My first interactions with coffee took place on Sunday mornings. My sister and I would fight over who was going to add the sugar and milk to my father’s cup. We’d wait impatiently by the crackling coffee maker only to pull the pot away before it was finished brewing, tiny drops sizzling as they hit the hot plate. I’d sneak spoonfuls of coffee when I thought no one was watching. Always hoping I would enjoy the taste but every time I was sorely disappointed. “It’s an acquired taste” my father would say as I brought him his cup, spilling it along the way.
While finishing school, I took a part time job at a small cafe in my hometown in Quebec. It was, and still is, an adorable two storey house, along the main drag, that was converted into a cafe. There is a lush garden out front, a covered porch for rainy days and the coziest reading nook upstairs. The owner, Cindi, had lived a decade in Vancouver and brought her coffee knowledge and West Coast style back to the shop – passion she later passed along to me. Perhaps it was the environment, perhaps it was Cindi’s deep rooted passion or a likely combination of the two, but serving coffee started to feel like home. There were the regulars who came in each day, like clockwork, each desiring a completely unique rendition of a seemingly simple drink .“Coffee”. You know how some people say dog owners kind of resemble their dogs? Well, this is how I began to feel about people and their coffees.
I appreciated the uniqueness (of both the coffee and people) and began to take pleasure in preparing each customer their individual one-of-a-kind drink. Customers came in groggy and in a rush, and I could see, with that first mindful sip, a calm wave wash over them, almost as though a little light turned on. They’d head out to conquer the day with a little more pep in their step.
When I first moved to Pemberton a little over 6 years ago, my first mission, naturally, was to seek out the best cup of coffee. I had become rather particular over the years in precisely what I was looking for in an espresso. You could say, I had finally acquired the taste. I was delighted when I came across Mount Currie Coffee co. Walking into the shop for the first time, before even tasting the coffee, I just knew it was going to be good. The Synesso espresso machine steamed away and the smell of a finely roasted espresso filled the air. It wasn’t long before I applied for a barista position and became part of the MCCC team, and got to know the amazing Pemberton locals and their drinks of choice.
If you don’t know, coffee is grown in areas within the “coffee belt” or “coffee bean belt” which hovers around the equator, in countries such as Mexico, Columbia, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, etc.
Coffee trees also need an average altitude between 1800-3600 ft to grow to produce a high quality bean.
The bean itself is the seed of a coffee cherry that grows on these trees. The cherries are most often handpicked, processed (a laborious pulping process that removes the flesh of the cherry and dries the bean), transported in large burlap sacks as “green beans”, roasted (which is an art in and of itself), packaged, ground, brewed and finally served to the consumer.
It’s an amazing journey and I’ve always felt privileged to be the last one that gets to put my spin on it before the consumer gets to enjoy it. It’s a lot of responsibility to make sure that bean gets the attention it deserves after such a journey.
There is a lot to know about coffee and each step in the process seems to be just as important as the next. It’s sort of art meets science meets farming which are all of my favourite things.
I could nerd out and talk about coffee for days and I don’t even know all there is to know about coffee. How could you? There’s just so much to know! Which is why I am so excited to be taking my coffee knowledge and skills to the next level with MCCC.
Pemberton, there are some exciting new things coming your way in the world of coffee!
Get your travel mugs ready and stay tuned — there’s some buzzing coming from the industrial park.
Whew! All this talk about coffee, I’m off to get myself an italiano (8oz double shot americana). Yum!