McBride resident Jill Philpott was first inspired by tasteless, single serving packets. She knew there could be something better.
Philpott, who works at Beaver Creek Lodge, says she wanted a quality coffee for the cabins.
“Those pre-packaged single cup servings they just don’t have a lot of flavour.”
Freshness, much like with food, makes the difference with a good roast, she says.
“People don’t realize that the coffee they get in the store can be very old,” she says. “Even the one-way valves on the bags, by the time it’s roasted, it’s takes about 48 hours to come to full flavour.”
Usually coffee is good seven to 10 days after that, she says, then it starts depleting in flavour.
She has been roasting in the basement of the lodge since the winter and says she could roast up to 50 pounds a day, but right now roasts based on requests only. She says many guests buy coffee to bring home with them.
In her gleaming production room, the stainless steel roasting equipment pops the green beans around like popcorn until they turn a chocolate brown. The equipment maintains the consistency of roasting the beans, but there is more than simply loading them in. She says the challenge was learning the different beans and how to roast them differently depending on the darkness of the bean.
“Each bean has a different flavour,” she says. “When you do a blend and you’re using three or four different bean (types), you have to find the right level of roast, which is temperature.”
Her blend “Tall Dark and Handsome” has four different beans in it, and is the darkest roast. Therapy is also a dark roast. The other three are medium roasts. Naming them was half the fun Philpott says: Idle Time, Therapy, Nightshift, Morning Rush, Tall Dark and Handsome are the five roasts so far.
Helpers Madi and Sydney Philpott don’t like to drink the coffee but do enjoy the smell. They help bag the beans and do the math when they weigh them. The girls have also learned about what the different colours of bean mean: the darker the bean, the stronger the flavour.
All Philpott’s coffee is fairly traded and organic. The coffee is sourced out of a supplier in Montreal, which was cheaper than any supplier she could find out west.
Roasted Bean coffee is sold at the Dunster General Store, the Dome Mercantile, the Farm Store and Beanery 2 Bistro serves it by the cup. So far, it is not available in Valemount. The coffee costs $12 a pound (bag shown above), but she does have a wholesale price for stores.