Community and coffee are intrinsically related. A cafe is where you meet your friends, stop by before starting your day, or take a moment to simply enjoy and experience the setting. Seeing those familiar faces and getting to know baristas is what makes specialty coffee, special. Sadly, visiting local cafes is something many of us coffee-lovers have subconsciously minimized as a result of the pandemic. Even though many of the local cafes in Calgary (and across Canada) have exceeded the necessary safety-measures, they’ve inevitably suffered a reduction in traffic. Spotlighting the folks who run these cafes, listening to their stories, and appreciating their immense effort is integral to maintaining the community which we exist within, and it allows our specialty coffee community to flourish as we begin our journey back to normalcy. Earlier this month, we took some time to immerse ourselves in and experience the welcoming environment that our friends at Sought and Found have curated.
Officially opened in 2018 by founders Caleb Leung and Kitty Chan, Sought and Found is located in the heart of the historic Tigerstedt block - a block that has become synonymous with the Crescent Heights neighbourhood. The meaning behind their cafe, in Caleb’s words, is both eloquent and heartfelt: “Sought and Found is a stage in life, how we live and how we pursue our passions - it’s a process. People ask ‘What do I want to do with my life?’, for us, at this stage, we have found family, and coffee, as our passion.”
As you approach the cafe, their passion for detail is immediately felt. Featuring a warm exterior with black paint and earthy tones, similar to the packaging of the coffee they roast in-house, there is an inherent sense of nature present in their design. Upon entering, a pleasant nostalgia expresses itself; the natural wood and white brick retain the history of the location, yet are effortlessly repurposed in a clean and contemporary manner. If you’ve followed their Instagram or experienced the Gallery, you’ll know that art is an organic and vital element to Sought and Found. With help from Kokedama and artists led by Malcolm Mooney, they have created a space for reflection. Also, if you look closely at the detail of the artwork behind the bar and the calligraphy/illustrations on their merchandise/packaging, you’ll notice that they are all hand-created by Kitty!
As their design is inspired by natural elements, sustainability is also at the forefront of Sought and Found’s ethos. Caleb emphasizes the importance of incremental adjustments, “Being sustainable is our responsibility. Coffee is an everyday thing, it is habitual. If we are wasteful in our practices, it becomes our habit.” By encouraging the use of reusable mugs, solely serving indoor guests with porcelain cups, and expanding their Get-Out-of-Your-Coffee-Box subscription service to include reusable jars, they are consistently taking impactful steps to reduce their footprint, “and hopefully, this will become the norm so people don’t act surprised when we explain our methods!”
Thank you to Caleb and Kitty for taking time out of their day to speak with us. Visit Sought and Found on Sundays for their newest event “One Coffee, Three Ways”, where you can, as the name suggests, enjoy the same coffee brewed three ways: pure (pour-over), espresso, and espresso with milk. Also, book a reservation for a sit-down experience in the Gallery and enjoy the aura they have created.