Why local roasters are awesome

in Buying Coffee

I buy my coffee from the Fire Roasted Coffee Co. in London, Canada.  Like many, I used to buy all my coffee from the grocery store, already ground and in a big steel can so I wouldn’t have to worry about it for a month or so.  After all, if you never try great coffee, you’ll probably never be unhappy with decent coffee.


This point was driven home for me when I recently went on vacation with friends to Hawaii.  They both love to drink coffee but like me, only knew coffee from a grocery store in the steel can.  While we shared a beachhouse, I took responsibility for coffee, including selecting what we drank and making it every day.  To their surprise, they never had coffee so good.  I made coffees from both Kona and Kauai, and they were blown away.  They had only one question: how can I get coffee that good when I get home?

For this job, I recruited Patrick Dunham of the Fire Roasted Coffee Company.  The challenge: send two pounds of their coffee to my friends on a monthly basis and use their feedback to decide which ones they might like best in each next month’s installment.  My friends live a distance from the roastery, but it was easy enough to do since Fire Roasted Coffee can take orders and ship from their website no matter where you are.

It would take quite a bit of trial and error to do this on your own, but thanks to Patrick’s expertise, we’re able to cut down the number of coffees that my friends likely won’t enjoy based on their feedback of ones they’ve been sent previously.  In their first shipment, Patrick opted for a couple rarer coffees, including a limited-supply Haitian coffee that my friends really liked.  In their second installment, an Indonesian Sulawesi that got mixed reviews and a Bolivian Peaberry coffee that my friends liked so much, we’ll be including it as a repeat in the occasional future order.

Most recently, Patrick shipped them two varieties of Ethiopian coffee, a Sidamo and a Limu, as we both wait for my friends’ verdict.

You can’t get this kind of service, expertise, or quality from a grocery store and despite the smiles and friendly service, not likely from a Starbucks either.  You can only get this kind of service from a local roaster that gets to know their customers and know their coffees so well that they can make smart matches like my friends are getting.  Even when I walk into the Fire Roasted Coffee Company today, the same gentleman that sold me a pound of Hawaiian Kona coffee still remembers that was the first one I bought from them.  And that’s why local roasters are awesome!

1 Comment

  1. Know what you mean. Im like Norm Peterson at my local roaster. I know what I want but if they think they have something new that’s for me, they let me know instead of letting me buy my usuals.

    Comment by The RInger — August 22, 2010 @ 12:44 pm

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