James Gike from Burlington Lifestyle recently featured one of our downtown hotspots for the best coffee. If you haven’t dropped by this hidden gem on Pine Street yet, this might convince you otherwise.
September, 2014 by James Gike
Two years ago Tamp Coffee Company opened its doors. It was the brain child of Israeli – born Jimmy Zenereh, who after a 13 year love affair with coffee finally achieved his goal. Tamp serves up specialty coffee; coffee that has been carefully selected and lovingly brewed. The product Zenereh serves is held to the highest standards.
“Coffee has been an obsession of mine for over 13 years,” he said. “I knew I wanted to open a specialty shop but knew I didn’t have what I needed yet. So that always stayed in the back of my mind.” Zenereh, who emigrated from Israel to Canada when he was 10, started out as a licenced hairstylist. From there he moved into business ownership as he moved from Mississauga to the High Park neighbourhood in Toronto, then to Oakville, before finally ending up in Burlington.
“Owning buisnesses has taught me a lot,” said the 36 – year old. “I’ve dealt with all types of people; as well I have learned what a small business needs to be successful.” Zenereh is very supportive of all small business. He encourages them to form partnerships and help each other grow.
“When I want to open up a business, I look at an area and figure out what they need,” he said. “When I came to Burlington I noticed that their downtown lacked a specialty coffee shop, so I provided one.” Tamp is located next door to Village Cigar Company and Barbershop; they benefit from the shared patio space out back. Zenereh said, “If there’s a business selling cigars, I want to work with them. I definitely don’t want to try selling cigars too, that would be a waste.”
The coffee landscape is filled to the brim with competition; Tim Horton’s, Starbucks, Second Cup, Coffee Cultures, the list goes on. Yet, Zenereh isn’t worried. He is different, he says; he wants to help the customer become a coffee connoisseur, something that other places take no interest in.
“We focus on the quality of the beans, the brew and where they come from,” he said. “We look for single origin beans, and know that each year the quality of a particular crop could change.” Zenereh keeps his product to the high standards of the World Barista Competition (WBC).
Each year the WBC moves around the world and tests the best of best in the barista field. Jimmy has both competed in and judged this competition. Each round is 15 minutes. During that time each barista is critiqued by 6 judges. Four judges critique on taste and presentation while the other 2 carefully observe the way the baristas carry themselves and most importantly their technique. Before they begin they must present themselves and the coffee they will be using, and why they chose it. Then each will create a total of 16 drinks; 4 cappuccinos, 4 espresso and 4 signature drinks with an espresso base.
There is such passion in their product. You can tell even in their house blend. I had a cup of it while I was there; it was, by far the best cup of coffee I’ve had ever. It’s smooth, rich flavour makes it a great cup for any time of the day.
“I want a place for people to meet up and enjoy a great cup of coffee,” said Zenreh. “I’ m trying to build a community around specialty coffee.”
So what’s next for Tamp?
They’ve just brought in a new product called “Cold Brew”. Their Cold Brew is their
house blend brewed on ice. “We brew it and bottle it,” said Zenreh. “I think it’s a great way to enjoy coffee on the go, and we believe you don’t need to add anything to it.” The product has been selling very well and Zenereh is pleased by the positive feedback.
When I asked him about expanding, he said there were no plans at the moment. They’ve been open for two years and they’re no renovating their café to provide more seating. Zenereh said that if the opportunity were to present itself he would like to open two or three locations and potentially bring in an onsite roaster to one of the cafes.
Jimmy Zenereh has made his home in Burlington. He raves about all the city has to offer, “I love it here, and it feels like I’m on vacation every day.” Zenereh does everything he can to support the community including displaying local artist’s work on the walls of the café.