Say hello to Little Sister Coffee Maker out of Winnipeg. They’re an offshoot of Parlour Coffee, who we featured on Sprudge back in October 2012, and the first Canadian shop to be featured in our Build-Outs of Summer series.

DONA tea, specialty coffee's other half
DONA now serving Matcha
DONA chai, specialty coffee's other half
DONA Cardamom Rose

As told to by Nils Vik.  

Two years ago, almost to the day, I found myself with a set of keys and 420 square feet of retail space in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. I had convinced the landlord and the bank that I was competent enough to open up a coffee shop. I subsequently lived at 468 Main Street for July and August with sawdust in my hair, and proudly opened Parlour Coffee in September 2011.

After a long day of work at Parlour, and a few beers, I am writing to tell you about a new cafe that I am opening with my best pal Vanessa Stachiw. Parlour is opening its second location in Winnipeg’s densely populated Osborne Village. However, we’re not calling it Parlour, because that would be too easy, not to mention boring.

The day I returned from the Melbourne International Coffee Expo, I hauled my jet lagged bottom to sign a lease for 800 square feet of subterranean retail space at 470 River Avenue under the business name of Little Sister Coffee Maker Ltd.

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Vanessa and I are very lovely people and we are going to serve very lovely coffee in a very lovely little space.

Little Sister Coffee Maker, Exterior
Little Sister Coffee Maker, Exterior

Can you tell us a bit about your new space?

We have leased 800 square feet of subterranean retail space in the heart of Osborne Village, Winnipeg’s most densely populated and diverse neighbourhood. Our new home is directly across the street from Starbucks on River Avenue. On Osborne Street lies a longstanding Second Cup, and a few hundred meters away you can grab a double double at Tim Hortons within the neighbourhood Safeway. Little Sister Coffee Maker will be the only independent coffee option in Osborne Village. The space itself is tight. Based on the success of Parlour Coffee on Main Street, people seem to expect that our second location is going to be bigger. However, we are concocting some cramped quarters to create delicious coffee. We have applied for a takeout establishment license which means we will have a maximum occupancy of 10. We will have a 25 foot long bench with three tables and six chairs. The front facade’s north facing windows will feature a standing bar, and the space just outside our door will become a patio.

Buildin' it all out.
Buildin’ it all out.

What’s your approach to serving coffee?

Our approach to coffee is the same way we approach our service – inclusive, accessible, and friendly. Our goal is to serve elegant, complex, delicious coffees with zero pretense. If you want to put cream and sugar in that Geisha coffee despite our personal suggestion of zero condiments, go ahead, you paid for it. We are here to provide excellent service and products we are proud of. A positive overall experience is our number one goal. Part of achieving that goal is freshly roasted in-season coffee from one or two of the world’s leading coffee roasters.

Any machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?

We have ordered a three group La Marzocco GB5 AV which received a custom paint job two weeks ago. We are also excited to use the Marco Ecosmart Undercounter water boiler to feed our kettles. We will be using ceramic Beehouse drippers for our pour over coffee service. We are also roughing in the electrical and plumbing for a Fetco batch brewer – we are still on the fence regarding whether or not we want to offer this option versus sticking to Parlour’s “ground to order” ethos.

With regard to our coffee offering, it will be different than the coffees available at Parlour Coffee (a ten minute bike ride away). We will be using Bows & Arrows Coffee Roasters from Victoria, Canada as well as another North American coffee roaster, but we can’t say who that will be just yet.

Lookin' out.
Lookin’ out.

What’s your hopeful target opening month?

We are shooting for September 2013.

Keep up with the Little Sister Coffee Maker build-out on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook.

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