The inception of our family-run operation is unconventional to say the least. In July 2016, we launched our small roastery with one cafe client, a handful of retail customers, and a 17-year-old head roaster. At the time the team's past business experience spanned many industries, except the coffee industry. Oh, and we were coming out of the gate with a mantra of light roasted coffee and “Single Origin, Single Speed” in the dark roast dominated town of Fernie, BC. Do we sound crazy yet?
After a summer of slinging single origin coffee at local Farmer’s Markets, we realized that Rooftop was carving its place in the Kootenays. As our head roaster’s first day of classes in Env. Engineering loomed menacingly on the horizon, we knew we couldn’t rely solely on the abilities of any one person. To bolster the roasting chops of our entire team, we sought out education.
This led us to completing an intense intermediate SCA Pathways program in sensory, green coffee selection and roasting in October 2016. The decision to seek out this instruction from our mentor, Patrick O’Malley, was a defining moment in our history. This gave us the knowledge and tools to create our roasting style, it is the foundation of what our coffee is today.
We’ve come a long way since our early days of home roasting on the rooftop. For starters, our shop is at ground-level (contrary to popular belief) and we are no longer roasting 250 grams at a time, in a tiny electric roaster. However, cracking open a bag of green coffee still inspires in us the same wonder and excitement, and we can’t wait to see where it will take us next.
WHY WE’RE IN COFFEE
Coffee excites us – and we’re not just talking about the caffeine rush.
Since our home roasting days, the wide spectrum of flavours has always intrigued us. As the most complex beverage we consume, the possible aromas and tastes are seemingly endless. The surprises we could find in our cup are what drew us in, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. The coffee community is what got us hooked. The people, from everyday drinkers to full-blown coffee professionals, are the most diverse, passionate, and talented individuals we have the privilege of interacting with everyday. Roasting tasty coffee is fun, but engaging with passionate café owners, baristas and roasters is what makes it worth it. In a job sometimes filled with the monotony of roasting, bagging, and studying roast profiles, serving coffee at a festival or a farmer’s market can be a breath of fresh air. Coffee is what brought us into this, but the people who drink it are what keep us here.
Within this sliver of the coffee industry, everything is constantly evolving. Small coffee companies everywhere are pushing boundaries. From reducing environmental impact to prying into the mechanisms by which we source green coffee, conventions in coffee are constantly being questioned. At Rooftop, we’re continuously learning from this incredible community and can’t wait to explore what’s possible in the way we source, roast, and brew coffee.
So, there you have it, the reasons why we’re in this. We hope we can share the buzz and bring you along for the ride, one cup at a time.
WHAT KIND OF COFFEE DO WE ROAST
We love balanced coffee. When a sparkling acidity is perfectly coupled with a sweet, syrupy mouthfeel, we’ve reached coffee nirvana. Much like the unique flavours and aromas in our coffee reflect the terroir and processing imparted by the farm, our roasting style derives partly from our hometown. Fernie has played such an important role in shaping our coffee company. This lighter style of roasting was new to the area, which has long been dominated by darker-roasted coffee. Without straying from the style we sought to offer, we had to slightly adjust our approach. This led to a menu that encompasses both exotic, unique flavour profiles and approachable, familiar coffees. As a result, we’ve been able to appeal to big city cafes and coffee nerds, without leaving our community behind. This created a coffee culture that is a reflection of Fernie, and that has been immensely rewarding.