I'm opening a coffee house in Sooke in a month or so (depending on contractors and building inspectors!) and I'm looking for drinkers' opinions on who roasts and sells the best beans...
I am leaning heavily toward one provider whose product I truly love but I owe it to my future drinkers to investigate, right?!
The big problem is that most of the local roasters don't deliver to Sooke and that means I'll be heading into Victoria a lot. I could live with the inconvenience if there was overwhelming support for a particular roaster.
Whaddya say? Who's your non-sentimental favourite? Why?
The challenge is, after you get a supply, is getting the most out of these coffee beans.
There has to be a level of commitment on the part of the staff and owners of any cafe that sources locally roasted coffee.
Example: My personal favorite right now, without question is Discovery Coffee - this is, pretty much, the best and most consistent coffee in Victoria, perhaps even on the Island.
That said, I have been in a couple of local cafes and bistros that have brought Discovery coffee into their space and totally crucified it from inattention, lack of commitment or staff challenges.
This is one of the factors that make Ryan and Christie Taylors \"Cafe Fantastico\" product fairly limited in the cafe and restuarant market -
They care enough about the brand to NOT let it fall into the wrong hands.
In over a decade of travel coast to coast, it is patently obvious that most cafe owners don't know or care about cafe preparation.
I agree with Colin that Discovery Coffee and Cafe Fantastico produce superior coffees, but they're both cafes and in therefore in competition with you, so what's their incentive for you to succeed? You might be better off getting your beans from someone who is strictly a roaster.
If you had more time I'd say learn more about beans and roast your own in house, both to keep quality and cost under your control and to distinguish yourself in a burgeoning market. Unfortunately there's no way you can learn enough to roast your own beans in a month, but it might be a good longer term goal.
I once met the fellow behind Creekmore's Coffee. He seemed genuinely devoted to the art of roasting and has managed consistently good results over a substantial line of coffees. (And consistently good is way better from your point of view than intermittently great.)
You coudl also look at 49th parallel roasters here in Vancouver - the Piccolo brothers' coffee is getting good review, and is even being pulled in NYC (Cafe Grumpy). JJ Bean is the home to Sanders (?? did I get his name right) who was the raoster behind Hines Public Market Coffee in Seattle WA. He is (I think) roastign coffee for the Elysisan Room here in Vancouver.
One of the earleir posts above raises the most imprtant issue: the source of the coffee doesnt really matter - if you and or your staff are not trained to produce a quality product. Get a good espresso machine - Synesso / Marzocco / Rancilio and get your staff to use it well.
you might consider spending some start-up $$$ on training for staff - Aaron DeLazzer used to train in Vancouver, andif you go to dwelltime.net the author of that blog recently offered training... might be worth a look.
I sort of disagree with the point made above about Discovery and C.F.
Hang on a second. I disagree whole-heartedly!
Sam Jones and the team of Ryan and Kristie Taylor
are hopelessly dedicated to the success of the cafes that use their beans! I cannot overstate this.
Getting back to Sooke for a moment: I was in the Vienna Bakery in Sooke Village.
Their apple struedel is absolutely killer!
And, I noticed that they use C.F. in the espresso beverages they serve! Brilliant.
Sooke, B.C. is a village that is ripe for a great cafe.
About Sooke: 10,000 people and not one good cappuccino to be found.
Lately I have had the good fortune of receiving some samples from a few roasters including 49th parallel and their beans were truly great. Their Colombian Quebradon was remarkable. The problem with them (and anyone else on the mainland) is the shipping. The shipment came very quickly via UPS (under 18 hours to my house in Sooke) but if I'm getting a delivery or so every week then it'll be cost-prohibitive, adding quite a bit to my costs per cup.
Creekmore's is a surprisingly good coffee. I haven't approached them about it yet but I'll be talking with them. Level Ground too.
I have spoken with Oughtred and the biggest advantage of an outfit like theirs is the complete product line - offering everything from beans to cups to syrops to technicians...and with free delivery.
I'm still looking!
The renos in The Stick in the Mud Coffe House are coming along well. I'm waiting for a building permit but already we've done a lot of work to the site. Can't wait to have you all come and visit. Picked up the La Marzocco and my grinders and brewers last weekend.....Can't wait to try the La Mz.