From roasting green beans in a converted popcorn maker at home on Salt Spring Island to roasting close to 5,000 pounds of coffee per day for partners across Canada at the Roastery, Salt Spring Coffee has come a long way. Our 20th anniversary video celebrates our pioneering roots, reflects on our core values and looks ahead to what’s next.
Watch 20 years of Salt Spring Coffee
Our co-founder Mickey on the early days
Q. Where did your passion for coffee come from?
My wife, Robbyn Scott, first introduced me to coffee way back in 1973. We first met in Powell River, en route to Texada Island, and then made our way down to San Francisco. That’s where I had my first espresso at Caffe Trieste in Little Italy.
Q. Who were some of your mentors?
Back then, you could visit pretty much anyone in the coffee business to get their stories. I remember people like Kenneth Davids and his home roasting book, and Michael Sivetz on hot-air roasting—a modified popcorn machine was our first home roaster. Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell of Equator Coffee and Tea were our first coffee mentors, along with George Howell from Coffee Connection back in the 70s.
Q. What were the challenges then?
Sticking to the vision. Organic and fair trade are everywhere now, but they were a tough sell in the 70s and 80s. It was a big challenge to educate grocers and food and beverage service businesses about the benefits of organic agriculture and organic coffee.
Q: What was opening day like?
We caught a tiger by its tail. There was a line-up before we even opened for business and we weren’t ready for it. We stayed open for three days, closed for five, and then re-opened for a few more days. The funny thing was the community was telling us what we had to do. We didn’t have an extensive business plan—it was more about going with your heart and gut.
Win a weekend getaway to Salt Spring Island, learn about upcoming 20th anniversary events, and more at: saltsprincoffee.com/20years