Hello and happy new year! We hope you sent 2016 off in style and are ready to welcome 2017 with open arms (and a big mug of Salt Spring Coffee). Today, before we dive into what’s next, we’re taking a moment to reflect on what was. So, without further ado, here are our top 16 highlights from the past year.
1. Being named “Best for Environment”
On September 8, Salt Spring Coffee was one of just 143 companies around the world named “Best for Environment” in B the Change Media’s 2016 Best for the World lists. It wasn’t our first time—Salt Spring Coffee was also honoured in 2012—but it was particularly sweet to be named in our 20th anniversary year.
2. Celebrating our 20th anniversary
Speaking of birthdays, Salt Spring Coffee turned 20 this year! We celebrated the best way we know how—with a video about our story, a few fun facts and a contest for you. In the end, we gave away more than 180 Baratza Encore coffee grinders, a ton of cold brew coffee and a Salt Spring Island getaway for two.
3. Spreading the love on Valentine’s Day
Salt Spring Coffee lovers, we’re #sweetonyou. From February 8 to 14, we asked you to tell us what makes you smile for a chance to win one of our signature Truly West Coast mugs and a bag of our Village Trade blend. And boy, did you deliver.
4. Connecting with coffee farmers
In February, Salt Spring Coffee co-founder Mickey McLeod headed to the Indonesian island of Sumatra to check in with our coffee partners, sample the latest beans and get a firsthand look at the spring/summer crops.
5. Seeking gender equity in coffee
“Gender equity, fairness to farmers and sustainability are all inextricably linked for me,” explains Mickey. “How can you preach environmental sustainability without also talking about fair wages and gender equity?” In March, he teamed up with Kimberly Easson of the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) to co-host an event on gender equity in coffee called “Gender Equity at Source.”
6. Launching two new cold brew flavours
Building on the success of our Classic Cold Brew in 2015, we kicked off the 2016 cold brew season with the debut of two new all-natural, all-organic flavours: Citrus Cold Brew and Vanilla Cold Brew. Before long, we were dreaming up new cold brew cocktails and ice cream floats for summer sipping.
7. Hosting the Island Time Cold Brew Bar & Confectionary
In August, we teamed up with Here There on Island Time, a week-long pop-up experience at Little Mountain Shop in Vancouver. We feasted on a campfire-inspired dinner with Campagnolo’s Robert Belcham, drank cold brew floats decorated with doughnuts (thanks Earnest and Cartems!), caught some up-and-coming musical acts with Sofar, and left our cares on the mat with Social Yoga. We could tell you we had a blast, but the photos speak for themselves.
8. Sharing our coffee with YOU
Between our 1% for the Planet partners and other events, we had more than a few chances to connect with the community throughout the year. Maybe you spotted us at the Pemberton Slow Food Cycle, Bike to Work Week, Seek the Peak, the Grouse Grind Mountain Run, MEC’s Race Series, Paddlefest, the Vancouver Folk Festival, the Richmond Garlic Festival, Feast of Fields, the Sole Food Farms Long Table, Night at the Aquarium, Toast to the Coast, Chowder Chowdown, the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup or the RIPE Dinner.
9. Finding hope in shadows
For the past five years, Salt Spring Coffee has supported Hope in Shadows, a community-based project that centres on the creation of an annual calendar to engage and support residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
10. Partnering with Vancouver Farmers Markets
Salt Spring Coffee and Vancouver Farmers Markets go waaay back, but in 2016 we took the plunge and became an all-market sponsor. All summer long, we chatted with vendors and visitors, serving up samples of our three cold brew flavours at farmers’ markets across the city.
11. Bringing back our Edible Scavenger Hunt
In the fall, we teamed up with Vancouver Farmers Markets to bring back our ever-popular Edible Scavenger Hunt. To help connect the people who grow and make food with the people that eat it, we spent some time on the blog getting to know a few vendors, including Coast Mushrooms, The Local Churn and Ice Cap Organics.
12. Nurturing businesses with purpose
In October, Salt Spring Coffee’s Aron Bjornson (Senior Director, Sales and Marketing) hosted a lively discussion on sustainable sourcing and production at our Richmond roastery. The workshop was part of Feeding Growth, a five-part workshop series for progressive food entrepreneurs.
13. Supporting local producers with FarmFolk CityFolk
In 2016, we announced an exciting new partnership with our good friends at FarmFolk CityFolk. Over the next four years, we’ll be working with these inspiring folks on their Feast of Fields event series and an innovative micro loan program through our 1% for the Planet program.
14. Releasing a limited-edition Celebration Blend
We capped off the year (and our 20th anniversary) with the release of a special Celebration Blend. A medium-dark roast with hints of chocolate, nuts and spice, it brewed up beautifully in a French Press or Chemex, and paired perfectly with dairy, chocolate truffles and the holiday season.
15. Celebrating the holid-ehs
After all the fun we had hosting our Island Time Cold Brew Bar & Confectionary in the summer, we jumped at the chance to return to the space. Our Celebration Blend was one of just a handful of carefully curated Canadian holiday gifts featured at Little Mountain Shop’s Holid-eh! pop-up.
16. Making #morningmagic
“I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.” Same here, J. B. Priestly. That’s why, all December long, we set out to make morning magic with a series of online giveaways. What did we learn? That coffee’s an important part of your morning ritual too.