I BUILT A BARN...
BUT BEFORE THAT...
I’ve always enjoyed a good cup of coffee. Every time we went on a vacation, I looked up the best roasters in the area and sought out the best local cup I could find. Man, I’ve had some great (and not so great) cups of coffee. Over the years I’ve toured many coffee farms, fincas and plantations.
One day I wondered how difficult it would be to actually roast good coffee. I did some digging and I just did it…on a popcorn roaster…outside…on my deck…on the burner of my natural gas barbeque. And you know what? It actually worked (on my second batch but who’s counting) and even though it wasn’t great, it was drinkable! To this day I still remember the first batch I ever tried and could even tell you the green beans I was roasting at the time.
Well, time goes by, good times, and after I mastered the BBQ pit, I decided to really ‘upgrade’ to a temperature controlled electric roaster…on a table… in my garage. I have to say, it was a nice change in the winter. It wasn’t heated, but not below zero. Golden. And I was having fun. And you know what, the coffee tasted pretty good too! In fact, even better than I had thought it would. Friends and family loved it. “Why don’t you sell this?” they asked.
I started messing around with timing, temperature and how to manipulate flavors. I started to get consistent and I was learning lots (still am!) both through trial and error and a great book written by Rob Hoos. Oh, and I forgot to mention. While all of this was taking shape…
OR, HAD A BARN BUILT
Well, ‘I had a barn built’ might be a more accurate statement. After all, I wanted it to be level and to look good. And safe. But the inside is a labor of love done mostly by my wife and I. My wife and I live on an acreage south of Calgary, in DeWinton and have a couple of horses. It was always my wife’s dream to have her very own barn.
I love my wife and I loved her dream. So we did it. We made sure we left the loft unfinished so we could store hay and had the thought that down the road maybe we could rent it out. Time went by and then it happened. To quote my kid’s favorite movie (and one of mine)…
Maybe I could roast coffee in the Loft. It sounded like a cool idea to me. Seriously, who roasts coffee in a barn loft!? I knew I had an idea that could potentially be the coolest man cave of all time, not to mention it was heated!
I convinced my wife (short version inserted here for sure) got the loft area finished and started looking for a commercial roaster that would fit my needs. (spoiler alert: we crossed ‘world domination’ off of the list and opted for ‘small batch’).
After a lot of searching, phone calls, google translate, a rail car ride from Montreal, QC and a $400 5 minute forklift ride to the second floor, our roaster was in its new home.
I know, it’s not very original but that’s what we came up with and after our adventure it just seemed appropriate. I had a whole new learning curve on a gas fired commercial roaster and spent six months just working on my various roast profiles. I also gave away a lot of coffee and learned even more about the art and science of coffee roasting.
To make sure I was on the right track, I decided to spend some time at a few Farmer’s Markets south of Calgary. I wanted to make sure our family and friends weren’t being too biased. We met some great people, feedback was overwhelmingly positive and we had repeat customers right away.
And here we are, ready to write the next chapter. So check out the rest of our site, check out our offerings, and order a bag of our small batch, barn roasted coffee. Oh, and stay tuned for more…I hear the rest of the story is just beginning.