A pioneer of Canadian coffee culture, the first Artigiano was opened on Hornby Street in Vancouver more than 20 years ago.

The brand has since expanded to 16 cafes in B.C. and three in Alberta, in many instances (and as is the case in Whistler) taking over old Starbucks locations.

“So far so good—people are getting to know we’re there,” Lovegrove says of the new Whistler location.

“We’re getting a lot of surprised people that walk in with their Starbucks app saying, ‘Oh, is this not Starbucks?’”

A former executive chef, Lovegrove served as an Artigiano manager for more than four years before becoming a franchisee, and now calls Whistler home.

The food menu in the new location features everything from fresh-baked croissants and cookies to artisan chocolate and wraps and sandwiches made to order.

The shop’s breakfast egg bites (spinach and feta or bacon and edam) have proved to be an early favourite amongst customers, Lovegrove says.

“And the pizza bagels are really a big hit, we have a garlic truffle aioli, which is amazing,” she adds.

The interior of the shop features a mural by award-winning B.C.-based graphic artist Alex James Fowkes.

“This mural is all about consciousness,” says Fowkes of his mural Keep it Wild, in a release.

“The coastal mountain range is a beautiful place to live, work, and play. As a mindful resident of the Sea to Sky corridor, it’s important to ensure everyone considers how they move through and impact their surroundings. 

“Keep it Wild is all about emphasizing the ‘pack it in, pack it out’ ethos. Leave a space better than you found it, call people out who are not respecting the land or nature, and consider every footstep.”

With its beans roasted locally in Burnaby, Lovegrove says the secret to Artigiano’s success is simply good coffee.

“That and the artisans—the idea that we do art, and we do it well,” she says.

“I train all my team members to know and understand coffee, and understand the bean, and understand the nuances of the different roasts.”

While it’s still early days for the new location, Lovegrove says Whistlerites have been very welcoming so far.

“I have to say kudos to the people in the Village and the community at large for coming in and supporting us,” she says.

“It’s been a really positive experience that way so far with the community, and the locals that have been waiting, because that space has been empty now since March.”