I came to know about Monogram like most places I come across these days, by stumbling upon it via my Instagram’s Explore page. Its soft pastels and simple aesthetic appealed to me before I had even tasted their coffee, and I was drawn to their coffee soft serve collaboration with Made by Marcus. To say I was enamoured was an understatement.
On our way to downtown Calgary, we happened to drive by their Brittanica location, and I vowed to return before we left the city – which we did. Unfortunately, this was on our way out, and I was disappointed we were unable to sit in their cozy shop so I can’t speak to its atmosphere. I will say that it was exceptionally busy to the point of being crowded on the Monday of a long weekend, which was rather convincing.
While I picked up a London Fog, he picked up a latte. I was interested in their coffee, however, my family tradition is to never go uncaffeinated, and after a weekend of mainlining coffee all hours of the day I was looking for a change. Plus, what’s mine is his and what’s his is mine…I could always try some.
The latte was good. I only had a few sips but in reality this was enough for me to know how I felt about it. I was a little disappointed with how weak their espresso was, considering it was nutty, and on the bitter side. Perhaps my taste buds had been dulled by the weekend, but I wanted a coffee that was more acrid – where I could really taste the base flavour through the aromatics. Their London Fog was also just…good. My first hesitation was that it was listed as a Vanilla London Fog, which first and foremost, seemed redundant. The vanilla in a London Fog seems implied, considering it is a part of the ingredients. After contemplating this in line, I started to become worried about how many pumps of vanilla my drink might receive, but I pulled the trigger anyways.
And here my rant begins; a London Fog requires 3 things to create a trifecta of taste. The first being a good earl grey tea – which I thought was lacking. Not because the tea was bad, just that the bergamot was unbelievably strong. There is a range of percent bergamot I am willing to accept in any earl grey, and here it was greatly overstepped. There was no subtlety involved in this tea – no sugar, all spice, and nothing too nice. The second requirement being a good vanilla flavouring which I couldn’t really speak to considering the strength of the bergamot. The third being an excellent barista, which I believe we had, but rather than a perfect equilateral triangle creating this trifecta of warm-you-from-the-inside flavour I had just one piece of the puzzle. I ended up being disappointed by my overly aromatic, overspiced, redundant-ass drink. I just couldn’t appreciate it, even with such a gorgeous presentation in a cute pastel blue cup.
Our drinks were rounded out by an earl grey chocolate chip cookie (in fact, we started on this before the drinks were even ready, so my experience with my London Fog didn’t affect my opinion of the bergamot). To our collective surprise, dear reader, there was hardly any earl grey flavouring at all! Although this does make the snack more “accessible” for those who aren’t in love with earl grey, I was a little bit dejected by the lack of it. This aside, the density, chewiness, and overall quality of their cookie was great. I would love to try more of their food items in the future.
I would also be happy to give their drinks another shot. I will always purchase coffee if the option is available, but my experience with Monogram so far has me on the fence. Their aesthetics and food are of high calibre, but their coffee just may not be to my taste.
A friend of mine once summed it up with three words, “Coffee is polarizing.” Particularly with small batch coffees, it’s a love or a hate relationship, but I typically consider myself pretty easy to please. That being said, I think this is another place that I may find myself loving, similar to The Colombian – I’ll just need to try something else on the menu.
Portion size: 3
Drunk n disorderly: 0