Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Independent Purveyors and Small-batch Coffee Roasters in London, Ontario


If London, Ont., knows one thing, it's farmers' markets. And coffee. Alright, that's two things, but two things the city of 350,000 is rightfully proud of, thanks to years of developing a community that loves local produce as much as it craves freshly roasted beans — which is also carried over into the restaurant scene.”









Independent Purveyors and Small-batch Coffee Roasters in London, Ontario

By BRYAN LAVERY


The emergence of London’s small-batch coffee roasters emphasizes the passion that exists for fairly traded, environmentally responsible, and ethically sourced coffee beans. The astounding growth of the burgeoning coffeehouse/cafe niche in the intensely competitive coffee market dominated by Starbucks and Tim Horton’s is nothing short of remarkable.

Lately there has been an unprecedented increase of upmarket cafés that are part grab-and-go café, part bakery, and part casual dine-in restaurant, some of which are licensed. The quest of coffee drinkers for artisanal, small hand-batched roasts with diverse flavour profiles is unmatched. It has been recently suggested that in addition to its other well-documented effects, a cup of coffee will improve your memory.

Hasbeans is operated by the hospitable Smith family, who have been Covent Garden Market merchants for more than 125 years. Their coffee business continues to be hands-on with Paul (third generation), Debbie (fourth) and Joel (fifth). While promoting the distinct qualities that each coffee bean develops in its natural environment, Hasbeans’ stalwart owners and staff have become a Covent Garden Market institution for their fair trade offerings and personalized service. Hasbeans’ hand-selected and imported coffees are offered as both green (raw) and roasted coffee beans.

The Little Red Roaster was initially opened in 1995 and operated by former restaurateurs Anne and Archie Chisholm of Anthony’s Seafood Bistro. The Wortley Road location became a local institution and was the original café in what became a chain of independently owned franchises. Kendra Gordon-Green purchased the venture in 2002, adding several franchised Little Red Roaster locations in the downtown core, most notably at the Covent Garden Market and at the Central Library.

Entrepreneur Dave Cook started The Fire Roasted Coffee Co. in 2006. He had been roasting his own coffee beans in his garage, and launched Fire Roasted Coffee as a Saturday business at the Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market at Western Fair. Cook took over as owner of the market operation two years later and began to build his business portfolio. More recently he opened a flagship café (and his complementary business, Habitual Chocolate) in a renovated heritage building at King and Talbot streets. Just last month Cook opened another satellite Fire Roasted location in Wortley Village, in premises formerly occupied by The Little Red Roaster.

Cook leverages his expertise, networks and knowledge in order to shape a strong and enabling environment for social enterprise. Cook’s core business belief embraces the philosophy of supporting and mentoring people committed to sourcing quality products and invested in their place of origin. In the interest of global justice, Fire Roasted Coffee has established direct trade with producing countries to benefit the producers in a more substantial way.
Fire Roasted had supplied coffee to the nearby Black Walnut Bakery Café but that affiliation came to a halt. Cook approached Gordon-Green of the Little Red Roaster to give Fire Roasted a sustained presence and a higher profile in Wortley Village. Cook realizes that this location might have a limited shelf-life, as there are plans to expand Home Hardware into that space in the future. In the meantime, he views the Wortley Road location like a pop-up restaurant where he is able to create a different niche and new identity in the neighbourhood.

Patrick Dunham, the former general manager and lead roaster for The Fire Roasted Coffee Company, presided at the Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market at Western Fair location for six years. Working alongside Dave Cook, Dunham traveled to coffee farms learning all aspects of the coffee business from roasting and cupping to selling.
Dunham went to work as a sales manager for Imperial Coffee in February 2013. Wilson and Mandy Etheridge, owners of the Black Walnut Bakery Café approached Dunham to help set up Kingfisher Coffee Company as a wholesale coffee roaster and business. The Black Walnut Bakery Café built its reputation specializing in organic fair trade coffees and teas, seasonal soups, savoury quiches, bread, scones and squares, salads and light meals.

Mandy explained that they were looking for a niche that they felt was absent in the marketplace. “Unfortunately we could not find what we were looking for. It seemed our only option was to create our own one of a kind coffee roasting company.” This coffee roasting company would not only service the café, but would also provide coffee to other business and individuals around the city wanting the same characteristics in their coffee.

Recently Dunham set up his own roastery called Patrick’s Beans. Dunham’s goal is to offer high quality coffee blends that are roasted locally and sourced ethically. DunhamIn London I will be providing home delivery on a weekly basis of a core line of blends and roasts as well as have retail bags available at other places around the area. I am providing coffee to restaurants, cafes and business' across SW Ontario. I also offer a bunch of fundraising possibilities to non-profit and other groups across the region. Thanks all and remember there is never a good enough reason to run out of coffee when it can be delivered to your door.In London I will be providing home delivery on a weekly basis of a core line of blends and roasts as well as have retail bags available at other places around the area. I am providing coffee to restaurants, cafes and business' across SW Ontario. I also offer a bunch of fundraising possibilities to non-profit and other groups across the region. Thanks all and remember there is never a good enough reason to run out of coffee when it can be delivered to your door.In London I will be providing home delivery on a weekly basis of a core line of blends and roasts as well as have retail bags available at other places around the area. I am providing coffee to restaurants, cafes and business' across SW Ontario. I also offer a bunch of fundraising possibilities to non-profit and other groups across the region. Thanks all and remember there is never a good enough reason to run out of coffee when it can be delivered to your door. caters to the specific needs of clients and his strategy includes offering fund raising opportunities to non-profits as well as demonstrating transparent community involvement. Dunham roasts coffee beans in small batches and then blends them to attain tailor-made tastes and complexities that cannot be found in single varietal selections.

In London I will be providing home delivery on a weekly basis of a core line of blends and roasts as well as have retail bags available at other places around the area. I am providing coffee to restaurants, cafes and business' across SW Ontario. I also offer a bunch of fundraising possibilities to non-profit and other groups across the region. Thanks all and remember there is never a good enough reason to run out of coffee when it can be delivered to your doorLook for Patrick’s Beans at Ogilvie’s Market, Sunnivue Farm near Ailsa Craig, The Arva Flour Mill, Time to Chill in Woodstock and the regular places, like the Root Cellar, Hungary Butcher and The Rhino Bakery and Lounge.

The regular Patrick’s Beans are: Super F'n Dark (self-explanatory), Dark & Brewding (rich dark roast, Indonesia, Ethiopian, Guatemalan), Velvet Hammer (very smooth, medium dark, Guatemalan, Honduras), The Safe Choice (medium roast, Guatemalan, Honduras), Shotgun Romance (espresso blend, 5 different beans on the classic side) and Taste of Danger (decaf). The price for each of the coffees is $15 or two for $25, delivered to home or office in London.

Sisters Maria Fiallos and Valeria Fiallos-Soliman operate the coffee micro-roaster, Las Chicas del Café, on Exeter Road, which opened in 2005. The Fiallos family has been defined by coffee for generations, starting with their great-grandfather on the family’s coffee plantation in Las Sabanas, Nicaragua. The family was forced to flee Nicaragua in the 1980s during that country’s civil war, finally settling in London, Ontario in 1988. The sisters’ parents were eventually able to return to Nicaragua and re-establish the family’s coffee growing tradition with their mission of “quality, tradition and responsibility.” Today, plantation workers hand-pick, sun-dry and manually bag their annual harvest of dense, flavour-packed beans and send them to London to be roasted.

Charles and Jill Wright opened Locomotive Espresso in a building that has been a neighbourhood variety store for 45 years. Locomotive is located at the corner of Pall Mall and Colborne at the railroad tracks, in the former Helen’s Variety. Locomotive baristas have received strict training in Pilot Coffee Roaster’s Toronto espresso laboratory. Pilot took top honours in this year’s Roast Magazine’s annual Roaster of the Year competition saying, “Pilot’s exemplary marketing practices and dedication to offering quality coffee — evidenced by its education practices and construction of a state-of-the-art coffee-tasting lab — propelled the company to a win”.

Locomotive Espresso opened its doors looking to fill a growing worldwide thirst for local, independent coffee bars serving the highest quality beverages. Its direct trade beans are featured along with other “visiting” roasts from similarly skilled roasters.

 In addition to serving a great selection of Pilot Roast (Roast Magazineès Micro-Roaster of the Year 2014) coffees, lattes and espressos, brewed by professionally trained baristas on a La Marzocco GB5 (handmade in Florence, Italy), Londoners will find a variety of food and drink provided by a diverse collection of London and area based businesses. Locally-sourced products and services include fresh salads, paninis and baked goods from Heirloom Catering; fresh breads for the Toast Bar  from The Artisan Bakery; cold pressed juices from the Pulp & Press Juice Co.; organic teas from Wisdom Teashop and Clipper Teas (UK); biscotti from local pastry chef Michele Lenhardt; Kosuma Bars and Habitual Chocolate from the Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market at the Western Fair; and Nepalese chai tea, fresh rolls, and granola from Momo’s At The Market.
Locomotive Espresso is London's newest independent purveyor of caffeinated beverages and other fine coffee accessories including  Aeropress coffee makers (similar to a French press) and the eco-friendly KeepCup, the world's first barista standard reusable cup which are both getting rave reviews. They continue to brew the classic favourites and the flat white (Aussie) and cortado (South America) beverages are gaining popularity. And, for espressophiles visit Locomotive espresso bar in December to buy a day trip package for a Pilot Roaster bus trip to Toronto to tour the Pilot tasting bar and roastery, three selected espresso bars and your fill of coffee for the day. www.locomotiveespresso.com.

More and more it is worth embracing independents and small-batch artisanal coffee roasters. These types of businesses provide core commitments to quality, relationships and hands-on service. The coffee trade appears to be further inspired to leverage economies with social enterprise and environmental responsibility by their conduct, rather than driving profit by how they market themselves.







No comments:

Post a Comment