It’s not easy to find the perfect cup of coffee. Just ask José Lomeli – as Vice President, Operations & Purchasing at Sunterra Market, he spent nearly five years, a few international trips and infinite meetings searching for the best coffee to serve customers across all market locations. And now thanks to Lavazza and Genuine Tea, he and the team have finally found consistency in every cup.
“We wanted to offer the best quality and best experience for our customers,” says José.
It all started in 2014, he tells me as we sit down in the café at West Market Square. The market is bustling with people and Christmas music is singing out of the speakers. As he sips an Americano from a white porcelain cup, José explains that he and his colleagues first tried Lavazza coffee at The Italian Store in Calgary. They were meeting with Scarpone’s, one of Sunterra’s import suppliers, and ordered espresso from the coffee bar there. The crema on top was thick and velvety; it looked awesome, says José.
At the time, each Sunterra Market location had different coffee offerings which resulted in varying experiences for customers at each market. The team wanted to unify the coffee program, José says, but knew that any change would impact all Sunterra’s customers.
“It had to be awesome coffee,” he says. So he and the team started learning about coffee – origins, roasts, machines, drying methods, transportation, freshness and everything in between. They looked at local and international roasters, touring facilities and tasting cup after cup. They toured Eataly locations in New York City in 2016 and found Lavazza on the menu. They traveled to Italy in 2017 and were also served Lavazza in the coffee shops there.
Each cup of coffee was consistently great, says José, which is due to Lavazza’s coffee concept. The company was started in Turin, Italy by Luigi Lavazza in 1895. Luigi would have a flavour profile in mind and then blend different beans together to achieve that taste regardless of the time of year or harvest, which was revolutionary in Italy at the time. Now four generations later, Lavazza has some of their own coffee shops, but the focus is still on roasting incredible, consistent coffee blends month after month and year after year.
“The quality of the coffee is great, and something we feel excited about bringing to our customers,” José says.
Sunterra’s coffee bar now offers four different drip coffee options: dark, medium, light and decaf as well as a ton of espresso-based hot and cold beverages. Drink like an Italian with a standard espresso – nothing but pure coffee flavour – or ask for your espresso blended with cioccolata Italiana; a rich, dairy-based hot chocolate that makes the perfect mocha. For sweet treats served cold, José recommends a blended crème drink: available in caramel, chocolate, hazelnut, strawberry, vanilla, mocha or espresso flavours!
And for the tea drinkers, you’ll find award-winning whole leaf Genuine Tea on offer. This Canadian company (and District Ventures alumni) was founded by David O’Connor and Sarah Wilcox after years of living and traveling through Asia. Enjoy a variety of green, black and herbal teas (sencha Kyoto or organic turmeric gold latte anyone?).
No matter what you put in your cup, says José, it’s all about enjoying the experience. Whether you sit down for tea with friends or grab a latte as you fill your grocery cart, take the time to savour each sip.