Happy new year, friends! Another year has come and gone and we are excited to see what 2016 will bring. On April 20—just two days before Earth Day—Salt Spring Coffee turns 20. It’s our champagne birthday, so you can expect a celebration! But before we bid adieu to 2015, let’s take a look back at a few highlights from the year.
1. Being selected as a “Roaster of the Year” finalist
We were honoured to have been selected as a finalist for Roast Magazine’s prestigious Macro Roaster of the Year Award. Congratulations to Crimson Cup Coffee & Tea in Columbus Ohio, who took the top prize and Toronto’s Propeller Coffee Co., who holds the title for Micro Roaster of the Year 2016!
2. Celebrating our #trulywestcoast spirit
In the spring, we celebrated what makes life on the West Coast so spectacular with our #trulywestcoast campaign. We kicked things off with a camping trip to Porteau Cove Provincial Park and continued the adventures with our friends at Peaks & Harbours.
3. Working with coffee growers in Uganda
In spring 2015, our co-founder Mickey travelled to Uganda to connect with the Bukonzo Joint Cooperative Union, a women-centred coffee organization and winner of the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s Sustainability Award. In April, we had the privilege of sharing their beans with our local community in our small-batch Ihani Micro Washing Station. As part of our 1% for the Planet commitment, we also funded a cupping lab at Bukonzo Joint, which will equip local growers with the tools they need to continue improving coffee quality over time.
4. Launching Salt Spring Coffee Cold Brew
In May, we officially launched Canada’s first organic cold brew coffee that’s both fair trade and #fairtofarmer. Made from coarsely ground beans steeped in cold water for more than 15 hours, it’s rich, smooth and naturally sweet.
5. Connecting farmers and consumers
Through our Fair to Farmer program, we create direct partnerships with the coffee producers who grow our beans. It’s a powerful kind of connection that we wanted to share with our community here at home. So, this past fall, we teamed up with Sole Food Farms on an edible scavenger hunt to connect the people who grow things with the people who eat them.
6. Taking the next step in corporate social responsibility
Salt Spring Coffee has been serious about sustainability and corporate social responsibility from the start—our motto is Believe in being better after all. But this year, we took things one step further and shared our plans and performance publicly in our first annual Corporate Social Responsibility Report.
7. Watching the #BCorp movement grow
In 2012, Salt Spring Coffee was recognized on B Lab’s first “Best for the World” List for our commitment to the environment and the effectiveness of our sustainability programs. Since then, the movement has grown even stronger, adding high-profile members like Etsy and Kickstarter. In 2015, we recertified as a B Corp and saw our overall score rise.
8. Debuting a new look and blend
9. Helping you brew better coffee at home
10. Supporting local farming through 1% for the Planet
This year, we teamed up with the Richmond Sharing Farm on a neighbourhood basket program that delivers fresh organic produce to low-income families, and with Young Agrarians on a Business Mentorship Program that connects young farmers with mentors. We also helped Sole Food Farms purchase awnings to keep farmers dry while they organize CSA boxes.
11. Sponsoring local events
In January, we hosted LOCO’s first Tuesday Mixer at our Viking roastery. The rest of year, we crisscrossed the city, lending a hand at events like the Richmond Garlic Festival, Farm Folk City Folk’s Feast of Fields, the Trout Lake Farmers Market, the Vancouver Farmers Market RIPE Dinner, Toast to the Coast, Night at the Aquarium and the Chowder Chowdown.
12. Sharing our coffee with the community
There’s nothing we love more than getting out in the community and chatting with folks over coffee. Our 2015 social calendar was jam-packed with fun events. You may have spotted us at the Trout Lake and Yaletown Farmers Markets, the Spot Prawn Festival, Ocean Wise’s 10-Year Anniversary, Dinner, MEC’s Race Series and Festivals (Bikefest, Paddlefest and Snowfest), the Main Street and West End Car-Free Days, Vancouver Folk Fest, Khatsahlano! Music + Art Festival, the Pemberton Slow Food Cycle, the Salt Spring Island Garlic Festival or the Whistler Gran Fondo.
13. Building bridges among like-minded businesses
In the spring, we brought coffee producers from Peru, Honduras and Uganda to our Viking roastery and invited grocery distributors and brokers, food service establishments, and coffee traders and importers to discuss the challenges and opportunities along the coffee supply chain. In the fall, our co-founder Mickey was an expert panellist on manufacturing, sourcing and formulation for Feeding Growth, a five-part workshop series for progressive local food businesses and entrepreneurs seeking sustainable growth.
14. Making #morningmagic
The calm hours as the world wakes are enchanting—especially during the holiday season. To honour this magical time of day, we organized a series of coffee pop-ups and invited everyone to share their #morningmagic moments on social. Your response was, well, pretty magical.
15. Getting into the holiday spirit
The holidays are a time for tradition—and our small-batch Holiday Blend is one of our favourites. This year’s blend was a medium-dark roast featuring beans from Honduras, Sumatra and Uganda. Perfect for Chemex brewing and our Holiday Hot Toddy!