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While coffee roasters in Parksville Qualicum Beach approach coffee in various ways, they all share a singular passion for the caffeinated beverage.
Jokes abound about not talking to someone before they’ve had their morning coffee—but for coffee roasters in Parksville Qualicum Beach, nothing about making the perfect cup of joe is a joke. They take their responsibility to provide quality and flavourful options to their patrons seriously, ensuring everyone’s days start (or continue, or end) on the right foot. And while we might all unite under a single love of coffee, the fact is that there are many ways to prepare the perfect cup.
At French Press Coffee Roasters, owner Jeremy Perkins focusses on providing his customers with exceptional medium roast coffees. “The idea is that whilst roasting lighter, we highlight some of the acidity that is there and some of the fruit-forward flavours,” Perkins explains. “But taking the coffee far enough to make sure that some of the sweetness stays in there and that we can develop that flavour.” If the beans aren’t roasted long enough, you’ll miss out on some of the sweeter flavours, so it’s a delicate dance to create the perfect medium roast.
While certain flavours can be drawn out through the roasting process, a perfect cup of coffee starts with where the beans are sourced from.
“ We offer coffees from a broad spectrum of producing nations. ” Jeremy Perkins | French Press Coffee Roasters
Amongst other places, they carry beans representing the terroir of Columbia, Ethiopia, Guatemala and Indonesia. Most of what they sell are single-origin coffees, created from beans all sourced from one region. But they do have a few blends, including their home blend, classic blend and a seasonal holiday blend.
And it’s not just a good cup of coffee you’ll find at French Press. Perkins has also prioritized offering truly good food to accompany the coffee. “ I got tired of going to specialty coffee shops where you would be offered some moribund baked goods or sort of poorly thought-out sandwich. I wanted the food to be good, I wanted the baked goods to be good, as well as the coffee,” he says, “I wanted somebody to have a really good experience while they were there…which is essentially why we've always been really keen on offering decent, well-thought-out food, a small menu of nicely thought out items.’
Coyote Coffee Roasters sets themselves apart by offering a huge variety of single origin coffees, with a goal of “allowing people to try different beans and different things that they like, and not have to settle for just one kind,” explains Alison Carradine. “It just makes it more exciting every morning and/or afternoon!” With about 20 variations on the shelves (and more in the back), they’re always finding and experimenting with new beans and flavours.
Their wide variety stems from their own curiosity and tastes. “Between me and the owner, we both have separate coffee tastes,” Carradine says. “So it's our tastes and our influence that brings different varieties in. So it's very fun for us, because we can pick things that we're like, ‘Oh, I definitely want to taste that.’ And it just benefits the customer that way.”
And they make it easy for their customers to both try new things or stick with their favourites by offering a loyalty program. “You pay ahead for five bags at a discounted price, but you come and get them as you need them so that they're always freshly roasted,” Carradine explains. “And it's for any of our one-pound bags. So if you really like one, you can get five of the same one; you can come back and just keep refilling on your freshly roasted beans. Or you can try a new one every time. So you could try a medium this time from this region, you could try a dark roast, you could take the decaf home, you can switch it up as you need them.”
There are a variety of roasts available at Karma Coffee as well, including decaf. They have beans from Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras and elsewhere, and every roasting batch is carefully calculated. “It’s a science, really,” says Stephan Guy. “We have our blends that we've been doing forever, but sometimes you get a different batch number and then the moisture in there can be a little different. So you have to readjust from that,” he explains. And even the weather on the day of roasting makes a difference. “It's interesting, because it's not always the same thing. Like a sunny day to a wet day, the moisture in the air is different. So you have to change up roasting a little bit, too.”
Guy has been roasting coffee at Karma for 19 years, which he does not only because he loves coffee, but because he loves the business. “I love my job,” he says simply. “We’re all friends, we take care of each other.” And he takes pride in producing their high-quality coffee to both their new and long-time customers.
And as for customers, the unique approach each roaster takes to preparing their coffee beans means customers have a wide range of choice to find their favourite bean or enjoy experimenting. “We all have different things that we give to the public,” Carradine says. “There’s so much variety when it comes to roasting not only with your bean of choice, but how you roast, the temperature you roast, how long and what your preferences are.” The various approaches each business takes to their coffee perfectly suits the needs of the community, allowing everyone to find their perfect cup.