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This past Friday, I visited one of two local roasters I know, the Fire Roasted Coffee Company in London Ontario, Canada. FRCC is a family-run roaster, selling roasted and unroasted coffee from the second floor of London’s Western Fair Farmers Market.
I was at a local grocery store when I noticed the one-pound bags of specialty coffee bearing a roaster’s name I didn’t recognize. The roaster information near the display gave their address and invited the public to come visit them. As I whittle down my pound of Arabian Mocha from Peets Coffee, I knew I’d need more coffee soon. It was time to visit this local roaster.
What I found was a fairly large cafe and roasting operation all on one site. The Farmers Market is only open once a week, but FRCC is open everyday but Sunday. There were six brewed coffees to choose from, plenty of coffee facts and information, and an area to sit down. Two customers were coming down the stairs as I was heading up, and they appeared to be carrying a couple pounds of coffee each.
The first thing I like was the very open layout between retail cafe and behind-the-scenes roasting operation. It reminded me of micro-brewery pubs where you sit and enjoy the local beer while watching the brewmaster at work among giant vats of it. Here too, you could see the roasting operation and supply of imported unroasted beans from around the world.
I counted 30 burlap sacks of different coffees from all of the world’s coffee growing hotspots. I received great customer service, and got fixed up with two pounds of 100% Kona Hawaii coffee and two pounds of a Guatemalan blend. I bought my beans unroasted so I could roast them myself at home. The gentleman serving me knew his home roasting and we had a good talk about the equipment I was using and where I was buying what are usually elusive green unroasted beans.
I paid $5/lb for the Guatemalan, compared to prices slightly higher from other places and before shipping and import fees are paid. I paid $22/lb of the Hawaiian, compared to about $16 from other places before fees. So, it wasn’t a steal, especially since I had to drive there, but I do like the luxuy of a local source. Somebody local means I can get updates and questions answered a lot easier, so if I’m happy with the coffee after I roast and brew it, I’ve found a new source.
Want to learn more about roasting your own coffee at home? It is as fresh as coffee can be prepared at home. Leave a comment or e-mail me with any questions you have on home roasting or what information you’d like to see here in the future.
And learn more about the Fire Roasted Coffee Company in London Ontario, Canada.
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