To the team behind the Silk Road Spice Merchant the difference between artisanal, freshly ground coffee and your average pre-ground brew is the same as the difference between small-batch, aromatic herbs and spices from their shop and the dried basil at the grocery store. When they realized there was nowhere in Calgary to find the variety and quality of spices they wanted, they decided to import them themselves. Now they carefully source everything from lavender and lemon thyme to digestion-aiding Mexican epazote and pungent Indian dried fenugreek. Their spices are also available online, including their freshly ground BBQ rubs, salt-free blends, and Chinese five spice. But you can only smell the Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla beans in-store.