Today’s The Globe and Mail (Toronto) featured an article on the coming growing pains for Vancouver’s Caffè Artigiano: Coffee chain tackles expansion conundrum – The Globe and Mail.

For those unfamiliar, Caffè Artigiano still represents the best espresso shot we’ve ever had — produced by the hands of barista savant, Sammy Piccolo. Pulled in 2003, years before the Third Wave supposedly even existed, it was an abject lesson for how all the espresso-making automation in the world could never replicate Sammy’s quality control. (He tossed out the first two espresso shots he attempted to make for us — aka, sink shots.)

Caffè Artigiano's Hornby locationFor the seven years since the Canadian Barista Championship has been in operation, Caffè Artigiano has had a virtual lock on the winners. So you have to figure they generally know what they’re doing. The article interviews Kyle Straw, the current Canadian barista champion and the store manager at Caffè Artigiano’s Hornby location/mothership.

Much like its American counterpart and one-time bean supplier, Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, Caffè Artigiano has grown to a number of cafés in its Vancouver backyard and now seeks more continental expansion. There are currently rumors of future locations in Toronto, Montreal, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Just don’t expect a Starbucks-like expansion at all costs.

Forget the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games next week. We’d go back for Caffè Artigiano. First the 2006 Winter Games in Torino and now Vancouver? We can only say that Sochi, Russia has a lot of great espresso to live up to for the 2014 Winter Games.