If you’ve visited our showroom on Clark Drive anytime in the last few months, you probably noticed some new shelving and a bank of 40-odd coffee grinders in the southwest corner. Or maybe you noticed a sudden increase in the number and variety of coffees for sale on our website. Perhaps you even attended or read about the launch party we held at the culmination of all these developments.
Well, the time has come to fill in the gaps and tell you all about Roaster Central, our brand new coffee-tasting centre! Here are all the big Ws, answered in full:
WHO | We launched Roaster Central with all types of coffee-lovers in mind — the curious customer just discovering specialty coffee, all the way up to the aficionados, the roasters, the café or restaurant owners, and beyond. We’re especially thrilled to work with some incredibly talented roasters from across Canada and even into the States, and to share their coffees with YOU!
Among our current lineup are Agro Roasters (Vancouver), White Goat Coffee (Terrace), Rosso Coffee Roasters (Calgary), 2% Jazz (Victoria), Contrabean (Kitchener), and Smoking Gun Coffee (Mission), to name a few, along with Golden Bean 2018 Award winners Sacred Acres (Burnaby), Notch Coffee (Delta), Pallet Coffee Roasters (Vancouver), and Caffe D’arte Coffee Roasters (Seattle).
We also have the great pleasure of featuring 40 Sette 270Wi grinders made by Baratza with Acaia and Etzinger technology, gorgeous wooden tasting boards crafted by Reg Barber, variable temperature electric kettles from Bonavita, and brewing gear from Hario.
Perhaps best of all: we’ve partnered with Lookout Society to ensure all donations from Roaster Central patrons go towards providing housing and a range of support services for low-income folks in our neighbourhood — because we know that growing our coffee community starts with community, first.
WHAT | This is the very FIRST coffee-tasting centre of its kind in Vancouver. Essentially, it’s a line of 40 grinders, each devoted to a different coffee from our featured specialty coffee roasters, and a simple brewing station of kettles, V60 drippers, scales, and cups; but the overall experience is so much greater than the sum of these parts.
The 35-40 coffees featured at Roaster Central are categorized according to flavour profile: Rich / Sweet, Bright / Citrus, Earth / Smoke, Fruit-forward, and Balanced. There are also Decaf, Single Origin, and Special Feature categories. From these, visitors can select three coffees at a time to brew into tasting flights and enjoy at their leisure, right here in our showroom. Bags of these very same coffees are available for purchase in-store and online — a sort of “try before you buy” opportunity.
So for the cost of only a donation to Lookout Society, you can enjoy a complete sensory experience across as wide a spectrum of taste profiles as you like; refine your coffee brewing technique and learn more about coffee in general; discover some coffee roasters you may have never tried before; and try out premium equipment like Baratza’s newest specialty grinder, kettles made by industry leader Bonavita, and maybe even one of our sleek Italian espresso machines. Sweet deal, right?
WHY | Who doesn’t want the chance to taste some exciting new coffees? We know it can feel a bit intimidating to break into specialty coffee if you’re new to the concept — not to mention expensive. So we designed Roaster Central to provide a low-risk, easy point of entry where visitors are free to step outside their usual coffee-drinking routine without committing to a full cup or bag of unfamiliar coffee upfront. You can actually sample the coffees on offer prior to deciding which beans to buy — no risk or obligation.
We also want to create a place to celebrate and sample the craft of specialty coffee roasters from local regions and beyond — to shine some light on smaller roasters who are contributing something unique to the coffee landscape. By so doing, we hope to cultivate relationships with these roasters, connect them with conscious coffee-lovers, and encourage the notion of coffee as craft (like fine wine or scotch) and not just commodity. All of these aims further the overall objective of growing the local coffee community and pushing the industry forward.
WHERE | This is the simple part: Roaster Central is located inside the Espressotec showroom, just outside our Barista Lab, at 1015 Clark Drive in Vancouver, BC. Most of the coffees featured at the tasting centre can also be found in our online store. We also plan to spotlight our participating roasters in our blog, newsletter, social media, and events like Hopwired and Beanstock so you can hear the story behind the brands and coffees at Roaster Central.
WHEN | As a part of our showroom, Roaster Central is open during our store hours: Monday to Friday from 9am to 5:30pm, and Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Of course, our online store is open 24/7/365!
HOW | Roaster Central is not only made possible by our highly devoted team here at Espressotec, but also by the brands we partner with, the roasters on board, and the coffee-lovers that engage it. How can you partake in this mini coffee expo? Come on in and we’ll give you the tour! Our dedicated staff will walk you through the range of coffees, show you how to brew your flights, and answer any questions that come up.
Are you a roaster interested in a spot at Roaster Central? Drop us a line! The tasting centre is an ever-evolving venture designed to deliver a new experience with every visit, so naturally we’re always on the lookout for talented brands to feature. A changing range of coffees also furthers the conversation around coffee as an agricultural specialty that has seasons just like any other — and of course, fresh is always best. Shoot us an email if you’d like to get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions? Comments? Feedback? We welcome it all! Leave your comments below or reach out to us by phone or email. And don’t forget to follow #roastercentral on social media for all the latest updates!