Equity, stewardship, and transcendent sensory experiences through an intentional connection to people and places.
Dirt, Labour, and Humanity
We are a team of coffee professionals roasting in one of the industrial hold-outs of Toronto, Canada.
Our aim is to push the boudaries of coffee quality, not for some diletante or aesthetic occupation, and not for ego or self satisfaction. We believe in engaging with higher quality coffee as an alternative to the anonymization and commodification that has characterized the mainstream treatment of coffee throughout history.
It may sound lofty, but so much of our work is actually making visible what is already there: an incredible world of biodiversity and of people tending to land, craft, and community. For that reason, quality for us is a direct connection to agriculture. That's what coffee is. And so quality is an acknowledgment of seasonality, of micro-regionality, and of the human labour behind each picked and processed coffee cherry.
This is why we don't blend coffee; it's why we don't rename coffees; and it's why we don't roast our coffee dark: because we believe all of this received wisdom has worked to keep producers (and their treatment) veiled while holding the standards of coffee quality shrouded in the mystique of actions meant to solely serve the coffee consuming world.
So much of what we do as a roastery can modulate the quality of great coffee, but nothing we do can create quality that doesn't already exist.
Colourometers, Refractometers, & a Team of Serious Palates
We employ some of the most advanced tools in analyzing our coffee, from frequent moisture and density analysis of the green coffee and various sensitive thermocouple readings throughout roasts, to 100s of colour readings of the roasted coffee and solubility testing of profiles once they're brewed.
We employ some of the most advanced tools in analyzing our coffee: frequent moisture and density analysis of the green coffee; various sensitive thermocouple readings throughout roasts; hundreds of colour readings of the roasted coffee to assess development and uniformity; and solubility testing of profiles once they're brewed... to name a few.
Transparency, Balance, & Complexity
Our roast philosophy is simple: maximize flavour complexity and balance while bringing out as much origin characteristics as we can. When raw coffee quality is high, the result is sweet, vibrant, and stunningly complex, aromatic cups. We avoid any "roast" flavour in our profiling while also ensuring to develop enough to avoid insipid or imbalanced flavour. Excessive caramelization does a decent job of hiding defects in low quality coffee and breaking down cellulose to produce sugars, neither of which is necessary or desirable with higher quality coffee.
Our roasts are carefully calibrated to the second and to the degree, with minute changes constantly made based on blind evaluation. For production consistency, we also employ a ColorTrack to measure the degree and consistency of our roasts' development.
In addition to careful tasting we also measure the solubility of our coffee to ensure it will perform in different brewing conditions. Each sample is refracted with TDS and Extraction % documented.
We've had the pleasure of working with coffee from some of the best roasters in the world. With this as our benchmark, we avoid what the wine world calls "cellar palate" and taste our profiles blind alongside what we believe are the best expressions from similar regions, varieties, or styles of production.
Human Connection, Terroir, & Biodiversity
Despite being excluded from the contemporary standards we see manifest in natural wine, the slow food movement, or regenerative agriculture, coffee is subject to the same quality and sustainability standards as any product in our foodsystem. A sustainable industry means labour being paid fair and sustainable wages; it means producers having agency and latitude in how their coffee is sold, and at prices that allow for more than just subsistence; It means having the financial security to withstand the vicissitudes of agriculture and freedom from the oppressive volatility of commodity markets.
Ultimately, quality and sustainabilty are inexticable expressions of care, diginity, integrity, and humanity.
Each of our coffees has a producer's name on the bag because that's whose work produced the coffee before it was in our hands. We deliberatly eschew traditions that put broad regional names on labels, anonymizing where and who a coffee is from. For us, knowing exactly whose hands a coffee has gone through is the first step at building integrity into the coffee supply chain.
We try to represent coffees by the season, tasting through countless coffees to find exciting, transparent, and articulate expressions of place. On each product page you'll find information ranging from the producers and their location - down to the town - alongside processing.
While much has been made and marketed of directly traded coffee, the reality is that directly trading can be just as irresponsible and exploitative. Most specialty coffee goes through importers, and being honest about how coffee is traded is an important first step into building accountability into the coffee supply chain.
While we source some of our coffee dircetly, we've worked diligently to build relationships with importers who share our values. Below is a list of people we are proud to work with—people we believe are innovators and champtions of quality, transparency, and integrity...
OUR IMPORTING PARTNERS:
A Place to Learn, Explore, and Experience
Located in Toronto's west end, our space is not only for roasting production, but also for education and delivering exceptional coffee experiences.
Our cafe is a place to pull up a bar stool and let us take you through some of the exciting by the cup offerings; We feature two of our coffees on espresso and a pourover program that features anywhere from 3 to 7 of our current offerings. We intentionally build menus that demonstrate the breadth of flavour and aroma possible in specialty coffee, including coffee experiences from the same subregion with different varietal expressions, or the same farm with different processing.
Our space is built with a large ascending stoop facing the bar (fitted with a projector) intended for talks and educational courses. With this we hope to help connect both the coffee industry and public to what is happening in our field. From organizing seminars on coffee preparation techniques and science, to hosting importers and producers who can offer invaluable experience with what is happening at origin, our aim is to contribute—in a substantive way—to the culture of coffee.
Head to the 'Classes and Events' under 'Learn' on our website to see what's coming up.
Visit us at 130 Cawthra Ave, unit 104 in Toronto.